Today is unseasonably warm as I walk out of Dunkin Donuts with a decaf coffee in hand and take the escalator up to the platform of the Long Island Railroad Station, I walk past a bunch of young people mostly girls waiting topside too, talking in groups of two or more I figure there must be a concert or something to draw so many. I settle myself down the other end of the platform where a wall surrounds the far stairwell and I can put my coffee down and write a little, it’s just at the right height. I’m going in to New York today a little late in the afternoon to see a French band called Nouvelle Vague, they sing in English but do only covers of old 80’s new wave and punk songs-nothing original, these are sung by a changing cast of young female singers in a Bossa Nova style, chosen especially for their unfamiliarity with the songs, confused yet…don’t be. This is really very good music and hey you can actually hear the lyrics.
I have been apprehensive all day, I have always been pretty self revealing in my stories so now is not the time to hold back. I have had a fluttering heart for months, at first I thought it was just excitement over getting my 401k money and paying off bills or just the excitement of Christmas and the happiness of being able to get some nice things at great prices to give for gifts. But after the new year it got worse and worse and when I went to the doctor last Monday she told me my blood pressure was very high and immediately prescribed pills and a lower salt diet with caffeine cut out completely! I look up and scan the horizon while I sip my coffee, I miss the caffeine. I have been on the med since Tues and I don’t feel like myself, the pills are making me drowsy and when it’s quiet at work I am actually falling asleep standing! I just feel less sharp than I usually am, I suppose I will get used to it. I’m feeling sorry for myself that I’m not a kid anymore and I can’t just “do what I will ” in a reckless abandon of eating and drinking, and trying to get the most out of every day, driving myself onward like mad. I will have to take life easier, and be more aware of what I eat, drinking is cut down to two drinks a day (at least I can still have wine with dinner) and now I have to read labels and make most of my food fresh, no more convenience from canned soups or stews, and no more TV dinners…not even the healthy ones are acceptable except for a few, I will have to make everything from scratch.
This has made me feel like the joy of my trips to the city has been taken from me, the Belle Epoch of my indulgence in the culinary underworld of New York City has been curtailed before it even got started! The sobering thought is that I can only imagine how high my numbers were on the days I ate whatever I wanted, drank three coffee’s and followed that up with three rum cocktails or worse how high it might have gone on the days I walked in the city all day and did all the above on top! I am lucky I’m not dead, so I have to thank God I’m alive and deal as best I can, if I drop a good deal of weight I’ll probably be taken off the pills and can return to normal-but with greater caution, so I can only wait and watch.
Since I haven’t been to Manhattan since August I am nervous about going in again, part of me feels disconnected from New York, the days of feeling like I was one with the city last April when I played tour guide are gone, and I fear my dream of being a tour guide is nothing more than a pipe dream. The economy is not going to allow me to support myself doing that full-time and my parents are reaching a point where I’d rather not leave them alone all day so far from home. Where I work now I can be home in twenty minutes if I have to for an emergency. So now the most I could hope for is to do it on the weekends when the weather is warm, after I get my guide license, and I’m not nearly ready to take that test yet.
I am also completely behind in my chores, I am still not done packing the Xmas tubs into the crawl space, because I insisted in re-organizing them all before putting away and going through some old boxes of my Dad’s stuff to see if we couldn’t make better use of the space by consolidating things a bit without him knowing, he will never know the difference because he doesn’t use these things he just possesses them. I also have to clean out and re-organize the kitchen cabinets and move toward a kitchen that suits me better, since I do most of the cooking now I need not to have to go down on my knees looking for things that should be within easy reach, likewise tools and small appliances that are only used once or twice a year could be put away and a list made of their whereabouts. I want to start-up my ten gallon fish tank, after losing my Betta I’m going to a bigger tank than his five gallon. I feel bad that I got caught up in the holiday madness and forgot to do partial water changes and gravel vacuuming, the water looked clear but he got sick and despite my best efforts to medicate him he passed on, keeping fish is way more chemistry and science than it was for my parents when they kept fish back in the early 60’s and had seven tanks going at once! They were breeding fish and selling them back to the fish store for fun, that’s advanced fish keeping and I can’t imagine doing that. The train pulls in and I get on searching for the bathroom car and going in before getting my seat. The car seems to be a good one not too loud or quiet as a church, it’s funny how noise actually helps me with writing, as long as it’s not directed at me personally. If someone was with me I couldn’t write at all if they insisted on talking to me, I should try to change that reality for myself, I mean if I start seeing a girl they will be hurt if I don’t talk while we ride the train.
This is a slow train but I have plenty of time to get to Penn Station and have dinner before the show downtown, I figure I’ll try a Turkish Restaurant I saw on MenuPages.com that seems to be good. I saw Anthony Bourdain in Turkey last week and want to try their food. I soon find myself getting off and walking up the stairs and into Penn Station itself, lots of people are milling about and moving in every direction. Tourists and tradesman, families and friends, young couples in love and the dispossessed walk alone. Some look into the distance straining to see signs, newcomers trying to find their way. I come out on 34th & 7th Ave and turn right and begin walking toward my dinner destination for today. Ali Baba’s Turkish Cusine is on 34th and 2nd Ave, quite a hike for me so I pace myself trying not to get my BP up too high by fast marching the way I normally like to walk. The streets are full of people going places and we bunch up on the corners and wait for the lights to change, getting a little cooler now that evening is approaching so I pull my overcoat tighter and walk down 34th stopping only to admire a bronze sculpture of a street artist painting set up on a plaza in front of some shops. I’m walking uphill a little so I begin to get a little too warm but keep myself bundled up. I pass the avenues one by one and finally I see Third Ave approaching and then I can see the sign in the distance for Ali Baba’s, I cross third and walk down taking note of everything I see and find my destination. Then with a glance left and right as I turn I find myself entering another world.