I think this was the longest stretch of time off from work in the year+ since I’ve been here. It’s been 13 months. 4 days off felt like a lifetime, reminding me of normal companies that don’t just allow but encourage time off for mental health and work/life balance reasons.

I was afraid I’d come unmoored again. I kind of did on the first night, with a 3am cleaning binge accompanied by a couple of vodka shots. I slept ’til 10am, which is later than I’d slept since 2021. That sort of thing gets me off kilter, the sleep balance. Normally I am up at or before 6am.

I just bashed my head on the bottom of the counter here. That’s no fun. I am eating blackberries.

Yesterday’s story was about negotiating the Q39 from Queens Plaza to Ridgewood. For the purposes of making a video I needed a suitably appointed vehicle. The first one did not suffice, with its filthy windows and unsuitable seating. I need a seat on the wide side of the bus. I call the left side the wide side because there is more to see, usually. More coverage. I also need a seat where I can feel like no one is aware what I’m doing. I know of no rules forbidding video recording from MTA buses but rules are made to be made, and an angry busdriver might just make up a rule because s/he can.

I realized at some point that a security camera was looking right at me.

I guess “thieving” describes my fundamental attitude about photography and video. It has always felt like I am stealing something. Capturing a likeness, a representation of something that is not mine, in its stillness I claim it as my property. Generously I could claim I added value to the world by drawing attention to something that would otherwise go unnoticed, or be forgotten. But bottom line is that I consider it stealing.

Yesterday unexpectedly landed me in Crystal Country. I don’t think Crystal is her real name. It was what she called herself on the chatline where we met. They say you never forget a person if you’ve been intimate with them. I can honestly say that is not true for me. Crystal had completely exited my mind and my memories even now that I am trying to find them are hard to summon. I just remember her seeming like a charmer at first but the seething inner anger became impossible to hide. Anger at white people (I was her first white guy, she was my first black woman). Anger at race, men, inequality… We had some fun, though. At her behest and encouragement I sent a bunch of naked photos, which she said were a lot of fun. She did not reciprocate but I did not expect her to. I happened to spot them the other night in their password-protected space on my website. I didn’t actually send her the photos I posted them on my website. She had said in other conversation that she had no idea how to save images from a webpage. I wouldn’t care if she did save them and knowing she had trouble with that did not inform my decision to post them to my website as opposed to delivering them directly to her email or other messaging account.

Being at home served as a reminder of the previous 20 years of doing that. I get so restless and impatient. I can barely do any meaningful work at that desk anymore, or so I let myself believe. I’ve been uploading stuff to archive.org, including an attempt at posting a magazine I’ve never seen online. It’s a religious tract from a group called Twelve Tribes, in which they use John Lennon’s “Imagine” as a springboard for discussion. It was handed to me in the parking lot outside Giants Stadium after a Paul McCartney concert in 1993. I never read more than few sentences here or there. I posted it solely for its unusual provenence. Then I unpublished it because archive.org is such a pesky pain in the ass.