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Monday May 21, 2001, 00:53

Resolved then that cutting one's hair while one is feeling particularly blue is probably not the best solutions to one's woes. Nor, I would suspect, is sitting on a metal chair, naked. Luckily I am sitting on a pillow. Take this statement with a grain of salt, as I have taken much of my day.

Firstly, it was a brunch that went well enough for the situation, but not quite as I would have liked. And while I am not quite sure where the situation left itself, I standing at the bottom of the stairs, watching her ascend to the front door of the apartment, gazing up as she looked back over her shoulder, I waving goodbye and walking away, thinking that I should look back to catch her looking at me walking away and thinking that it might be better to not be caught looking back eventually gave in and looked back to find her not standing there watching me walk away.

On the other hand there really was nothing to expect (though that is not the same as having nothing to hope for [to speak abstractly for, as it was noted today as we walked down the street to the video store discussion just this medium, "it didn't strike me as particularly personal," it is quite personal, but in a very impersonal sort of a way] and maybe some day, when it is known for certain where things will lead [further up the stairs, or down the street, far far way] my feelings on the subject will be presented a little more clearly) and given that situation it was an enjoyable meal.

Truth be told, I did walk away a bit disappointed.

I headed to the coffee shop, bag weighed down with two books, two magazines, a personal radio and headphones and assorted papers and notebooks. At the time, I was not sure what kind of mood I was in, but I knew in particular that I would get tired of reading any one of the items that I had packed in my bag. Better, I thought, safe than sorry.

Coffee (black1) was ordered and I sat to begin reading an industry newspaper that covered topics that seem so distant to anything that I am particularly working on these days. Reading about the latest in broadband technology, wireless technology, application service providers, and the host of other technical topics makes me reconsider my decision not to enter the full-time technical job market. I think that it might be one of those situations where he (our protagonist) suddenly snaps, goes out, starts going on interviews, gets a job and finds himself singing company songs and repeating the company motto at company picnics and hanging out with other company families and enjoying every minute of it, looking back on his pre-company days with a sort of sadness in his eyes, thinking of wasted youth and the like. The possibility still looms.

I looked up from my magazine and he looked over at me. "Excuse me. Are you coming here often?" he asks. "I am coming here often and I have not seen you before."

Could he be? Maybe he. No, he is most definitely.

Oh man.

That is definitely not the vibe I want to be putting out right now. I yammer on about how I lived here, then moved away, then moved back. About how, no, I am not a students and how yes, I work in the computer industry. Casual. Slightly off-putting I hope. Ok. Conversation is over, potential confusing disaster averted and I go back to reading my paper.

He is scrawling on a piece of paper. I am reading about how Cigna has used Oracle business solutions for its global operations. He stands to leave and shoulders his bag. He pauses and I glance upwards, not moving my head, just shifting my eyes.

An envelope drops into the magazine sitting in my lap. I look up.

"That is for you, but don't open it until I leave."

And he goes.

And all of a sudden I feel like every person with whom I have tried to strike up a random conversation. Unwelcome advances culminating in some very uneasy feelings. I take the envelope and place it in the back of the magazine and try to read about the founder of Intel.

But the envelope is still sitting there nestled up among ads for monitor and barbecue grills (for that demographic that still has the money to spend on such things, I would suppose) is a letter from a man from the Czech Republic who had been, I believe, watching me while I read.

Uncomfortable does not begin to explain my headspace.

I opened the letter.

"This is a Czech poem { for about } you. Once you may meet somebody who speaks this language, so he/she can translate it for you."

I stuffed the letter back in the envelope, tried to read some more, and walked out of the cafe.

Should I be flattered? Or something else. He wasn't even particularly attractive, as if that would make a difference in my mind (though it might).

I walked until I reached an intersection near my apartment. Ahead? I turned. Left? Or perhaps right.

A decision as the cars slowed to a stop and the signal changed from a red hand to a little walking man. I turned left and walked. Past shoppers, arms full of bags of presumably overpriced clothing. Past the carwash, a taxi emerging from the spinning brushes, dripping wet and shiny as no taxi has the right to be.

Turn down a side street. Turn again. And stop.

A short story was being read in my headphones and I sat down on the steps of an upscale furniture boutique, placed my bag next to me, and listened to a story, the name of which escapes me now. The sky was an uninviting white with clouds and a cold wind swept through the back streets of SOHO. I shivered. I had not worn a jacket, expecting more spring-like weather in the middle of the spring.

I should have known better.

I watched as tourists passed by. Men with briefcases. Women with the same. Cars stopped at the light. Drivers danced to music or spoke on mobile phones. Or did both.

When at last the program was finished I continued my walk, looping back up and around and heading home, stopping briefly to buy some t-shirts.

Resolved that the cure to most kinds of city moodiness is to stop and smell the roses.



1. I started drinking my coffee black recently. Perhaps it was the realization that if I was going to be dumping this much crap into my body anyway that I should not be compounding the problem with as much sugar as would be required in a coffee with milk AND sugar. Or maybe I just like the taste more these days. I remember thinking that I would never grow to like the taste, that first time I had tried coffee, sitting on a rock somewhere in Canada with my uncle and cousin, overlooking the water. The mosquitoes had not come out yet, and the sun was just beginning to rise (actually, I'm making that part of, sort of paraphrasing my memories). I remember having a sip of the coffee, and thinking it the most bitter tasting beverage ever. It most likely was. And here I am, ten years later perhaps. Who would have guessed.

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