I wake up and its 5.30am and the cool light outside reminds me where I am. Brooklyn birds quietly tweet outside, the only noise in the stillness. My sleepy nook where I emerge everyday is a joy. I lift the eyelids inside my mind and immediately remember. He walked away from me. I was let go of, and sank deeper into my fog that met me a few weeks ago. The fog wasn’t so polite, but knew where my heart was more than I did. And made it harder to breathe without even introducing itself. I am not a lover of rudeness but it didn’t care. It carried in the sorrow and despair that I never let myself think about. What if me moving to another country and believing in love, didn’t work? The mist makes my heart condense, it feels harder and barely able to beat. Please be a morning fog, please warm up. I beg you fog, let him back in. Let me see him and feel his warm hand find me in the bed. What happened, fog why did you hide him? Why did he let go of my hand and not find our way out of the grey?
5.35am and my alarm jabs me back to my room and I dont see the fog, but it drifts inside.
Seventy four percent of subway poles across NYC are anti-vaxxers,
based on a recent survey during the current measles crisis hitting the city. Subway
poles, who typically ride the subway most days and therefore exposed to this
ongoing crisis, were asked how they felt about the outbreak and what they were
doing to stay protected.
Some of the questions asked of them included “Would you
vaccinate due to the recent outbreak of measles?” and “Do you feel touch
contributes to the spread of common illness?”
Belinda, a pole on the F train, felt like she was targeted
and was simply another New Yorker going about her business, “Measles on me is
just hysteria. Come on, we are not part of the problem. It’s a myth!” She felt
like she was made to be part of the reason New Yorkers are in a panic, “I keep
to myself and yet I am supposedly the threat! How would you like it, to be blamed
or exposed as the problem? I refuse to accept vaccination as the answer!” Belinda,
along with some of her friends were going to an anti-vaxxer rally this Friday
The most interesting thing to come out of the survey was the
majority (74%) did not believe in taking a trip to their doctor to get the
measles vaccine. “Usually I cannot make the doctor, as the subway is my main
commitment, so I would rather not.” says Bastien on the 1, sometimes 2, train. “Also,
I have heard that vaccines are just a way for the rich to get richer and us
poles gain nothing but more grime”.
Local communities are banding together to talk to anti-vaxxers
such as poles and have even provided flyers with speaking points. How to approach a pole with the right body
language and how to not offend a pole,
seemingly unusual flyers to discover but communities are taking this very
seriously. Chantal from the West Village has successfully had some great conversations
with the ant-vaxxers. “I feel they remain calm and respectful just like me, we
ride the subway as fellow New Yorkers and I hope what I say to them really
makes them think on their journey home. We are one New York.”
New York City has recorded at least 423 cases of the outbreak
since October 2018 and there is no sign of this reducing. Public Heath emergencies
have been declared in both New York City and Rockland County.
A few subway seats who overheard the survey reportedly chimed
in and expressed their views which were not available at the time of printing.
#142 – Your Commute (where are the other #141 hacks?)
If you are like me, I dislike touching strangers. But we are made to in the dreaded concept of commuting on public transport. It has taken a year to perfect my commute where my introverted self is happy with my journey and I can pretend I am in a meadow. A smelly small meadow with super sad cows that stand sort of close but hey.
So here is my hack/advice for working out a happy commute:
Consider leaving earlier for work. I go to gym in the city early so I avoid the crush. I avoid the sad stares of people going to do their soul destroying work. Or if you can, leave just after majority of the dead souls have already headed to their fate. Plenty of room.
Choose your subway car. Choose which subway car speaks to you, and what ones have less people than others. People are stupid and all cram onto the one closest to where they entered the station from, or then the others who all plan to go to the carriage that gets them closest to their exit on the other end. But you, you choose the carriage that is less busy the whole journey on average. And not empty because someone has pooed everywhere.
Position of where you stand on train. Aim for a wall. A wall you can lean against then zone out from the world. Don’t take a seat unless you have broken your leg or have pants that keep sliding down. That leaves you open to looking like a dick who doesn’t stand up for someone who needs it and you have zoned out. Even if you don’t get to a wall at first, make your way there as people get off. You will get there, don’t worry. Then you feel you have your own fort, protected from thoroughfare and only half the amount of armpits.
Choose your connection carefully. For many months I was changing subway lines at the WRONG station. It took a friend to comment that you should take it several stops earlier and then my world changed. I had been fighting for prime position and lining up where the door will appear with many others. A few of us regulars would eye each other, without actually eyeing each other. After this advice, changing earlier meant that the train had not stopped at some of the major stations meaning, as per suggestion above, I found an empty wall and zoned out to my meadow. Do it.
I will add more suggestions as I go (I wont) and feel free to share your own.
I checked my phone for the address for the seventh time and it was still the same. I looked up and saw the number on the building, glanced at phone then back at number. Yes idiot, this is it. It says it right there.
Stood outside until it was 10 minutes before my appointment time, just in case there was some paperwork not in order or there was a delay. Always factoring in those things, “just in case” was very much my motto. I acted casual, leaning against an empty store window beside the entry where I knew people were not going to be walking constantly behind or beside me. I always find a space like that, just to feel like I still have privacy in this crazy city. I looked across and noticed the Empire State Building waving from on high, as people took selfies from down low. They will all look terrible… STOP being cynical, I tell myself. OK ten minutes til my appointment. A rare New Yorker holds the door for me as I enter the quite posh lobby. The person sitting behind the concierge looks expectantly at me, but I turn and see the elevators and press the UP arrow. I want to look like this is not my first time, even if to the stranger behind the desk who has a few bagel crumbs decorating his shoulder.
The elevator had no mirror. But why did I notice or care about this? I can just tousle my hair and know it sort of fell in the right way. Why am I tousling my hair? I feel that reading that word “tousle” doesn’t even sound how I want to describe what I am doing. But its a fact and we do like first impressions. Though my appearance wont show whats going on in my head. The doors ding-ed open and the email said to turn left then go to #2 suite. This suite had a buzzer, pushing it made it tell me an IP address out loud, by an automated voice. I was super confused, looking around. Was this a test? I pressed it again and this time, the door unlocked and I walked into a space for four chairs and a sign that said “please be seated, your therapist will be with you soon”. I was looking for reception, doesn’t this place have reception? I walked around corner in this empty space and was just closed doors and noise machines on the ground. Humming was everywhere. Turning another corner meant more sound machines and more doors. I felt like I was in a suspense/thriller film for no apparent reason. But no humans anywhere and no reception. So decided, like Alison in Wonderland, to do what the sign said. I sat down and waited.
Will this work? Will it help my mind and processes? Can I trust this? I am paying someone to listen to me, does this feel genuine?
A door opened, and a smiling face said hello and I followed him into the room. Therapy had begun.
I went to Africa for the first time in my life. Though Morocco was beyond what I ever imagined. The colours, the people and the culture were so beautiful. I do not know where to begin and I feel like a third grader writing a report of my trip as only basic words come out. Good. Pretty. Fun. Maybe because I am still trying to understand what I just experienced.
We had a beautiful house outside of Marrkech and it was beyond surreal to be living there for 12 days. Sheep and shepherds beside us, the Atlas mountains in the distance. I can still feel the cool floor underneath me and the distant different birds talking to each other.
I get so mad as to why I cannot bring it to life on a page. Though maybe it doesnt want to be on a page but inside my head as memories. I dont write to show off or say, “look at me I travel” but to say “GO, do the things!” Whether that is to get in the car and drive south further than you ever have. Or do something you havent done. It is always rewarding.
Beautiful things are waiting to come into the world.
I love the magic of opening my eyes, sitting up slightly and peaking out the window to see white. It is easy to forget it is a normal weather situation but becomes this miracle. The whole streets-cape is different. It is quiet and no footprints on the sidewalk yet.
A few hours later the concrete appears everywhere, feet sweeping it away. The distant sound of shovels scraping, the prettiest sound in the world. And a little bit of sadness fills my mind, like the day after christmas or when summer is fading. The excitement was short lived.
There is a man that lives above me that gets puffed by the time he reaches my floor. I can hear his breathing under the door. It happens everyday. Then onwards and upwards he goes, each heavy step stretching and creaking the wall beside my head.
And I regret this, as part of the fun of the writing is just saying anything. Cause someone will understand, even if it is just one person. And that person may nod while reading or smile or close the page down and say “never again” or something to that nature.
I tried writing a comic strip today. It amused me. I feel that we are told we are bad drawers unless we have a standard. But maybe I just want to set a new standard that everyone sets themselves. It felt good to do and I shared it around the office. I doubt they enjoyed it as much as I did or even understood it. But that is not the point, I was creating and sharing like we all should.
Last night I sat beside an ice skating rink in Bryant Park, the Christmas stalls now closed and empty. Spending time with my good mate and just being in the space really made me happy. I feel home here and I imagined seven rats trying to walk across the ice and they were into it.
I often hear songs that I have strong memories of a past love. And it will never be able to be anything else but a memory of those times.
Once or twice I have heard one and love the song so much I force it to be relevant to my current life. Or I flag a song when I have been single thinking, you know what I want this song attached to my future.
Today that happened, where I heard a song and instantly was brought to the memory of the past where a man I loved was so moved, every time he heard this song, he cried. Like really cried. I was never that moved by the song but was so intrigued at the reaction I will always remember it. When he sunk low under the jets of the shower he was in and sobbed. The power of music.
Now I heard it today and I feel thankful. As it makes me think of where I am now and where I have been taken. I smiled, and then the lady with the fluffy pink coat on the subway thought I was smiling at her and she smiled and it got weird. Thanks.
Its 3:35pm so it means its time. The yellow that hovered across the sky through summer has landed on the leaves. The leaves landed on the wet road and met the other leaves who kissed many colors of orange. Some people think its cold enough to wear sleeping bag jackets while some wear a long sleeved shirt. The cats sit in the window getting the sun, their world hasn’t really changed yet.
I wish I had a tool that let me seek out the brightest and most colorful tree. But then that tool wouldn’t allow me to discover the others while I search for that tree. I do proudly say the one outside my house may be the most vivid orange and red I have ever seen. A woman sheepishly snapped a photo on her way to work. She saw me see her take the photo and we had an unspoken exchange. “It’s beautiful huh”. The next morning the rain carried the leaves down to the ground and they look like a messy artist who had been painting the trees left splatters everywhere. An artist so carefree and generous that they didn’t care where this color pallet landed. As long as it was for everyone to see. It was their duty to make sure people looked up from their walks with their heads in phones and just stop and look at the color. Even if it was to take said photos on their phones and continue on their way, boosting the saturation and adding filters for everyone to click “like”. The next hour or two will be a sporadic collection of likes of those around the world who have never seen such hue.
These leaves are then carried inside, onto the worn apartment corridor carpet. Not as social in here, as the leaves can barely make out the next, one or two steps higher than them. “Hey, its warmer in here huh”. “Yes, even more so up here on the third step”. “Oh you are new, you just come in?” “Yes, on a boot with this yellow fella”.
I wonder how many leaves go into the ocean. Cause that is an adventure, from a still quiet yard. A blast of air and rain took them over the roof and into the front garden. Then the next day another gust carried into the gutter. From there it was very dark and lots of pauses. Meeting many interesting and not so nice characters until a gush pushed them out underwater into the salty cool.
I remember a photo where my dear friend heather and I had a leaf fight. June 2003 and my friend Rachel who was a budding photographer snapped it. We were I want to find it, maybe she has a copy?
I loved how traces of leaf would stick to woolen sweaters after an adventure as a kid. It really was the mark of fun that had been had.
My possum Peter used to like touching the leaves on the front grass. Gently treading on them, one footstep at a time. Then a car would drive nearby and he wouldn’t be as gentle and crunch across the rest and up the bare tree. Hiding in the sticks and branches. He looked below him from up above and the car drove away leaving the quiet in its place.