When you don't wear headphones walking around the city, you make yourself more open to contact. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad - but either way, it is probably better for you than no human contact. This morning I went to the optomotrist to tell them that they did not give me the right prescription and on my way there, waiting for the NR at Union Square, there was man standing a couple feet away from me, muttering dirty things. This was a middle-aged business looking guy and I didn't think he was talking to me. I was reading my book, an excellent book that I am going to tell you all about in depth when I finish it because right now it is the best writing I have read by an unknown in so long. Philip Roth and Kafka are no surprise to read, to be astounded by their goodness, but this John Haskell and his American Purgatorio is amazing. More about it later, but anyways, I am reading this and so sort of ignoring everything else around me because it is so good, but then the man walks past me and I look up to see him licking his lips in a crude manner. Then with that gesture, I was able to understand his diry mutterings. When he had stopped a few feet past me, I looked at him to see him staring at me. I turned around and moved further the opposite way down the platform, because it was ten-thirty in the goddamn morning and I was reading something that made me feel clean and the sun was out, and here was this relic of the end of nights, of unhampered desire looking for something before the sun comes up. It was anachronistic to encounter this mid-day.
Shortly after this, a middle-aged woman came running off the express train, almost into me, laughing that she didn't want the express, and placed her hand on my shoulder laughing, telling me she was only going to 28th Street. This made me feel clean, a nice, human interaction, me laughing knowingly along with her mistake, having done it myself countless times.
The optomotrist gave me an eye test with my glasses on that I could not do, and then wrote out a new prescription that will be ready this afternoon and will hopefully be correct.
Walking back to my house, I walked past this man hosing down the dirt off the front of his house, this old man, and seeing this made me so happy. I really wished that I knew his name and could call it, say hello, and live in a small town. He stopped hosing when he saw me coming and looked my way. I gave him a big grin and wave and said Hello. The old man, happy, said hello back. And it is not cold today. The outlines of the clouds glow today as if someone traced them in an electric highlighter. The sun is out and I am happy.