I’ve been listening to music on headphones as if I’m the first person ever to discover that one can be on a subway or walking on a city street oblivious to the surroundings thanks to loud music and noise-cancelling cushions that make virtually all noise disappear. Without thinking anything of it, I took off the headphones as a subway car entered the station. It sounded like an infernal, gutteral, municipally barbaric yawp. I restored the headphones, and the music and the ANC made all that noise evaporate. I could see but not hear the metal brambles of the subway enter the station.

I don’t mean to make any of this sound new or revolutionary. It’s just that I’ve never trusted myself in public with this kind of headphones or any kind of atmosphere-obliviating head gear. I still don’t think it is safe, but I’m on high alert when the ‘phones go on. Something comical about blasting Coltrane on the train, watching the city race past through the windows as the travelers among me look forward, stolid, tired, in their own state of obliousness to this world around us.

The culling has slowed. I keep forgetting, and I also find that the daily accumulation interferes with ability or focus to get rid of something like the useless PC vacuum cleaner I wasted money on. It was supposed to get the dust out of the PC but it did absolutely nothing. By culling I mean that I intend to rid my living space of at least one lingering, unused, unneeded object every single day. I left a fully functional but filthy longboard skateboard out a couple of days ago. It is now gone, hopefully put to better use than I made of it.

The big items that need to go include a dead freezer, a large microwave oven, a safe, a large printer… All stuff that either can’t be tossed curbside or else it’s too big for me to get downstairs. The microwave, the likeliest of these objects I could get downstairs on my own, can go out with recycling. But the freezer needs an appointment, and the safe is way too heavy even for 2 people. The giant printer cannot go curbside. There may be a few other objects in this store of shit that huddles behind me when I sit at the desk. I guess the best route is to call one of the junklugger concerns. I don’t want to enlist the help of friends with this stuff. I see strained muscles, accidents, pain, suffering and eternal acrimony. Someone could fall on their ass and the heavy safe come crushing down on them. That would suck ass on many levels, but to pay a company to do it assumes liabilities are not mine. It just makes sense.

OK, off with the headphones. Time to reconnect with the world around me. The hissing, pissing sound of the air conditioner next to me. Its air that feels soft and embracing at first but which quickly causes me body to chatter from the cold. I’ve mistaken that for a panic attack in the past, but even in the throes of those moments I do know better. I actually did have a moment yesterday, at a seemingly innocuous moment in which I turn off the fan I leave running in the bedroom overnight. I felt a wave of white, a tidal wave of electricity. Something was about to blow my head apart. It lasted a few seconds but felt much longer. I don’t know where that came from. I could have been swept away, body and soul, to a place where no one would ever find me. I would be found, centuries later, with trees grown through my bones and remnants of warfare lodged in my skeletal remains. I would still be alive, though. Forever adrenalizing.