Day 284: Scorch
This is the Morning of Horrible Realizations. The first one: that this isn’t the Morning of Horrible Realizations, but rather, The Afternoon of Horrible Realizations. The second one: that I forgot to buy coffee last night. The third one: well, I’ll get to that. As well as for fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift, ad infinitum. Time is wasting, just like time is wasting while I write this sentence trying to describe the internal struggle that I had trying to put on pants. I’ll get nothing done without my coffee and I’d rather Mountain Dew out of a hot garage than attempt to consume the butter toffee hazlenut whateverthefuck coffee that’s growing dust under the Keurig. I guess I’m buying bagels today.
The heat hits my face as I open the apartment door. Climate-controlled common areas, my ass. The lobby floor reeks of bleach as the Super’s Assistant gives me a half-hearted wave. The bleach remains in my nostrils as I go out into the world. After a few seconds of adjustment, it’s not as bad as I expected. The humidity is at least breathable. There’s a scorching wind blowing against my face, but it’s better than a stifling haze. I take off my mask and try to enjoy it. For a brief moment, I was able to convince myself that I was in the southwest, on vacation, in the middle of Winter, about to buy a slush, enjoying it all and then an N train came screeching from above and the fantasy turned to crippling reality. I’m still here. Fitnessing twentysomething girls take in awkward conversation while waiting in line for the gym. Breaking a sweat while waiting to break another sweat, some people know how to party.
Turning down Broadway, I enter the wall of flames. The shade is gone and I’m suddenly in a world where shade never existed. Delirious, glowing faces meander into the Starbucks for the free AC while others are definitely on their way to stand in line at the gym. Everybody has a purpose, but they seemingly don’t. I can feel my pant legs start to dampen. Large beads of sweat start rolling down my knees. I don’t know why it’s always my knees that sweat third. But I can feel the pools grow with every step I take. Although It’s only two blocks, I feel like I’ve been out here forever, or at least long enough for the dementia to kick in. Dogs sit outside a pub, refusing to move. The owner is annoyed, but I feel for them. These may be the dog days of summer, but they’re not days for a dog.
The fans inside of Toast & Roast try so hard to do their job. I really appreciate the effort, but it never actually does the trick. Especially when you have a grill and an industrial toaster constantly running, blowing around the hot air doesn’t bring much relief. I place my order and in the two sentences that I utter, sweat starts seeping out of my beard and into my mask. A woman takes forever to decide what kind of soft drink she wants, just so she can feel the cool air of the fridge for just a few seconds longer. The place is full of people searching for sweet relief and everything bagels, but they’re only going to find one of the two things here.
Back out into hell, I take a deep sip of my iced coffee. It’s satisfying, yet scorched. Just like the world around me. Every sip I take, I can taste the streets and all of its misery. Passing the Starbucks again, the air conditioning hits me through the door at the same time the coffee hits me. Or rather, the coffee hits my innards. Things start working again and I’m not referring to my brain. My brain is still off. No need to worry about that. But my stomach. My stomach is working and I have a half block to go. Pop. Pop. Gurgle. With every pop, I slam my sandal on the pavement, so onlookers and well-wishers won’t be disgusted. I start walking crooked. The bigger line outside the gym must all assume that I’m trying to get to physical therapy. “What a brave man”, they think, “But he isn’t going to get a good workout wearing flip flops”.
Legs growing wetter by the second, I penguin walk down the block. As soon as I see the parking garage, it amplifies. The dance starts. My feet move on their own. Pop. Pop. Gurgle. Pivot. Step. Step. Pop. Luckily, the door is still open to air out the bleach. Elevator even waiting for me. I make a dash down the hall, open the door and am greeted with sweet bliss. Comfort. Air conditioning. Toilet. A lovely wife who’s appreciative of my bagel run. I’m a made motherfucking man. As I take my sandals off, I gaze out the window for a few seconds. Partially to contemplate having to go back out there again soon but mostly because I can’t move. After it passes, I run to my throne, take out my phone and let out a groan. What the hell am I going to write today? I don’t have much time. I have to think of something. So I write one word and hope the rest comes to me.