New York Romance

I usually get good ideas when I smoke cigarettes. I stand there on the balcony staring at a clump of ivy vaguely creeping up someone else’s wall and smoke sometimes because I have nothing to do. Then I’ll get an idea, and it’ll come in a FLASH of inspiration IN ALL CAPS in my brain, but I usually forget it before I can write it down. When that happens sometimes I have another cigarette in the same spot and try to coax it to come back.

Sometimes I worry if I quit smoking I’ll stop having good ideas.

My downstairs neighbor is a supermodel and I remember this when I reach for the pita chips. Sometimes I wonder if she judges me from her deck when I do yoga badly in the living room, I’ve never been to her place but I’m pretty sure she can see my place through the window. I don’t know if she does yoga herself but I do know she drinks PBR tallboys on humid nights and for some reason I find that endearing.

The other neighbor has constructed what appears to be a miniature forest getaway in her backyard, just this huge lush canopy of green walled in by bricks and concrete. The rain is falling into it and I can almost see the plants swelling with water, absorbing the droplets hungrily through their cells.

The tinny sound of rain on the fire escape reminds me where I am.

A woman in black lingerie stares out of her window in the next apartment complex and I think she might be looking at me but I’m not sure. I blow a cloud of smoke in her direction and stare back at her until her image distorts, then go to bed. The next morning I go outside with my coffee and see her standing in the same place but as it turns out she is a cleverly constructed floor lamp.

Later I go to the bar down the street with a book and annex a table, it’s too dark to read but I order a drink and strain my eyes anyway. A moment later some tipsy girls from the Upper West Side want to know what I’m doing there all alone and I tell them I got stood up on a date because I don’t feel like explaining. They call my fictional date an asshole and say he doesn’t deserve me on and on until I start to feel bad for him even though he doesn’t exist.

The best thing about cash only bars is that you don’t have to wait around to close a tab long after you’re ready to leave.

On the way home I start thinking about this episode I saw of The Office once where Jim attaches a red wire to Dwight’s computer and Dwight follows it all through the office and outside up a telephone pole and I remember it being really funny but also really sad, like that’s what life is basically, a red wire. You pull at it and follow it along uprooting things thinking you’re going to get somewhere but really you just end up on top of a telephone pole, or somewhere else really pointless.

This is my last cigarette, I did the math and I really can’t afford to smoke. TC Mark

image – Annie Hall

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