I felt it yesterday, unexpectedly, given the tumult and travails of the morning hours. Nothing shocking happened. But it was uncomfortable. I felt sour, tiny, bitter… I looked forward to the job itself elevating me from the acid bath in which I stewed. But work was slow. Painfully so. Another of those days where minutes pass like hours and hours like full lifetimes. Things changed by the afternoon. The panic pills, which usually get right to work, had taken their time yesterday. Then I had an unexpected conversation with a former colleague here. It was nice. We laughed. So many people in life do not know how or when to do that. Laugh. Laughter itself is not a sign of happiness, however some might try to convince you. Laughter is an expulsion of nervous concerns, a ridding of anxieties, a catharsis of something spurred by surrealist juxtapositions. Laughter is commonly associated with happiness on account of how it hijacks the smile, which is a credible and accepted signal of happiness. It is basically impossible to laugh without smiling. I find that to be a cynical hijacking of the gesture, because people laughing are not expressing happiness. They are vomiting anxiety.

Afternoon hours felt serene. Today seems like it could continue that placidity. I don’t know. I had taken 4 days off and had virtually zero contact with other human beings during that time. 4 days is not that long to be cut off from people, but it seemed so much longer. I was remembering the crowded bus on Staten Island, and the concerned yet unconcerned atmosphere that coagulated from the individuals’ auras and appearances. They had places to go, people to meet, perhaps holiday parties or gatherings to attend. What was my business? I was going to find a couple of payphones. This was critical. I considered doing it twice, by returning again the next day and making more of a trip out of the journey. But it’s too damn cold, and my blood feels colder this year compared to past winters. I like to imagine that when I got to some town in Jersey or to some place in Staten Island that there will be a friend there, waiting for me, maybe a new friend who has no idea they are waiting for my arrival. But there is never anybody there for me. Most contact I had with other humans was on 31st Street, when one of a group of 6 or 7 high school kids shouted out at me “Waddup, niggah?” I declined to respond.

I mean there are people around. Interactions with cashiers, laundromat workers, etc. But nothing, or no one, to sooth the churning in my gut, which I calm with pharmaceuticals and booze. The bath shower has become an inflection point in my day. I savor the act of cleaning my body, warming the back of my neck with a steady flow, for many minutes, of hot water. Almost every single day I relish the success of having decided to sit, not stand, in the shower. How did ever do it otherwise? Standing seems so awkward, even dangerous. Of course sitting comes with one major risk: standing up.