In the past twenty minutes I have seen a man kiss a woman with dyed-orange hair. I have seen the open eyes of a baby I saw as a bump when her mom was sunning this summer. She looked so calm, happy to be breathing. I followed a pair of calfskin boots that looked like slippers through the subway station as classical electric piano played and people crossed paths making a messy, knotted web. People have moved aside for others in the compressed subway cars—others have not.
My adrenals might disagree, but sometimes I remember this city is good for me. I tend to wonder how people view me, but there are so many eyes here. The number of people that could be judging me is incomprehensible, so I am letting go. Example. Yesterday I was running, full-steam booking it, down the subway station stairs because I heard there was a train below me and wanted to catch it. There was room on my left and right to pass me, but I heard a guy yell at me Come on, Miss. So slow! Hurry up! as he ran past me.Five months ago, I would have been upset. I just shook my head. Kook. And then I watched him wait to get in the subway, while I walked further down the track to make it closer to where I’d need to exit. We got on the same train.
Example 2. The first month I was here, I was rushing through the turnstile to exit the station, and there in front of me lay a $10 bill on the floor. I picked it up and carried it two steps to the station attendant. Logical, right? I slid the bill under the grease-hazed glass, feeling pretty happy.
I found this on the floor.
What am I supposed to do with that? the attendant asked me, like he’d never seen one.
Someone dropped it.
He spit back I can’t take that!
I said, But what if they come back looking for it?
He replied, offended, This isn't a lost and found!
I left the bill on a random ledge, and left the station confused. So many people here, so many chances to offend. So many chances to misunderstand. To get the story wrong. But also? There are swarms of stories that are true. In the past week, I heard two bedraggled men talking about a murder. I may or may not have inched half a foot down the car away from them. Walker heard two guys talking about a gang fight. They were in the fight. But we've also encountered friends in the same subway car or the street on a packed day. My neighbor is having a baby. Her neighbor just had a baby. There are 4 babies on the floor above me. Spring, you think? This city makes knotted webs like its job.
Things I love? Cold winds to blow that tween Hollister scent off Broadway. (I use the word ‘tween’ regularly in proposals I write. It’s a real word.) Wearing nail polish a tween gave me long ago. Little sprouts in my herb pots. My friend's published. His book's incredible. The Bradford pear blossoms are out in flocks. And we have swept into April, whose name is so much nicer than March.
I'm sending these notes on New York up through the smoggy mess to you, sitting in front of a computer when maybe you should open the windows to let in the scent of shorn grass for me. Happy spring-a-ling!