Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Words Like Clorox
"What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes." - Samuel Beckett
Mondays. I wandered around the city, half buzzed, half stoned, and half awake, and I talked to homeless kids and doormen and street vendors. They were as bored as I was. They had no answers and neither did I. Sometimes, I wandered over to the book vendors in the Village. They populated the Southeast corner of Washington Square Park near NYU and catered to the majority of students who needed books for various classes. Sometimes I visited the booksellers near Astor Place, by the Noguchi cube. I became friends with the older woman that ran one of the tables near St. Mark's Place. Her husband, Carlo, died a few years earlier, and I used to buy green tea off of from him. She did not continue Carlo's profitable side business of green tea distribution, but she gave me books at half price. That was a deposit. If I returned the book in the same condition I bought it, she'd give me the money back, or I'd get to pick another book. I always picked books that I wanted to read but not buy, or books that I had been curious to read and never did, or something I read once before but wanted to thumb through a second or third time. Obviously, I did not borrow books that I wanted to keep, just those I knew I'd be bummed out after I spent $15 for a new copy of Identity by Milan Kundera, and then it did nothing but collect dust on my shelf, because it was something that I would not have recommended to my friends, and I would have been embarrassed to give away a book that I did not enjoy. Carlo's wife hooked me up and I always wondered if she was going to sell books on the same corner for the rest of her life. She did not know what else to do. I assumed that books were her life and made her happy. I was shocked to find out that she stopped reading many years earlier.

"After a while, the words lose meaning," she flippantly said one blazing summer afternoon almost a decade ago, while I waited with her while Carlo went back to his apartment to fetch me my bag of green tea.

I've written more in the last three days than I did in a long time. I just looked at the clock. In less than 48 hours, I'll find out if I won a trip to Australia. I told Mr. Dickhead I'd bring him with me if I won.

Writing Music Tonight Included...
1. Talking Heads
2. Radiohead
3. Steely Dan
4. Traffic
5. Johnny Cash

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