I live on the top floor of a house in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. I’ve written about it before. They (they being my landlady and her sons, of which there are four) tell me I have the best room in the house. I think they are right. I can see the subway on winter days, through the trees, rushing down the track toward Manhattan. I can hear it now, as I type. It sounds a little like running water. A faucet not turned off. I hear it intermittently. It is not loud or clattering, it’s a calming rush. I have a skylight. I don’t thank the Lord for that skylight but I should. I will now. I did. I can see the tops of trees from it, chimneys, residual sunset glow, a couple of tenacious stars. If I open my window I hear crickets, yowling cats, children, the neighbors in their sukkah, my landlady’s son in the garage, smoking and working, tinkering, occasionally blasting Pink Floyd.
I should be happy. Can I be? Yes. I can. I thanked God for the skylight before. What else can I thank him for? I just had a carrot. It was frankly a little tasteless. I had a tuna sub before that, with lots of jalapenos on it. I am a latecomer to jalapenos, not having had them much as a child. I can thank God for my late Jalapeno discovery. Shelter. Gifts without, gifts within.
A piano waiting for me. I want to play it, to learn it, to even master it. I’m far away from these goals and currently my piano has a heap of clothes on it. I’m thankful for the piano. It was a gift and I’m thankful for the friend who bought it.
I made a list this evening and on it was to write, and to to some back exercises, and to play some piano. I didn’t feel like writing, in fact I told myself it was the last thing I wanted to do, and yet here I am, writing and it feels good.
I have coffee made for tomorrow. Sometimes I do that: make coffee for the next day ahead of time. It’s not fresh and it’s not hot, but it’s ready, the instant I roll out of bed. I buy the vacuum packed 10 oz packages, which are perpetually on sale at the grocery store I frequent, called “C-Town.” In New York the supermarkets are small and have strange names. There’s one I used to go to called “Western Beef.” It had a cactus logo. Very out of place in NY. Anyway, I used to buy these huge slabs of cheddar cheese that were on sale at western beef. At C town I buy the coffee. Cafe Bustelo, in the oh so bright blocks. $2.99. Is that cheap? Around here that’s cheap. I saw a woman buying Cafe Bustelo at Rite Aid for almost $5.00 a block and I told her she could buy it for $2.99 at C-town. “Really?” She asked. “Yep,” I said. “Thanks,” she said. She told her friend who was with her. They bustled out.
I think of all the things I will miss when and if I leave New York. It’s strange that I even live here. Aaron, a friend said. “Brooklyn isn’t your thing but you’ve made it your thing.” That’s very true. There goes the subway again. A faint rush. The Q/B. Used to be an excursion line to Coney Island. Goes through an open cut. (An open cut subway is one that is below ground, but exposed to air).
I’m winding down. The will, the rush I feel from writing, is dwindling. I wish it were inexorable. I wish I were inexorable. Maybe I am.