August 2nd: New York

Day four of no caffeine. I don’t miss it. Don’t have any intention of having coffee. My adrenal glands are reset. My cortisol levels are regulated. I feel less desperate. Things are fine right here right now, on this train in New Jersey, listening to the guy behind me speaking in an East Coast accent. We’re by the airport, traversing industrial yards. The train is cool and air conditioned. I have nothing to do but sit here and enjoy the scenery.

Yesterday I got into New York and went straight to Manhattan. I never want to live in New York. I would rather live in a cabin in the woods, or a small town in  Washington or British Colombia. People say things are happening in New York, but things are happening everywhere. Everything is happening where you are. Right now, this Jersey train is my world. Nothing else exists. What difference between sleeping in a New York penthouse or sleeping on the ground outside a church?

After visiting my friend I had brunch with Ellen, who’s still wildly attractive and who I’m still wildly attracted to. It was a nice brunch. A greasy spoon diner and everyone spoke Spanish. There were some great moments in the conversation and some so so ones, but mostly great. I’ve dated Ellen. I’ve traveled with her. I’ve been her friend in a platonic context, as I am now. And to be honest I don’t think we’ll be together again, and that’s fine. She’s happy. She seems happy.

When we were paying I was a bit dismayed by the price. If the breakfasts cost six and seven dollars each, how did the total come to $22.50? But of course I wanted to look cool in front of her so I just shut my mouth and paid.

After brunch with Ellen I walked to Central Park and it was hot out. I stopped to get a coconut water at the Fairway Market and then killed time by the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel before hanging out with Sarah. Sarah’s a photographer. She lives in Brooklyn. We chilled in the park. She bought me a salad and I ate most of hers and then we watched classical music. “When do you feel happy?” she asked me, and I told her some times I’d been happy, like the times I worked in Alaska or the study abroad programs, when I have camaraderie with people, but then while we were watching the classical music I had one of these moments, nothing else mattered or existed, just lying there on that blanket in Central Park, feeling the summer evening air which seemed to mute but also accentuate everything, hearing the violins and also hearing birds chirping. As were walking to the subway station there were fireflies and it reminded me of being a little kid in Ohio, catching fireflies or just watching them from my grandparents’ porch.

Finally I went to hang out with my friend Jack. He’s a lawyer. I met him at McDonald’s, then we took the subway to Brooklyn where he and his girlfriend and I talked. I felt comfortable. Then they went to bed and I showered and it was glorious, washing the grime off me, washing my hair, and I lay in bed and read Siddhartha and listened to them talk, a thin wall separating us, them talking about what couples who live together talk about at night when they’re lying in bed and not going to have sex. The air conditioning was splendid. The blankets splendid. Everything splendid and I slept well and then went back to sleep after Jack woke me up in the morning then talked to his girlfriend and then left. And now it’s today and I’m on the train. I haven’t eaten anything all day.

I’m starving.

One thought on “August 2nd: New York”

  1. Where is Wetzler? I will never understand. But I enjoy your frank descriptions of your life. You are in New Jersey were I am today, but will be in Lisbon on Saturday. We are both world travelers, albeit I am significantly older, but you may be more experienced. No need to compete. I love you father, Harry. Have met your mother…and only second hand your family. I don’t agree with a significant observations and assessment of your observations about the world you have visited. However, recall, that I did read you book and I mentioned you never stay anywhere long enough to truly understand the ‘deep’ reality. Nevertheless, I appreciate your point of view and I think you are on a journey of life that will trump (pardon that political expression) 99% of much of anyone’s experience. I encourage you to pursue whatever dream you have–as Steve Jobs said, “Stay foolish.”. Cheers! I hope we meet sometime. I will be in Lisbon this weekend for 4 weeks and with some luck for the next 2 years and…well…you know. Cheers, herb

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