Today’s cull was long awaited. For months, it sat on the kitchen floor, creating something of a safety hazard should I somehow step upon it and release it from its tenuously positioned secure spot. It has wheels. Wheels kill. Ladders kill. Bathtubs kill. Everything kills. Killing kills.

I had no relationship with the longboard. I was looking into alternate means of transportation that did not include expensive and socially top-heavy bicycles. A skateboard was a dumb idea. I need some kind of handles for balance, and a power supply would not hurt, though I’d be fine without one. I’ve walked double-digit miles for decades without help of a gas-powered engine. I can likely continue this trajectory.

I could not sell the Longboard. It got dirty sitting in the kitchen, by the refrigerator. Little flecks of food got onto it and crusted. It is not unrecoverably filthy, but I didn’t feel like doing the work if selling it would likely get me $10 tops. I put it on the curb, up for grabs to whoever wants it. I think I paid $40 for it, but it was years ago.

I did try. A friend attempted to be my crutch as I tried to balance myself and move around at Astoria Park. This was pre-pandemic, I think. So there is that one tart little memory of the longboard leading to human contact, albeit with someone I’d known a long time and who moved away just a few months later. She knew a whole lot more about me than I ever did about her, but that is another story.

So the longboard is gone. My foray into non-walking means of transportation has not continued. I will walk ’til I drop.

This morning, sitting in the tub, I was rubbing my teeth against each other, listening for a message, for a signal. I have come to believe there is music and murk in the grinding and gentle rubbing together of one’s teeth. Same as I hear Cajun music coming from an air purifier I believe I hear twinklings of communication through rubbings of the teeth.

As I listened for a message from my mouth this morning I swear a light turned on in the hallway outside the bathroom. I turned my head, sharply, looking for a shadow of an intruder and listening for any sound that a human interloper would find it impossible not to make. No sounds, no shadows, only my naked body blithely imagining myself at a most vulnerable position but not feeling frightened because of it. I welcomed the intruder, and as such disappointment slowly settled in when realizing none was present. Some fluke in light produced by the tub-side cell phone must have created the illusion of light turning on around the corner. It was, for a moment, exciting.

At the workplace, my usual morning location, but with a difference. I am wearing noise-cancelling headphones and listening to Strauss’ Burlesque, a confident but to me puzzling ramble through motifs and virtuosity. Gould was said to love the piece. I am hearing it from Frederich Gulda, from the Philips “Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century” series that some passionately reviled while others simply accepted it as “useful.” I believe that same word was used to describe the never-ending Hyperion series of romantic piano concertos: “USEFUL.”

Now I am hearing Gulda take on Chopin’s 4th Ballade. I’ve never listened to music while writing in this space. I had carried the headphones around for weeks, unable to find a suitable situation in which to use them. Today the situation arose. Someone was loudly watching boxing highlights on his phone while sitting at the table next to me. Rude, but so what? We’re all adults here. I produced the headphones and suspect the other individual took note, perhaps invertible offense that I took the matter into my own hands without communicating directly to him my displeasure with the sounds coming from his table.

I have never warmed up to wearing headphones in public or around other people. Walking around with music or talk blasting through headphones is, to me, supremely distracting and dangerous. I feel the same about talking on the phone while ambulatory. At times, walking-and-talking seems necessarily evil, but I usually stop, stand, or sit in one place when having a phone conversation in the out of doors.

I had to give up on Gulda’s Chopin 4th Ballade. Sounded like someone playing with their toys. Now I choose Coltrane’s Greensleeves to get me past the 8:00 hour and on to the glory of this Friday.