I made fun of myself during the day for yesterday’s morning expression of concern for the trek homeward with the predicted vortex blast and my distinct lack of head or face covering. It is less than a half mile (I think) from subway to home. How bad could it be? Yugh. That was brutal. My face got bitten off by the viper wind. I was in a mood for a delivery double cheeseburger I order once in a while but could not in good conscience send a delivery person out in that shit. I know, I know. They’re armed and ready for all weather, I’m being falsely magnanimous, and wanting to order in on nights like this but choosing not to is tantamount to denying delivery peeps an income. But still, something about it seemed wrong. So I made chicken and found a salad I forgot was lurking back there. Back there.

Morning commute, I don’t know what this was. The N train was cold as a freezer. The descent into the 4/5-hole warmed things up a smidge, with a lot of warm bodies standing on the platform, nervously checking their phones and evidently having waited longer than usual for the downtown express, which ran local part of the way.

There is a game I started playing, but I don’t think I’ll continue. It’s a 3D matching game, like Mahjong on steroids, with very articulate and detailed pieces, dozens of them thrown into a salad-like formation from which the player should find the duplicates. Each match of a duplicate helps clear the field, which is the goal.

But some of the pieces trigger me. They are the ones that look like little stuffed animals, the likes of which inhabited and acted as a crutch for a toxic relationship I let myself get into for three years. The stuffed animals were mostly just heads of animals, per the Angry Birds motif, the game from which most of the stuffed animals were drawn.

The stuffed animals were like our children. Our family. Our severely dysfunctional family. They were a crutch. A reason. A source of amusement and jealousy.

The reason I can’t stand the pieces in this 3D game is that I see them from overhead. I’m looking down on them from above. It feels like I am spying on them as they sit on the toilet. This was, somewhat unbelievably, a mental issue I had with the woman in the toxic relationship. She told tales of being walked in on while shitting, and wouldn’t you know it, on one occasion I did exactly that. But I never said anything. She didn’t notice that I barely opened the door and then quickly backed away. I didn’t need to see her shitting, though she liked to watch me pee. But I felt guilty for it, the unintended intrusion and, later, the fact that I never said anything about it. I never said “I opened the bathroom door just far enough to see you sitting there, peeing.”

I was further reminded, by the overhead view of these digital reminders of the head-only stuffed animals, that I’ve known a few people who said that in school they knew where to find holes in the floor over women’s bathrooms. Guys would gather to lie on the floor and look through the holes to watch old ladies shit and piss. This was a thing in San Diego but not in any place I ever inhabited. It seemed brutal, not the voyeurism per se but the pursuit of something so asinine and unstimulating. No one was masturbating to the site of these women pissing and shitting. It was just voyeurdom for the sake of itself. Bragging rights didn’t quite work out. No one wanted to hear about it.

So here I’ve been watching the stuffed animals from a failed, toxic relationship as they shit and piss. This is why I can’t play that game anymore.