What do I have to say? Yesterday was a long stramble. I started making a video from it but it felt unnatural. I was up in Q46 country, mostly via Union Turnpike landing in Glen Oaks or Little Neck or Bellerose or whatever the hell that area is called. When I thought I was in Little Neck I got pizza at a place called Bellerose. When I thought I was in Bellerose a sign for Glen Oaks apartments or condos appeared. Still not sure where I was and I failed in my goal to get photos of George Santos’ office, which is something in that vicinity. No morbid curiosity was enough of a motivator. Instead I ended up at the Queens County Farm Museum, a lovely place but hardly a bucket list destination for this non-farmer, non-barnyard person. I saw an Alpaca and some goats. A couple of cows. I not a fan of zoos, either, and this “farm” felt an awful lot like a zoo.

Upon my exit I made a fabulous discovery. Two back to back abandoned Verizon clamshells, void of the phones, making them perfect platforms for Talk To Me. That was altogether serendipitous. It may be for naught, of course.

Dreams lately involve women running toward me, screaming and threatening, but doing nothing to follow through on their threats. They seem maniacal and motivated until the moment of truth arrives and they fail to strangle me or land a punch. These dreams had me wake up screaming, thinking I felt and heard a rat chewing on my feet. There was no rat chewing anything. My apartment and building have remained blessedly rodent-free, as far as I know. There may be some circling outside. It may have been a rodent that ate through the bottom of my bag of paper recycling. I have seen rats running around in front of buildings across the street. There has been a new plan to reduce rats by changing garbage set-out times from 4pm to 6pm and 8pm. That is a huge pain in the ass, especially for older people who don’t want to be out after dark but also for just about everybody who’s been putting trash out at 4pm for generations. I don’t put trash out, though, so what do I know. I take it to the cans outside but I don’t set it out for sanitation to pick up.

These strawberries today are good. I was quationing the quality of stuff at the fruit stand I go to. The last batches of strawberries were kinda gross. But these, these are quality which I can appreciate. The water is also fine.

I received a media inquiry from someone in Utah wanting to talk about, what else, payphones. I happened to have continued my research into the subject and found a smoking gun of sorts. I’ve always contended that the industry and the public hated phone booths. They were claustrophobic for callers, and a pain in the ass for phone companies to maintain. They were routinely vandalized and turned into living quarters for the destitute. Still, a lot of falsse nostalgia survives with respect to booths. They offered privacy, or did they? If so, did anyone truly value that element of the experience, or just take it for granted? I remember being in one booth among a row of a dozen others, in which conversations from neighboring individuals were perfectly audible. And with many booths missing their doors to vandals the privacy cloak is essentially denied. A lot of false nostalgia about phone booths, yes.

A strange thing has been happening with connection to my contacts. Many of my contacts are of old, no-longer-existing payphones. There are too many of them on my phone to delete. As the payphones get decommissioned the numbers get picked up by consumers. So on Telegram I’m seeing a flurry of activity from what appears to be the old Doomsday Payphone at 21st Street and 33rd Road in Astoria. Whoever this person is, of course, had nothing to do with the Doomsday payphone and would have no idea they are on my contacts and being observed, in a way, by this chagrinned watcher.

No kismet meetup on the subway today with the woman at work who is the only person here I’ve communicated with outside the office. That was a New York moment, wasn’t it? Sitting next to an unknown person who speaks to the other person beside her. Her voice sound familiar to me. I think “That sounds like Rose’s voice.” (not her real name). In fact it is Rose, and after she speaks to the other person she turns to me to say there was a cockroach crawling on that other person’s leg, and that I should check myself for possible roachness on my person. In that gesture I see her face and say her name and we have a lovely chat in which she buys me coffee and i learn details about her I did not know, and vice-versa. She used to make good money at banks. I made good money at TWX. Now we are here, making little more than minimum wage. We have our pasts, as would people of our age.

My pasts were a source of insecurity for one woman I dated for far longer than I should have. She did not want to know anything about any of it. It was very debilitating.

I read that one of the symptoms of the latest Covid strains is conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. I actually was thinking I had a mild case of that when I had trouble opening an eye yesterday. It felt a little bloated, too, the eyelid. I should get tested again, even if the emergency is over and I might not get any time off work for testing positive, as I would have before.

I walked Queens Boulevard a good long way yesterday. From the Kew Gardens Q46 bus stop to 60-something-th Avenue. I felt impatient and considered getting a beer somewhere. But I’m not supposed to dothat too soon after taking the anxiety meds. Doing so, mistakenly, has caused some pretty miserable reckonings the next day. On early occurrence left me feeling worse than the day after I did the white stuff. Gotta be careful with pharmaceuticals.

Speaking of professional medicine it seems I might be getting a professionally fitted mouthguard after all. No insurane in my past would cover it but it appears this current coverage will. I could also get a “deep cleaning” which would sedate one half of my face at a time so they can get the Covid gunk out. I lost two teeth to Covid and did not get a cleaning for 3 years. The recent cleaning was just a start, it seems. I like this dentist way better than the pervious, who made needlessly snotty comments about me, my teeth, and her accusation that I let 10 years pass without a checkup. I said 3 years it was probably more like 2-1/2 years between checkups. She also just had a righteou attitude that did not align with her role.

Why is it cold today? 45 degrees en route to work, I resist an urge to wear a full jacket. I need to get out of this seat, it is making me jumpy.