Instead of shoveling weak and flaccid news articles into my head I decided to be present on the subway last night. Aware of my surroundings.

I noticed a woman wearing a green jacket,, covering up I don’t know what other sartorial flourishes. The jacket was closed.

One of her hands reached for a pole to maintain balance as the subway went into motion. Her fingernails, painted a gross darkish green, looked like nails better suited to top fingers much stubbier than her slender digits.

She mostly faced away from me but, in moments of the subway’s throttle and snort she turned to where her profile was in front of me. Her nose was short and upward pointed, her lips generous in quantity and lipsticked a dark red. Nothing about her countenance struck me as concerned or mentally occupied. Her unpleasantness possibly reflected a dull or disappointing day at work, or else a broader condition of ennui and dismay that takes its time absorbing the ambitions and raising discomfort of those who move from the midwest or North Dakota to find a life in New York. She looked like Fargo to me. A Fargoian? Fargoan? Fargoite?

An older woman stood next to her. Her face seemed livelier. Her mind seemed alert and angular. SHe was shorter, and stout, probably also coming home from work, or maybe she just rides trains all day, hoping for something astonishing to develop. Someone, a stranger, will coax her into taking a job as a cashier at a place that sells only grooming products for zoo animals.

I don’t remember much else from the train. There is a new and strenuously unpleasant situation at Lexington/59th. At the N/R/W platforms we now have MTA workers absolutely screaming at us to get away from the stairs, “KEEP THE STAIRS CLEAR!” They must be doing this for a good reason but it seems like something a robovoice could handle just as effectively as these coarse, hoarse individuals. I really hate it, and yesterday, in particular, it seemed to pick at the prickles of my brain with insidious bite.

I have been showering in total darkness, or as close to total darkness as possible. With the lights out before the sun rises it is pretty fucking dark in the bathroom. The window has no blackout blinds like my other windows, so some light gets in when it’s a clear day and the sun is rising. There are options for light. I can tap my phone’s screen, as it sits on the sink next to the tub, and (depending what is on the screen) it can cast a warm light or just enough light to see the coffee cup on the surface of the small garbage can next to the tub.

Other light comes from the camera that records me every day when I shower. Small lights that blink and bleep in ways I found irritating eough today that I turned them off. Now just two lights stay lit, not enough to provide light for guidance or navigation.

It seems unsafe to enter or exit the shower in the darkness. So I utilize what may be the only “smart” piece of technology I own. The light fixture allows me to turn the light off or on from anywhere. After I am safely settled in the shower, and after I take my morning does of meds, the light goes out. I reach for the shampoo and soap by motion memory, shutting my eyes for minutes at a time. I feel pings and pongs inside my body as the lack of visual distraction turns my thoughts inward, toward themselves. The near meditation never reaches a point of hum. My brain gets antsy and jumpy and I try to masturbate but demure from that predictable routine.