Got here about 7am. No need to be this early. Thinking I have big plans for tomorrow. Sunday. Big does not mean significant. Just different. I might go to church. I was mentally rambling after posting several copies of my high school literary magazines to I was thinking there might be some presence of that high school’s alumni organizers in New York. THere have, in fact, been occasional meet-and-greets where anyone in the tri-state area who ever attended my high school was invited. It was free to attend but was, of course, a fund-raiser.

I discovered something I never knew all these years. There is a church in Manhattan that is connected to my high school. It’s run by the same order of priests. I have no partiuclar nostalgia for that particular order of priests. But some connection of commonality, common ground might allow me into new circles of influence and interest.

The last time there was a meet-and-greet event in Manhattan I remember mentioning to a more recent graduate of the school that I had been editor in chief of the school paper. He looked at with a certain puzzlement, which I couldn’t interpret in the moment. I remembered later that while the school paper was taken pretty seriously in its day before and during my tenure it was said to have completely gone to hell the very next year after I left. I heard from no less than the moderator himself. When I was there we won state awards and were regarded highly among our peers. Since then and seemingly forever more it was considered a joke. So me telling this person I’d been editor of the paper must have sounded to him like a strange thing to volunteer, a strange thing to brag about.

The event tomorrow involves a one hour church service followed by a coffee social. That sounds very dainty for me but I can clean up well. I may find that sartorial concerns will eliminate me from the gathering, if adherance to a dress code is required. I will sit through the service impatiently, there only for the sermon, or homily, whatever it’s called now. It’s been 8 centuries since I attended church so they probably are doing it in Latin again.

Actually it hasn’t been that long since I went to church. I went to the dowdy, dumpy old church on my street in Astoria a few times, as well as the more majestic Catholic church on… I think it’s 36th Street in Astoria. They have churchbells there. I don’t know if the church I’m going to tomorrow has churchbells but I’m guessing they do.

I also have plans to meet up with an old friend on Monday, someone I’ve known for about 30 years. That will be a step out for me, as I never meet up with friends after work. I’m too tired and crabby. But she’ll be fun, and she’s only in town for the day so I shouldn’t pass on the opportunity.

I took an R train today. No N trains, only shuttle buses, and I don’t distrust shuttle buses but I do draw a line at climbing 4 flights of stairs to get to the train when I could more easily do the R route. As I made my way across 34th Avenue to Steinway I kept thinking, inanely, “I’ll be happy on the R train.” I was thinking in pacific terms of how gentle the ride will be, how seductively comfortable the seats will tempt me into never leaving the train.

It didn’t happen like that. It was crowded enough that sitting in the open seats would have seemed awkward. A few people standing, the empty seats seeming to serve a purpose, maybe to half way hold the handbag of someone sitting next to the empty space, or to accommodate the spread legs of the person sitting on the other side of the available seat. It’s that level of population in the car that makes taking every seat seem awkward, and uncertain.

I took no seat and my bag was heavy. I could have removed it from my shoulder and secured it between my ankles but that seemed like a conspicuous flourish that would invite snitches and thieves. I carrie dthe heavy bag, feeling around with my eyes for happiness on the R. Not finding it I removed my glasses, turning everyone into a splash of natural color, color more natural than seen through any pair of eyeglasses I’ve ever owned. I dug into a news reader with its monotonously sensational headlines. Someone had another “meltdown”, someone else posted “bizarre rant”, someone else’s “final nail” has been driven into their coffin. So much news is preemptive drek that when I find something of high quality I feel too soiled from the crappy writing to step up to its level. I mean I feel like I shouldn’t bring the crap into the presence of the good stuff. As if I actually do that in this scenatio.

Here are some pictures from the past week or so.

The intent in going to the church event is not to get back to God. My relationship with this particular order of the Catholics is not positive. I just want to find some commonality and possibly a real world connection to someone I knew. I want, in short, to do what I’ve been unable to do here at this job, which is make new friends. I realize I’m not the most naturally sociable creature to begin with but it shouldn’t be as hard for me as it’s been here. I need different influences.

I was never happy on the R train today, but I don’t gloat or wallow in the reality of the discomfort. The R from Queens Plaza to 59th Street always takes so much longer than the N from Queensboro to 59th. I start to think I boarded the wrong train and that I’m on an E express to Forest Hills. FInally 59th Street appears and I find that the cars on this R train are longer than the N. So I am several feet further than usual away from the stairs to the 4/5 express, which I missed by just one minute. I was not thinking i”d be happy on the 4/5. It’s a less comfortable part of the commute, but I stay with it as long as it brings the possibility of connecting with a certain co-worker here who comes from the Bronx via the 4 train.

We connected a few weeks ago. It sounds like a New York moment. I heard her voice, which is distinctive and sweet, and I thought “That sounds like her voice.” She was talking to the person next to her and, in turn, she turned to talk to me to warn that the person next to her had a cockroach crawling up her pants. When we recognized each other it was fast and easy conversation all the way to Fulton Street.

That day I guess you could say I was happy on the 4 train.

I remember a conversation with someone I’ve known a long time, someone I trust and have no reason to question their mental health. This person started reminiscing about an experience we had, going into exquisite story-telling detail about gutters on the sides of the roads, street lights not working on a deserted stretch of interstate, how we stole some rotgut whisky from a porno store and drank it in in tiny shots inside an abandoned garage.

The story goes on, detail after detail emerging crystalline, as I silently let it go, this faulty, displaced memory of events I believe to have occurred but that did not involve me at any time. It may have been he and others were driving my car, which I used to lend out on occasion, and in driving my vehicle they associate me with the events he recounts.

I do not interject or question my presence in this memory, even though I am certain I had no part of it. I let my little mythos build, my existential footprint increases by letting myself be multiple places at once, a hero here, a deadbeat there. I let myself be everywhere.