on a new grind
I’ve begun a new job as a photographer, but I’ve taken more pictures on my way to and from work than I have while on the clock. Rising before the sun has its charms and chills. The forklift operators in my warehouse neighborhood are already tooling across sidewalks with their stereos turned all the way up. My walk to the train is full of funny smells: hints of fruit salad, broccoli farts, White Castle. Dunkin Donuts isn’t even open yet.
My trip takes a little under an hour and a half. I’ve been writing on the way there in an effort to be diligent, creative, and productive, and also to avoid falling asleep, missing my stop, and being late to work. I send an email to a couple different people every morning so they know I’m alive and on my way. If they don’t hear from me and can’t get in touch, I’ve been assured that they will send someone looking. They call it “accountability.”
It feels romantic to imagine the FBI finding me in this fog at sunrise. It feels embarrassing to think of them finding me overslept in bed. I’ve been setting three to four alarms on several devices in different locations in my room. I wake up every hour of the short night in a panic, thinking I’ve somehow slept through them all.
The Long Island towns I pass by are not without allure. I read about them on wikipedia as they pass by: median household incomes, breakdowns in ethnic diversity, famous people who have lived there: Tony Danza, Lil Mama, Steve Buscemi, Nicki Minaj, Isaac Asimov, the Fat Boys, Metallica, Bernie Madoff, Hettie Jones, various Mafioso. I imagine them all sitting down to dinner together in defiance of time and chronology, before their fame, with varying degrees of hometown pride and flightful hopes. They talk about local politics and weather. They argue about which is the worst brand of cheap beer. Their drawer count was off at work and their managers are angry. They need to fix the roof on the garage. They might go to Far Rockaway Beach next weekend. They tried the new restaurant in town and weren’t impressed. They forget whose turn it is to wash dishes. They’ve got to go put the laundry in the dryer. Maybe they’ll see each other around.