Some mornings it seems I’m putting my heart — the physical blood-pumping organ and not the doleful, vulnerable heart — through a type of calisthenics (sp?). Showering raises the BP, Morning Mas raises it and heartbeat even more. Then I swallow a trifecta of BP pills, betablockers, and anxiety meds to tame that drumbeating organ. I feel calm now but in the minutes after popping those pills I can get a little loopy, even bumping into walls or losing my way in the subway.

I shaved face today, more bloodletting to show for it but it’s fine. Just some zits that needed popping. Soon they will all be gone.

Who will I talk to today? Yesterday’s highlights included someone reporting that they saw a child with a black guy. I asked what’s wrong with that? She said “He’d been hit in the face.” I responded “Oh, you said a black eye?” Yeah, that was hilarious. She said she saw a child with a black eye and I’m like “What’s wrong with that?” It was a child abuse situation, no joke at all.

One woman fell in love with my voice. From a tony-sounding apartment near Prospect Park she made some relatively obscure complaint about filtered water looking like sludge. I think she used a BENEY or a KENEY filter, something I’ve never heard of. She used it for 11 months before opening it up and seeing the blobs of mustard colored sludge. This is what is being filtered out of NYC tapwater. I honestly thought this was just the filter doing what it’s supposed to do but she wanted DEP to take a look at it.

Her name was Karen.

Another unusually affluent caller from a lower Manhattan high rise said the elevators in her building are dangerous and unstable. They drop several floors at once and sometimes get stuck for several minutes until someone has to manually restore them to service. It sounds scary, and not what one expects of a very expensive accommodation.

But the next call could be from someone at the end of their road. Someone with nothing but an expectation that the City or the State will immediately shower them with money and free housing. I don’t always feel good about the direction or guidance I offer these types. One woman yesterday asked about the process of entering a homeless shelter. I explained all and in the end she was crying, hard. She did not want to end up at a shelter but she was on her way.

The kaleidoscope of humanity is what makes this job so strange. Surreal at times. I remember when the water was brown in Park Slope. Dozens of calls came from locals who’d heard that banding together and filing numerous 311 complaints would get faster action. They were correct. DEP was on the scene within a couple of hours, reaching resolution I don’t know how quickly or thoroughly but most important they were there.

In between the Park Slope funny tapwater calls came a plaintive cry for help from Eva, in one of the NYCHA projects. Her room was flooding, and the water was pouring down into the hallway and down the stairs. The other apartments would likely flood soon. She’d submitted dozens of tickets about this but no reply. Then they came and fixed it the day before but now it’s flooding again. I bet she’s still flooding today.

From that call I go straight back to Park Slope, where DEP is on the scene…

And then the Rikers calls. Always the Rikers calls. Caller ID shows “PROBABLY FRAUD” which is probably true. I recognize the sizzling sound of that connection, via Securus. It’s the same sizzling sound as 911. Sometimes the Rikers peeps are impossible to hear, suggesting to me they are whispering. They lie. They try to disguise their voices. They live in such a squalid hell hole. I don’t know if I spoke to any of the 20 inmates who died so far this year. Some were suicide.

As part of a journalism gig I listened to hours of recorded calls between an inmate and his mother. I was looking for clues about what I don’t even remember… Well, I do remember. I was listening for clues that the inmate might have told his mother he was going to hang himself. I found nothing, no coded message or such cleverness. The kid just didn’t want to live anymore.

Can it all be that bad? Prison in America. I remember when I had some money to play with I had a naïve, idealistic notion that investing in private prisons would be a noble investment. I imagined private prisons, answering to investors, would deliver a higher qualify of actual reform to inmates.

Fortunately I never had the money to play with in this realm. I don’t think I could have done so on moral grounds.

If I had money now I don’t know what I would put it into, or why. I remember predicting wearable technology would take off, mostly in the medical and fitness realm. I think it did but so much of what wearables are designed for get swallowed up by all-purpose smart phones.

You can’t really invest in an app. Or can you? An app maker, perhaps, but a game-changing app itself makes money only for its makers, as deserved.

It is Friday. I work Saturday, but a friend and I are payphone hunting in the South Bronx on Sunday, in an area I wouldn’t feel safe wandering around on my own with a fancy camera and lack of certainty in my purpose for being there. There is a phone there that could be valuable to me if it contains info on a long lost PSP. Most PSPs cleaned up shop pretty well but the Underdogs and MetTels of New York did not.

Blahblahblah, morning ramblings. Confusion here at the office with non working computers but I’m all set up just fine. Looking forward to another day of Talking To New York.