Thursday BARB UP September 12, 2019

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And now it’s time for a day in the life.

For a change, I oversleep. I’d planned to wake up at 6:30, and instead I woke up at 6:45. I’ve got to be in a taxi, on our way to Amtrak, with The Teenager by 7:15. FUCK. I bolt, if that’s even possible given how exhausted I am, I got maybe 4 hours sleep, and so does Rocky, he heading to the kitchen, thinking, as well he should, that a meal is about to be served, his that is. I feed him, go shower. Goddammit, I’d wanted to go to Tompkins Square Bagels and pick up something for The Teenager to eat on the train, and now, now I don’t have time. I walk Rocky and I don’t do the leisurely cruise around the oasis that I live in, it’s a quick one, so that I am back in the apartment by 7:10. The Teenager is awake, and ready to leave, and so we do, one suitcase, one backpack, and one shoulder bag later. We jump into the waiting Lyft, sit in silence as we are taken to Amtrak at Penn, The Teenager with headphones in her earholes, long since a habit to avoid car sickness, I’m in reverie. We arrived with twenty minutes to spare. The Teenager ducks away to get some nourishment, I wait for the track to be announced, she’s taking the Acela, a rare treat, but she has to get to Boston as quickly as possible, auditions for her improv team are being held, she needs to be there. Penn Station, early Saturday morning, this Amtrak portion, is packed, with people lining up at various gates, staring up at the board, until, until, that magical sound, your track announced. Ours gets called, I get on the line, The Teenager pulls up, armful of a brown bag filled with her tastebuds elixir for the next few hours, and into the bowels we go. The Teenager prefers a quiet car, so we head in its direction, I pulling her suitcase, still the two of us in silence, we are in pursuit of a car on the far end of the platform, and there, at the end, it awaits. I board with her, following her as she finds her seat, watch her as she stows the suitcase overhead, her purple Champion hoodie comfortable and covering her body. We hugged goodbye, clock was ticking, and I brushed past bodies to get off the train, and as I was nearing my exit, I bumped into an old friend, I hadn’t seen her in years, and as I looked up, our eyes locked, I thought, “Oh this woman looks so much like Gigi,” and as the thought came into my brain, she said, “Marcelle?” With so many people behind her, we hugged, I told her The Teenager was on the train as well, and we said goodbye. It was so brief, so impactful, as I met her, so many decades ago, when she first arrived in New York, and here she was, so intertwined into the life of our mutual dear friend, Kris, and I’ve been able to know about her through him; to see her was a joy. I bounced off the train, and up out of Penn Station, anxious to get home, stopping off at Duane Reade, picked up a bottle of water, hydrating so essential at 8am, and some nail polish remover wipes, which I tore into, wiping one fingernail filled with multiple coats of polish at a time as I walked south on seventh avenue, east on 26th, south on Broadway, stopping off at Eataly to pick up an overpriced watermelon ricotta salad, and then I walked east on 23rd, all the way to the oasis I live in, Stuytown, nails completely free of polish, my mind clear, my daughter en route to Boston, another month before I see her again, when she returns, again, for her stand up show at UCB Subculture. Home by 8:30am, and still, so much to do. I sat at my dining table, prepared to work on a manuscript, another writing idea I have, a novel, only to discover that my laptop? NOT OPERATING. Now this, this is a FML to an exponential degree. I don’t have a moment to even reflect that my apartment is empty again, other than Rocky and I being here. But back to my nightmare, my laptop, it’s dead. I shuffle over to my desk, where my 2006 Mac mini is station, and that too, is just…not operating. I go into a cabinet where I have retired laptops—a MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro the size of a bookshelf—and each one, a dead end. I use my phone to make an appointment at the Genius Bar for later tonight. My plan will be to put all the laptops in a small suitcase with wheels and take care of business, be up and running by midnight, hopefully. Now it’s 10, I take Rocky for a more robust walk, I’m calm despite my laptop fiasco, despite the hemorrhaging of funds I’m about to expend, despite my daughter being home for a tiny window, despite the apartment being a void of still. I return to my home, I fill Rocky’s bowl with water, I read a little bit more of Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women, exceptional in its fascination, and then, get on my way, to the crosstown bus on 23rd street. I’m going uptown to have coffee with my dear friend Sarah, at Irving Farm, what she jokingly refers to as “my office,” as for years, when I lived on the Upper West Side, would spend long days of unemployment there, writing one opus after another. We meet at 1:30, catch up on our lives, she too, lost her regular paycheck job sometime ago, and she too, is a woman of a certain age, and she too, is enduring dismissive ageism. She is currently at a gig, thankfully, hired by people she mentored, paying it forward they are, and I’m happy for her. We venture over to Knitty City, my favorite yarn store in the city, and, despite how broke I am, I can’t help it, when I’m in a yarn store, projects I can design and knit inundate my imagination, and I purchase several skeins of a soft blue yarn, the intention to create a double knit scarf already doing its nutcracker dance in my eyes. I’m so happy as we each emerge Knitty City, bags filled with future delights, and Sarah walks with me to the train, the D, as I head back downtown, this time I need to go to Soho, more errands to run, a stop at Jill Platner to gaze at a lightning bolt ring that I can’t afford but endlessly admire, and then over to the Patagonia store, to pick up my Encaspil coat, now washed and sewn, having been dropping off weeks ago to repair some errant holes. As I emerge, I realize I am across the street from The Hole, where my Lizzy Goodman’s Meet Me In The Bathroom exhibit is in full swing, and so I stop by there, wandering through the rooms, gazing at photos of Strokes and art of bubble gum on canvas, and recreations of CBGB’s bathroom, I used to use that toilet at CB’s, never sitting on it, it was just so foul, and I laugh at my revulsion of it. A band is doing a soundcheck, and I stand there, enjoying it, before I leave, admiring Rita Ackerman’s art, we’d put a version of what is on the wall on the Vices issue of BUST in 1996, her style so consistent, so brilliant. I start walking home, and I’m there in twenty minutes, I walk Rocky, spend an hour taking my skeins of yarns, and unravelling them into beautiful, workable balls of yarn that won’t tangle when my knitting project begins, and then, it’s time to pack up my laptop, my beloved machine, for its journey to the Apple Store. I take the MacBook Air too, although, I have no hope for it, the screen is a mosaic of non-function. My appointment is at 7:40, Saturday night, and there I am, with all the other lonely, broken souls, waiting for a fix. My Genius Bar person is a hopeful actor, he’s got a callback to join an improv team the next day at The Pit, and while he maneuvers the ins and outs of my machines, we wax poetic about improv, about comedy, like that, my favorite kind of conversation, listening to his passion, so at the beginning of what could be his life long love of improv, broke me out of my woes about my laptop, putting me in a buoyant mood. It was just after 9 before I’d agreed to recycle the MacBook Air, and also, to send my laptop to Fix It Land, an estimate of $475, with the hope that when my laptop returns to me, it will be functioning as it ever was. Oh, so tempted I was to buy a brand new laptop, I just can’t, that’s $2,000 I don’t have, plus, the gurgling of my Mac mini meant that really, what I’d have to put that money towards, it would be to that, to recovering the data off that machine ($300) and then purchase a new Mac Mini ($800 or so), and so all that math, all of it playing out, even if it does come out to that much, means one thing: no new laptop for me, right now. Whatever. I was homebound on the 14th street bus, with a brief stop at Target to pick up a few bananas, and by 11pm, Rocky walked, me on the couch, I dove into my new knitting project, happy as can be.

And that my readers, was one day in my life.


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