I had to do something few would likely ever consider. I had to remove the surveillance camera from my bathtub. I was not forced into it. But there will be maintenance people coming through my place this week and next to fix the nearly-collapsed ceiling. I don’t need the possibility of those folks spotting a surveillance camera in the shower and asking a single question about it. None of their business, and the questions would not be directed toward me. But who documents themselves showering? And why? Of course I don’t simply shower. I masturbate, and sometimes sit and stare at my phone or listen to the radio. The morning shower is as close as I get to meditation. I can never really get to some state of Zen. Too much electrica zipping through the synapses. Sometimes I think of my days as a slow-unfolding nightmare, horrors spelling themselves out dirt by dirt, one grunt of mud at a time. The reality of my final moments persistently beckon, as circumstances can change at any time. I might take the subway seat someone else wanted, that someone else felt they had earned. That someone else could go homicidal at my appearance, a skinny white guy with no obvious attitude, just smug-seeming. The whole basket of fruit can come crashing down at any moment. The toes come disconnected. The fingers strangle themselves. Tongue starts fluttering in languages never spoken and impossible for anyone to understand. I just looked at a woman’s fingernails and felt like we could be family. I never was much for family, but this black woman with no resemblances whatsoever to me, in showing her bare, unpolished fingernails, somehow she set off a deep dive into family memories of my mother walking in on me naked and laughing at me. I was stepping down the stairs, thinking the house was empty, looking for I don’t remember what. Underwear? A towel? I don’t know but the bathwater upstairs was running as I stepped down the stairs and when the door opened and my chuckling mother emerged I scrambled back up the stairs, cowering in the bath feeling I’d been electrocuted. I knew she saw my half-hard junk but in running back upstairs she would have seen my asshole as well, and my skinny legs scrambling for cover, frantic and afraid. It wasn’t just that she saw me but that she laughed at what she saw. I never wanted to be seen naked again. I got over that but it was a stultifying encounter, brought to mind this day by the site of a woman’s fingernails for reasons I cannot fathom. I’ve seen miasmatic memory squalls travel from the sight of a rat in a trash can to the light fixtures at the Metropolitan Opera House, passing through dozens of tangents and experiences before somehow arriving far, far from a rat in garbage.