Down and out in Naptown

It was the last day of a conference in Indianapolis and I was starting to crack. Three days of breakfasting and lunching with strangers, cheerful collaboration during workshops, and shoptalk between sessions were getting to me (see the name of this website). That morning I unintentionally shut down the conversation at a table when I wasContinue reading “Down and out in Naptown”

My Sunday making America great again

When the good people at Make the Road put out a call for volunteers to register voters, I knew I should sign up. It had been too long since I had done something charitable. Plus it was in Queens! On a Sunday! How could I say no? I had a brief moment of panic when IContinue reading “My Sunday making America great again”

Rage against the dying of the light

Scene: Two men dressed in business casual sitting at an East Village bar on a Friday night, ’70s punk rock playing in the background. Friend: What have you been up to since Sabine’s been out of town? Me: Uh… I went to The Strand for a couple of hours. Friend: Lingered in the erotic artContinue reading “Rage against the dying of the light”

A glitch in the matrix

As I do most nights (and as she described in this lovely article), I was reading to my wife in bed. This time, it was a very strange story about a community of people who believe a ’90s children’s movie starring Sinbad has disappeared, possibly due to a crossover with other dimensions, a glitch in theContinue reading “A glitch in the matrix”

Shrinked, part 3: Civilization and its discontent

I guess the Washington Square Institute thought they were making up for my previous therapist when they assigned me a new one who looked like Jay Leno. I wasn’t a fan of the TV show but found it encouraging that my new shrink seemed more amused than concerned by my problems. Things went well enoughContinue reading “Shrinked, part 3: Civilization and its discontent”

Shrinked, part 2: Breaking up is hard to do

Not long after moving to Brooklyn I was introduced to two women at an art opening–a blonde and a brunette. They asked why I had come to New York. Embarrassed to say, “to be an artist,” I jokingly answered, “to be a poet.” The brunette pointed to the blonde: “She’s a poet!” “I’m sorry, I was kidding,” IContinue reading “Shrinked, part 2: Breaking up is hard to do”

The five lessons I learned from strangers

This morning I crossed paths with the elderly Indian gentleman I see most mornings on my way to work. We went through our usual routine: I smile and say good morning, and he smiles back, performs an elegant flourish with his hand, and responds, “and a very good day to you.” Not only is hisContinue reading “The five lessons I learned from strangers”