Wednesday, September 11, 2019


It’s about 9:30 on a Wednesday night and the last hints of steam are rising up out of the concrete. Fresh from a rain or just the humidity, the concrete glistens. It’s like a send-off to summer, even though technically the “end” of summer was last week, on Labor Day. But somehow, the weather was a trippy 89 degrees today, and I’m not quite sure what that means for the rest of the week or the health of the planet, but I’m trying not to think about it too much. I had the remnants of a salad around 7:30 for what I thought was dinner, but kept dreaming of a sandwich as the clock crept past 9pm.

I walked outside and saw the sidewalk, the street, felt the heat on my face, and walked to my bodega for a turkey and Swiss on whole wheat with honey dijon, though they pile on the honey dijon and even the turkey more than I was expecting. The bench outside is empty, the one that’s always filled with an elderly woman and her dog during the day, and I sit, looking into the space that’s always lit just so brightly no matter what time of day it is. I unwrap my sandwich from its tin foil as a sweaty man in expensive running sneakers and Ivy League tank top strolls past me with a duffel bag, an elderly woman with hair dyed auburn and giant silver wedges on her feet teeters past me. There’s more than one curly-coated dog.

I notice my skin beginning to glisten as I bite my way through this sandwich, sitting with my wallet and phone next to me on this black iron bench. The bread becomes moist with steam from the melted cheese, my hands greasy, drippy with honey dijon. It wasn’t quite the “healthy” sandwich I was expecting, but I could have done worse.

I’m thinking about the last time I wrote here. It’s been a while. In part because there are days when sitting in front of the computer for another moment shuts my brain down, in part because I made plans to occupy my evenings night after night after night, in part because I didn’t make time to just sit down. I notice I get into a writing mood, a reflective one where I have Real Things to Say about Life, as it were, but there were many times this summer where I pushed them away in favor of good company instead of my own.

There was the day SJT and I went to Arthur Avenue, ordering thick Italian sandwiches from Mike’s Deli, mine laden with figs; then a cannoli and coffee from Morrone, then another cannoli from Egidio. Signs in the windows as we pass hold bodies of goats and pigs I think are still looking at me, though they’ve been hanging in the window for too long for that to be remotely possible.

There was the day NE and I met up for Filthy Martinis at Cafe Cluny in the West Village, dishing about literature and sex and politics while gobbling up first one homemade vodka with tomato water tinged with olive oil and then another. We bobbled over to Corner Bistro, rolling our eyes at the bros who sadly found the place out after it used to be a hangout for the Beats so many years ago. We console ourselves and validate the shit out of each other while we bite into luscious cheeseburgers and French fries, and later ooey gooey ice cream from Ample Hills up the street in Chelsea.

I ate vegan pizza with LM on the Lower East Side. I drank Diet Cokes in the backyard of a dive bar with JS while he smoked cigarettes whose ends he left in buckets. I watched the 25th annual drag march from Tompkins Square Park during Pride then ate caramelized onion caramels from Confectionery a few doors down. I saw Leikeli47 in the vicious humidity of Prospect Park on a Friday evening and then, too hot to take the subway, I walked down the length of the park listening to Kesha. I went to Long Island Bar with SJT and AR, then to see Julia Easterlin in concert at the teeny tiny music bar The Owl, walking a few blocks down to a Japanese takeout restaurant that served $10 omakase bags 30 minutes before they closed. AR and I shoved poke and miso soup and tuna rolls in our mouths before heading over to a 1960s-ish bar in South Slope called Mama Tried. I took a cab through the New York City blackout that darkened a quarter of the city then watched a drunk Harry Potter play in total darkness save for a few very bright cell phone lights to send EH off to Houston for a surgical residency in Dallas for a year. I watched GD and HanOre present their new books at The Strand. I met HannR’s baby and drank fermented cactus juice. I celebrated nine years in New York.

I went home for 10 days and worked almost the entire time, though I did get to Bloomingdale’s once and I did see brown bunnies with little white cotton tails and mermaids and teapots shaped like flamingos. I drove up the beach road at 10:30pm on a Wednesday, my windows down to invite in the salty, whipping air and no traffic in sight. I flirted with extreme sleep deprivation and burnout. I slept. I woke up.

And now it’s almost fall. Kisses of humidity on the street will make way for warm-hued leaves. I’ll trade my cutoffs for jeans, my sandals for cowboy boots, my pashminas for first jackets then coats.

But first I’ll finish my sandwich. I’ll breathe and stand up, throw out its wax paper and tin foil wrapping, and I’ll go inside and write.