a day in the life

February 20, 2014

I woke up and dressed quickly to catch the train. I thought first of my night’s sleep. I always try to do the math of how many hours I’ve rested.

I thought of my cat. She woke me up at 3am to cuddle, pushed her tiny body into my chest to ensure I’d wake up. She is so distant during the day, so unfriendly, but at night she is the loveliest patch of fur on earth.

I was running late this morning. I walked into my parents’ bathroom, jabbing contact lenses into tired eyes. They burned more than usual and I cursed the new lenses, recently purchased in California and sent to New York City just for me. Just to burn the shit out of my eyes.

My father drove me to the train and talked to me about getting a city job. I told him I don’t like talking about these things in the morning and he told me I never like talking about these things. He’s right. The wheels in my brain started to turn — turn on me, as usual — because I am good for nothing, so old, so unaccomplished, so afraid. But it was too early for such loathing and so I turned off my brain. I’ve become quite good at shutting down when I need to. It used to take a hit of the bong but now it doesn’t even take that.  Just a flip of an imaginary switch.

I went into Dunkin Donuts for an iced tea. They know me and they have my order ready before I get to the counter. I kind of love them. One girl who works there is a lesbian, I’m assuming, and may or may not consider herself transgender. I can’t tell anymore, don’t care anyway, but I do sometimes wonder who her friends are. I know she is 25, that’s the same age as me, and yet I’ve never seen her outside of Dunkin. I don’t know where she hangs or who her friends are. Staten Island is small. I’ve always thought I know most people worth knowing here. It’s a stupid thing for me to think. I am aware.

There is another chick who works at Dunkin who always accidentally makes me a large iced tea even though I ask for a medium every time. She’s small and kind of adorable. Today the man in front of me on line was hitting on her in a goofy way and it made me like him. I got my iced tea with a few minutes to spare.

When I got down to the station, a giant illuminated timer told me I had 6 minutes to wait for the train. Fucking stupid timer. I once wrote a poem about it, about how unnecessary it is, this stupid sign displaying the time of the one train on Staten Island. We have one train and it comes every half hour. The timer is useless, unneccesary but filled with false comforts and I am not above false comforts. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I am sure that before this timer appeared at the station, the train came on time every half hour, always. Now the train is always late. I thought about writing a poem about that. It should be here in 2 minutes and now I have to wait 6, all so that we can stare a brightly lit sign that is mysteriously always “under testing”.

On the train I sat by the window and put my things on the seat next to me. I sometimes wonder if the people on my train resent me for taking up two seats just to have a comfortable place to put my bag. Then I think, fuck it. My thoughts usually end up leaning towards this philosophy. I call it a defense mechanism. Fuck it. And so I keep my bags there and let the people standing on the train stay that way. Like a true New Yorker I guess, in it for myself. I read a story on the train. It made me smile and it also made me wonder about things, about how different everyone is. About how two people can suffer from anxiety in such different ways. About perception, location, about families and urban life, country life, and then I was at the ferry.

I saw a woman who owns the art space I frequent. We said hi to each other. I am good friends with her husband. I didn’t really know what to say to her. It’s too early to speak to acquaintances. Acquaintances. What a long fucking word. I filed onto the ferry with everyone else like a herd of sheep. I always compare the massive mob waiting to get onto the ferry to a herd of animals. Sometimes I want to baaaah just to stop myself from killing someone. Maybe that’s why sheep baaah. It’s relieving. I step on toes, get a shoulder to the face. I get angry and sigh a lot.

I always walk down to the bottom floor of the ferry. Depending on which ferry boat arrives, there are two or three floors each. Today there were three floors. Everyone on the lowest level is a local and, at such an early time, must be going to work. That’s why I like the bottom floor. I don’t have to deal with tourists there. Not that I hate tourists in general, but I pretty much always find them extremely irritating on the ferry. I don’t fucking sit in your car when you’re on your way to work.

I meet up with my friend Carlo in the mornings on the ferry. Sometimes we sit with his friend Andrew. Today I asked them to watch my bag while I went up to the top floor. Stepped out onto the observation deck and snapped a few photos. The colors were especially pretty this morning and I was happy. The sun is out and reminds me of spring. I hope it is almost here. I send the pictures to someone who is still sleeping. It’s only 6am in Portland. I went back downstairs and my friends were talking about hockey. I don’t like hockey. I zoned out a little.

We docked and piled off the boat. I picked up AM New York, a free newspaper made of little blurbs and black and white pictures of celebrities. I like shitty newspapers. My journalism professor would be so proud.

Swipe my metro card, listen to the screeching sound of the 1 train approaching. Hop inside and ride it for a half hour into Chelsea. The flower district.  A neighborhood known for its art galleries. The Fashion Institute of Technology across the street from my building. I light up a cigarette. I am going to quit smoking soon. I am going to quit a lot of things soon. I will….

Once inside my workplace I hang up my coat and put my lunch from home in the fridge. Some kind of pasta thing. There is not much to do today. I read some of a blog and it inspires me to write this. We are all anxious. We are all self-loathing creatures of habit. We are all addicts of something, I’m sure. I am not very ashamed of who I am, just annoyed at it, just mad at myself sometimes.

The weather is surprisingly nice today. I hear cars honking through closed windows. Taxis are always honking. I guess the drivers are bored. I would honk too if I had to drive around rich or drunk people all day. HONK IF YOU’RE A BORED TAXI DRIVER. I should turn that into a bumper sticker. I’d do it but I don’t have a car to put it on. I might slap it on the back of a bus.

 “We are all lonely people rubbing up against each other for warmth.”- Phoebe Blue


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