Here I am at the Windmill. I tried to work here on Monday but the gate was closed. Today there is a lot of noise from the school yard and from someone blasting music from a radio and SINGING ALONG WITH IT.

I walked from 101st Street and West End Avenue to Union Square yesterday, going to a bar for the first time since I decided not to do that so much anymore. This was on account of a friend from college passing through town en route to some place in New Jersey. I think the last time he was here was early last year. We had a nice conversation. I told him how I briefly dated a Russian woman last year who, coincidentally, sat right next to me at a concert in which he performed in 2015. She was managing cameras and recording the concert. We did not say anything to each other at that concert but it was good for a laugh the year or so later when we made the connection. Nice woman and all but we had nada. I thought my college friend knew her a little better but it sounds like they had just one conversation. It was good for a laugh but I put that connection pretty low on my list of kismet-like encounters. That’s because our only real connection was a mutual interest in classical piano music, and that is a pretty small world.

I had to return the Fios TV set top box, so I decided to take it to the retail store at 101st and Broadway. That’s just a block over from West End Avenue and its four outdoor phone booths toward which I am simply ambivalent. They are Canadian model phone booths shipped from that country and refurbished by a company in Bath, NY. Why they could not procure authentic American Airlight models is not for the likes of me to ask, but it’s enough to make me question whether the people who installed them have any idea what they are talking about when they claim knowledge of and respect for the history of phone booths in America.

I was curious to see if local calls from these phones were still free, as announced early last year. This little perk, which has probably captured the attention of absolutely nobody, was set up as what I guess was meant to be a publicity stunt. This was one of two reasons which explain why I went just slightly out of my way to pass by these booths yesterday. I’ll get to the other reason in a second, but first I wanted to see if the free phone calls perk had been discontinued on all four of the phones. I discovered a few months ago that trying to make a local call from the phone at 66th Street resulted in an automated message instructing me to deposit 25 cents. It turns out the other three phone booths work as advertised, allowing local calls at no charge. Further attempts to use the phone at 66th Street revealed that it is actually not able to make calls at all. It’s been like that for months.

I could be a concerned citizen and take it upon myself to report this matter o a non-working payphone to 311 or Citybridge, the Google-backed company that owns almost all the payphones in New York. But my adventures with calling 311 have almost always been a waste of time, and I don’t think the latter corporate behemoth has the capacity or interest to even acknowledge such reports from riff-raff like me.

The other reason I went a little out of my way to revisit these booths was because the last time I happened to be in that area I caught a signal that maybe three of these booths had been removed. This possibility, which I doubted, came from a few home made signs someone had placed on the booth at 66th Street. Those signs claimed that this structure was the one and only phone booth left in Manhattan. Sorry, Charlie, or whoever put the signs there. That’s just not true, as I was able to verify on my trek down West End Avenue from 101st Street down to 66th. Three other booths remain at 101st, 100th, and 90th. Had I thought of it I might have brought my own piece of signage to politely correct this factual error. I might do something like that the next time I get over that way, but I also think it might just not be necessary to spoil someone’s fun over something so trivial.

Another stop on my journey yesterday was the 181. as expected, I received a check from NY State. I randomly landed on one of those web sites that lists unclaimed funds. Not expecting anything I typed in my Social Security number and up popped my name and PO Box address with a message saying there was money owed to me by PAYPAL. I laughed and assumed there was some obscure class action lawsuit I never heard about, and that the cost of postage would be 300 times the value of the check. So I was somewhat surprised that the check was good for about $106. Obviously that’s not going to change my life but hey, I’m not complaining. I still don’t know why I got this but I do use Paypal pretty regularly, so if they were somehow skimming nickels and dimes over the years I guess that adds up. There is a Case Settlement number on the check so maybe I’ll look that up for clues as to why they owed me anything.

I also got a check recently for about $8 from Verizon. The check was accompanied by a strangely worded letter which seemed to indicate they had charged some kind of tax that they were not supposed to have charged when I was a Verizon wireless customer. The funny thing is that I don’t remember ever being a Verizon Wireless customer but I guess I must have been.

It’s a beautiful day. That should make me feel good but somehow I do not. As happens when I start drinking again I neglect to eat. But I did sleep like a conqueror last night, after that semi-epic trip down Manhattan. But something inside me feels like it is growing. It is something that feels like garbage.

I digitized exactly 100 cassettes so far, with maybe 30 or 40 more to go. I can only take so much of listening to my own voice but fortunately that monotonous cadence does not account for all or even most of the tapes. I’ve been recording comments from my walks of late, intending to turn them into a podcast of some sort, but have not found time to edit them down. I was surprised how clear I sounded in the recording I made at the Old Town Bar last night. It was noisy as hell in there but the mic pulled my voice out of the clamor quite nicely.

I guess I should eat something. Eating is such a chore. Going home to do what? I don’t even know. Wish I felt even half as beautiful as this weather.