I took an extra day off work. Feeling less and less in love with this place, and the uninspiring future it might hold for me should I commit to a long-term engagement. Originally I wanted this to be a 6-month gig, but at some point I fell in love with the job. That was, coincidentally, about 6 months in. The attitudes about this job waver from day to day, and within a single day. There are far worse jobs than this, not that this is a horrible job. Oh who cares. job talk is blah talk.

I was looking at the strawberries today and thinking “Those are some fine looking tomotoes.” They are not tomatoes, and I had to consider what cultural damage could be incurred if the perception that strawberries are tomotoes became widespread. I would think political movements would be born from this, and previously illiterate bus drivers and intestinal researchers would become the poets that distinguish for commoners why we must understand when a strawberry is a strawberry and a tomato a tomato.

I had a brief, strange dream in which I had a phone conversation with somebody. A person. After the call I went over to where that person was when we spoke on the phone. He had become something else. A wireframe likeness of a person, with a round wooden head and a puppet-like mechanical mouth that only moved. It could not speak.

The shirt I wear today has most likely been hanging in the closet for over 5 years. Is that how long it’s been since the last big relationship? The last multi-year relationship. I don’t even know how many years it’s been but for some reason 5 or 6 sounds about right. I remember it ended in August.

The reason I think the shirt has been in the closet that long is because only one button was buttoned. The top button. I never leave a shirt like that. Only she would have handled the shirt in that way. I always leave most of the busttons buttoned and I put button-down shirts on like they were t-shirts. A girlfriend in college made this one of her champion quirks about me to point out to others. She just never understood why anyone put on an Oxford shirt like it was a T. To me it was obvious. Who wants to waste time rebuttoning a shirt every freaking time you put it on? And you know what, that little ritual performed today was, indeed, pretty annoying. I don’t know who makes shirts like this or why but the button holes were hidden beneath a fold. It’s hard to explain but I had a hard time finding the fucking buttonholes, the bucking futtonholes. I will not be unbuttooning most of the buttons on this shirt. Ever. The work I did today in buttoning these shirts will be a lasting and enduring legacy to the history of my wearing this article of clothing.

It’s a decent shirt. The ex who would have left it in the closet with just one button buttoned bought me several nice shirts, designer brands, usually for a couple of dollars at the Salvation Army or similar 2nd-hand stores. It was actually a pretty cute thing she did, even if it was pursued with the intent cleaning me up a little. Making me less slobular. The implication was that she wanted to be more proud to be seen with me in public and that pride would come through more carefully curated sartorial analysis and execution.

She never bought me pants. Only shirts. I didn’t so much buy things for her but how could I? I paid for everything else. Rent, groceries, date nights, everything. No money left for gifts, although I did splurge on stuffed animals, which became a pretty conspicuous crutch for our failing relationship. I still have all of them, I think, though by now I probably forgot what personality and characteristics we gave to each of them. They were like family, which is kind of pitiful. I think I put most of them in a bag, and I’ve considered offering them to a nearby nursery school but they probably wouldn’t want it. The thrift shops of my area have all moved far enough away that I can’t just walk over and dump things like that. I would not want to dump them locally anyway, as there’s the chance she, the ex, would find them, and be sad.

I got some good sun yesterday. Finally have tan lines on my legs, and my face feels healthy from the vitamin D. I walked 9.7 miles, according to one of my tracking thingies. I’d round it up to 10 for time spent walking without the device. Didn’t think I could still do 10, and it was painful at times with this fucking foot problem. Much of the time I feel nothing much but then there’s this electrocution-like blast of pain. Oh, how I suffer through my wasted time.

It’s like I am determined to waste my life. Compelled. I do believe there is something to be said about the soul-searching nature of my flaneur wanderings. I am looking for something. I just don’t know what nor will I be aware if I ever find it.

I found an interesting receipt on West 96th Street. From a shop in Brooklyn, on the back was a man’s name and phone number. My instainct says that the dude worked at the shop and was hitting on a customer by giving her his name and number on back of the receipt for her purchase. She, evidently, discarded the receipt. Or did she lose it by mistake? Does she regret the loss? Or did she call him and decide he was a pig, then ridding herself of the scrap of paper that at one point seemed to promise so much?

I visited my old apartment, the one I sometimes wished I’d never given up, on East 78th Street off of York Avenue. I remembered the hooker that used to wait for in the foyer. She said I looked like a professor with my glasses. I encountered her 4 or 5 times before I guess she gave up on me or found someone more willing. She only propositioned me when I was leaving for work in the morning, not that that makes any difference in my decision making process. Hookers are not my thing and I would have been no more tempted had she made appearances as I returned home from work. She looked diseased and terrified.

I remembered Satan, the hyperactive cat that got away. I don’t remember if I paid for the cat or if it was a giveaway but it came from a Usenet posting, and the people who posted the ad delivered the cat to my small apartment. The cat made me nervous. I thought it was scheming and collecting information on me, planning a bloody riotous coup. When she escaped through the bathroom window I made no attempt to find her. Weeks later I spotted her at a bodega, looking healthy and fine, and seeming not to remember me at all. I just was not ready for that cat, or any cat.

I stuck my head into the foyer, where the hooker used to wait for me, to see if I could tell who was in my old apartment. It appeared I could have gotten a last name, at least, but I later realized I’d looked at the wrong apartment number. I was in 2G, but I looked at 2B, which is the apartment number at my present address. I don’t know what I had in mind by looking for the name of whoever occupies my old studio apartment. I’m not going to contact them or suggest a visitation, although I sometimes think such a scenario could be interesting. An alumni meeting of sorts, of everyone who lived in a specific apartment. We never knew each other and likely had nothing else in common save for this space, this living quarters. Would there be any reason for such a gathering?

I was east side, west side, hitching rides on whatever bus or train came along. I keep thinking I need something new in my life, something out of my comfort zone. I briefly considered getting more involved with a dominatrix but she proved to be kind of a fool. We did have some fun with ropes and shoestrings but it was going nowhere interesting. I cut her off completely. That was about a month ago.

When I say I need something new in my life it does not necessarily mean it has to involve a woman. A new pursuit, a new job, a new direction. Or am I already too old for that kind of pivoting? I feel fine today. Let me embrace the day, the night, the rain that will wash away the wildfire smoke once and for all, at least for now.