I guess I’ll be moving around this company after all. Things move slowly but I’m in no hurry. Wouldn’t be here if I was in a hurry. I don’t know what to do about the woman, the possible love interest. I never know what to do about the woman. Most times I end up doing nothing. She feels different, though.

Word was there would be major delays on the N and R lines today but I got through hitchless. A couple of all-night characters on the subway, one sound asleep the other stumbling around visibly drunk. Drunk at 7am. When have I seen that last? In my life, that is. I have stayed at certain bars past sunrise, doing the blinding 10am walk of shame from … well, even now I shouldn’t identify the bar, since it still exists. After hours was a world within a world, or so it seemed to me. I dipped in lightly, honored to be trusted. That is likely the last smoke-filled bar I’ve been in, long after the smoking ban was made law.

In the new role at this company I imagine myself not needing anxiety or BP pills so much. Or at all. Not that it’s easier, just not so time-tempered. Looking forward to beer and vodka tonight. I don’t usually think that far ahead but today I do.

Someone was explaining to me yesterday how different it used to be at this company, pre-Covid. People actually interacted. There were team meetings and days off and holiday parties. All that went away with Covid. It might be coming back but I’m skeptical. We’ve become accustomed to and comfortable in our coccoons of communication.

My mind litters itself with tiny crises. Cries. Sweeps of helplessness. But then the wind drifts. A breeze sizzles down my shirt. I feel alive. I was on John Street earlier, looking up Gold. A woman I used to know lived on Gold. I sniffed a bit of irony discovering she lived on Gold near John. She was a hooker. Somehow Gold and John sounded like a magical intersection for a woman in that line of work. When I knew her she wasn’t doing Johns anymore, just stripping. Or so she said. I never understood where her money came from but she worked such long hours at her regular job that between that and our somewhat rigorous dating life I couldn’t imagine she had time for clients. But I shouldn’t underestimate the power of one’s sexuality to drive their actions and their thirst for income.

It doesn’t matter now, but I think of her most times I cross Gold street. Gold goes to Maiden, which leads to Water and Front. Front never feels like the front. It feels like the beginning of the end. Is it called front because it was the front of the wall for which Wall Street is named? I don’t know but it sound credible, and would be my human-generated contribution to today’s misinformation cycle. Front is where the piano is. Front and Maiden, where yesterday I saw two people at the piano, discussing but not playing anything when I passed through.

Water intersects with Fletcher, a short street that shares its name with a central and regularly referenced street from my youth. Fletcher Boulevard in Tampa was a key artery. For me it was usually the last exit on the Interstate, unless there was reason to head down to Bearss. There is no Bearss Street here, and as little more than an alley Fletcher Street is but a nub, and barely even enough of a byway to prompt a memory or association between it and the more formidable street of yore.

Who are streets named for, anyway? In Tampa the name Dale Mabry is one heard and uttered through gritted teeth virtually every day. Dale Mabry Highway, historically home to the world’s finest strip and nude clubs, is named for a military personnel who died in a dirigible accident (totally going on memory here, maybe I’ll ask a chatbot later). Dale Mabry was a minor, even insignificant military figure but somehow his name rises up millions of times a day. Would anyone want to know their minor footnote in history was going to make them immortal in ways unthinkable in thier day?

Gotta get going.