Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Perfect Wake Up Call

It is early Sunday morning.

My sister and I are walking the dog in Central Park. She has just moved from Oregon to New Jersey, and I am ecstatic to have her in the same time zone again.

We pass the reflection pool, the Boat House, Bethesda Fountain, and follow a heavily wooded trail over a small arched bridge, walking and talking of silly sister things.

From behind us, a voice echoes off of the trees. It's a male voice, singing Metallica's Unforgiven at the top of his lungs, as loudly as possible.

I sing along, as I just happen to know the words to this song.

Footsteps pound the trail behind us, the singing draws nearer, and suddenly there he is--the source of the voice. He is a skinny homeless man, running along the trail, ripe with body odor and something musty underneath.

"Good morning, ladies!" he shouts over the music of his headphones he as runs alongside us.

"Good morning!" we say.

"Just singing along to a little Metallica," he says, and smiles a huge, friendly smile.

"Yeah, we know," we say.

"Yeah, Metallica," he says, then laughs. His eyes are wild and smiling, and before he disappears over the next hill, he says:

"That'll wake a muthafucka up, won't it?"

Friday, August 10, 2007


It is a quiet Friday in August in Manhattan, and it is pouring.

Lately, there are many things happening all at once.

I have come to my favorite French restaurant to get out of my own head.
I sit at the tiny bar and lose myself in the familiar menu, which I study for a good ten minutes, even though I already know what I will order.

Every couple of years, this seems to happen. I find myself at a crossroads; there are choices to be made.

The choices weigh heavier this time—or maybe the choices weigh heavier as one gets older?

I must put off one thing I really want for another thing—something I’ve worked toward for years.

We shook on it—we made a deal.
We were standing on East End Avenue, somewhere in the 80’s, and I thought I would burst with happiness.

The memory makes me tingle all over.
I thought I had it all figured out.

Family—or career?
Why can’t I have both, if I’m patient?

What if I make the wrong decision?

One year used to seem like an eternity, and now I blink and one year has passed.
What if I blink and I can’t take it back?

Bollocks! says the older British woman, who is also having lunch at the tiny bar. She is waving her glass of rosé as she speaks. She fits a black ball cap over her bald head, then takes it off again a few moments later. I am hopelessly attracted to her energy---there is something difficult there—something strong and sad and determined.

I have always been drawn to the strong, sad, and determined.
That is why this city is so amazing.
If I ever leave New York, it will break my heart for good.

There are suddenly many waiters, carrying demitasses of espresso, glasses of wine. The cabs are whispering down 51st Street.

Lately, I find myself restless.
Lately, I am unsure of what to do next.

Plans are made, then plans are broken.
It’s not only about me now.

Lately, I find it all so scary.