Monday, March 2, 2015

Observable universe

I've been quiet on this blog awhile, it's true. I don't have an excuse. I haven't been traveling or writing other things, haven't been in a new relationship or dealing with some crisis or pending deadline. I've just been in what I like to call "absorption mode." I'm taking it all in, as I usually do. However, much like weight loss, my information absorption becomes slower and more laborious as I get older and it also makes me out of breath at inconvenient times.

I'm finding that lately I need time away from blinking lights and clicking keyboards to digest my thoughts and maybe that is what is finally going to turn me old: not solely my exhaustion at being unable to focus (that is also a plight of the young 'uns, after all) but my undaunted desire to focus. I want thoughts and images and words to last longer than they seem to be allowed to these days. Does anyone under the age of 20 want that too? It seems like the world has been hyper for their whole lives.

Lately my commute has allowed me time to walk in and around and through the winter scenes of NYC and Long Island. I find myself regarding my own observable corner of the universe from a distance, like so many View-Master scenes through the two inches of my face I can leave uncovered. I navigate the city sidewalks and their utterly random ice patches with what I can only describe as gingerly panic. (It is a hallmark of older age to be so afraid of slipping on ice that one is willing to leave one's home 40 minutes earlier than necessary just to ensure that there is ample time to walk slowly.) I have not, as of this writing, succumb to the ice everywhere, despite my will to live slowly being frozen out of me. But slipping and breaking some essential part of my body feels like a credible looming threat, some political directive spoken aloud from some armed country overseas. The Ice will take me out before it melts in a pathetic mutually assured destruction. I'll probably go down with a strangled croak.

I don't really feel a part of any one place lately. Being the resident part timer at my two jobs and being the temporary inhabitant of my sister's 2nd bedroom has given me the habits of someone who knows her time is temporary. I suppose those with Buddhist leanings would call that a good thing. And in a way I feel like it is a good thing. Getting too attached to temporal things always ends in heartbreak after all. Add to that winter. Winter has that alienating effect on me. I'm an outside observer by nature and it is the position I am most comfortable in but even I have a threshold that every year, February does its damnedest to breach.

And though happens every year around this time, it always surprises me when I get reminded of it, regardless of where I am or what I'm doing. For example, I went to a concert lastWednesday night at this small venue in Brooklyn. The stage was lit from behind with colorful gels and flashing, epilepsy inducing light patterns. I stood in the back and as I watched the person on stage fiddle with this and that I had the clanging notion I was nobody nobody nobody... sorry, but that song is appropriate. Anyway, I had this sense that I was watching a play in one of those black box theaters, for which I was the sole audience member. All of the bouncing heads in silhouette in front of me seemed for a moment to be two dimensional props. I couldn't see anyone's face. The performer was hunched over and I couldn't see his face either. I fell into a reverie, feeling right smack in the middle of things and feeling not quite there or anywhere at the same time.

Winter, thy name is dissociation.

That's really the crux of what's been going on with me lately. Just tooling around, bundled up, not really here, not really there.

Oh, I learned how to ride a bike. So there's that. I'm ripe and old and ridin' a bike. There's got to be a poem in there somewhere...


  1. I'm proud of you for learning to ride a bike. I have not done this yet! Now you're all ready for spring when it finally gets here.

  2. I cannot recommend Bike NYC enough! Free classes, nice people and effective teaching methods!