Monday, January 31, 2011



I loved working downtown. Our building was a typical stale office, but in walking distance: parks, the regal library all cut from marble, coffee, lunch joints. The new building is extraordinary - open space for years, windows the size of cathedral doors, cozy brick, and polished wood floors. The weather is prohibitive of the noontime constitutional I used to enjoy, but really, the neighborhood isn’t terribly walkable. We’re in a pie-shaped wedge between the highway and some industrial parks on the east side, broken 40s glitter in the street, the occasional cluster of underweight kittens scurry out from beneath cars.

I pack my lunch (of course I do) so I eat in the basement alone next to the generator room, which sounds kind of like a jet plane is indefinitely about to land on your head, “Door must remain open!”. Lately, though, I’ve been driving to the neighborhood coffee shop in the uppity but cute suburb that borders the east side. It’s not the coffee, it’s the sunshine, the radio, the drive, the cold air. Today I heard a song en route that made me think of high school, in a good way. The White Blood Cells album to my little suburban ears was interstellar black magic and I put it in my Walkman and plugged my Walkman into my ‘95 Lumina’s tape deck and left it there for months. Looking back, it is a palpable example I can point to of What It Is To Have My Mind Blown.

It wasn’t really the band that was so special as much as the portal I found to the sort of roots-y, garage music that I didn’t know the White Stripes were referencing. Later, this older guy who hung out with my boyfriend’s brother would be charmed by my guileless enthusiasm, and without a shred of pretense, would lead me to the Yardbirds, the Beau Brummels, then the Modern Lovers, the New York Dolls, MC5. I used to go to the diner with him and he would produce singles from his wallet and insist I make the most of the jukebox. Back then you could still smoke there, and we would emerge from the place with the captive tobacco smoke woven into our coats, our hair. Much much later, he would ask me if I wanted to marry him and I would say yes, or what I actually said was “Are you f*cking serious? Are you f*cking kidding me right now?” but I meant yes.

What I am saying is that the implementation of the coffee run into my work day has been both restorative and sentimental thus far, I think I will keep it up.

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