If it lives up to my hype, this could be a day for the record books, or a day to point at and say that this is when I decided to stay at this company for longer than anticipated. I’ve already been here longer than anticipated but that’s more a matter of adulting the situation, and being some semblance of a responsible, adult professional.

I am starting the role they said 6 months ago I’d be starting in 2 weeks. If I don”t hate it, and if they don’t hate me, I can see this being a long-term commitment. But honestly, I enter this new environment the same as every day I’m here: This could be my last day. I could quit at any moment. I am a free person.

I’ve been feeling more present on the subways. Not burying my face in a news app all the time, reading stories I never recall, feeding on garbage journalism that is nothing more than copying and pasting other peoples’ comments from TikTok and getting paid to do it. Being present on the subway means paying attention to the people around me. Seeing who is looking at me. These are things that elude me as my futile feeding on headlines makes all around me vaporize. People’s feet are strange and interesting. I sometimes look at the feet first and try to imagine what the rest of the person looks like. It goes both ways. I see the face and, if a primal instinct of attraction is piqued, I look at the feet, imagining what part they would play in a sexual encounter. That is one of the few vivid memories I have of sex. Pressing the feet to my face while penetrating. So hot and hungry. Most sex is kind of a blackout for me. I like to imagine that’s normal. You get excited about a situation and you just can’t remember it later.

Today’s “being present” insights involved the lateness of the train. Its slowness, blamed on a switching error at Bleecker. Most people seemed to take it in stride but as the minutes piled up I’d see visible signs of dismay, attempts to contact people outside (employers?) but no chance given the signal-free tunnels in which we were stalled. The tightnesses of people minding their own business on this diurnal commute started to melt. I felt the gathering of strangers start to take stock of itself, of each other. Have I gathered with these strangers for our mutual doom? Will this subway never move again, and will we slowly rot from starvation and mental depravity as the world forgets they left us down here? Are these the people chosen for me to die with?

It could have made for an interesting group with which to slowly descend into death. Two younger women having an annoyed and annoying sounding conversation that I could only characterize as such by the droll, lazy tones of their voices. Flip flops and perfectly manicured feet made them seem directionless, but I sensed they had active social lives and maybe even went to sex parties. An older black man stood almost the entire time the subway was not moving, several minutes, and he leaned toward me some of that time. The car was not crowded and he could have made me uncomfortable but somehow he did not. This was my partner in doom, after all. One of those partners. A middle aged white woman at the end of the car was starting to crack a smile, poking at her phone and reaching no one. She would be my primary conversation partner, I thought. Her feet were beautifully pedicured but I could not make up my mind about the rest of her body. In time the signal switch at Bleecker was fixed. We moved. We exited the train and scattered about our separate ways, the union that had started to coagulate instantly evaporated. We would never meet again. We never met in the first place.