I’m a little late today, only an hour early versus the usual 1.5 or so. In a previous post I think I mentioned that I saw a woman on the subway who I had not seen for months. She is interesting to me for her art and writing, and I consider myself a fan. I don’t think I could ever step forward and introduce myself, though. It would be too strange. I think she has her suspicions about me. She should. I am not dangerous or an intruder but I did, through perfectly public resources and means, figure out who she was without either of us ever saying a word. She has a very public profile online so it’s not like I sifted through private correspondences or hidden forums.

What happened today was different. She was maskless. I had never, until now, seen her in person without a mask, usually black to match her hair and, typically, her attire. I had seen her face online but in person it looked different. No nosering, for starters. No fake smile, just a rugged, earth look that had me thinking this was altogether someone different, but with certain resemblances. I’ve made mistakes like this in the past, but this time I’m not wrong. As our walks to work follow the same exact paths (or rather, they can if I make them) I saw that this newly-familiar person go about her usual routines, marching up the stairs to Broadway, stopping at her usual Donut shop, then going on to the same office building I’ve seen her enter umpteen times.

It was shocking to see her unmasked. Beautiful, too. She’s no dog. But I don’t consider her in that respect. Like I said, I’m just a fan. I wonder why she’s unmasked now, with Covid cases rising again. Maybe she didn’t get that memo. Not my concern.


Yesterday I wandered Forest Park. It was more fun than I expected, after about a half-hour of unexpectedly strong rain. I ended up waiting out the rain by sitting on the stairs of a covered parking lot, feeling kind of pitiful for it but I don’t know why. The day’s weather was amazingly varied, with cold and rain to start transforming to hot and humid, and I was out of doors for almost all of it.

Forest Park is aptly named. You forget there are highways and ambulance sirens just outside of earshot. Huge chunks of tree lie moldering into oblivion, some of them causing damage to surrounding human-made structures.

I had a bout of shaming myself when I encountered a mess of garbage left behind by thoughtless picnickers. I started to ask myself, why didn’t I go back and clean that shit up? It’s not my job but someone should do it. Right?

I changed my thinking later, upon finding an empty box from Popeyes. I thought I’d do the right thing and pick it up, and carry it along until finding a proper disposal receptacle.

That noble thought vanished promptly when I turned the box over. It was filled with critters, including what I think was a leech. If not a leech then some kind of worm. The other creatures I think included spiders and ants but I didn’t make a formal inventory. Later I laughed, thinking “Love those leeches from Popeyes!”

It allowed me to absolve myself of any self-shaming with respect to not cleaning up the mess of garbage encountered earlier. I am bare and exposed to whatever might lie within, such as snakes and mice and ticks and who knows what else. I would need proper gloves, long-sleeve shirt, pants, etc. Maybe a pincer with which to pluck the items without touching them at all. I had nothing close to that and would have put myself at unnecessary risk by plucking through that stuff.

Moral dilemma solved. The only further option was unrealistic — that I return with appropriate gear and do the cleanup properly. That’s not likely for many reasons, not least of which that I don’t even think I would be able to find that spot again, and if I did it’s quite likely park rangers would have taken care of it by the time I re-arrived.

The park was cool, though. Mostly empty since the rain had just ended. Filled with tiny creatures, mostly. Creatures I would not want to take home with me by somehow letting them crawl up onto my person and into my bag or into my clothing. I don’t think I saw any larger wildlife save for some birds. There were lanternflies, of course.

I exited on the Richmond Hill side, at Myrtle Avenue. I don’t remember exactly where I entered but it was around the Stop & Shop at the end of the Q23 bus route. After exiting I walked along Park Lane South to 115th Street where I believe it was the Q37 that got me back to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike. That bus was crowded and a beautiful woman kept looking up at me, as if I was breaching some kind of bus etiquette. I don’t think I was but people can be strange. She was sitting a seat reserved for handicapped so maybe the guilt was projected onto others. She was not handicapped, visibly at least. Her eye makeup was perfect, her toenails were painted to perfection, her dress was immaculate. All told she looked like a total disaster. I, of course, looked like a CONQUEROR.