Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've been reading Thomas Wolfe

The cold air biting. Sneaking under folds of duvet, sheets and comforter to attack and petrify toes.

The sound of the alarm to our roof that was meant to warn climbers to go no further only helped to advertise when someone was making their way to the top of the building. It whooped and whirred its snaking way through layers of sleep, making me awake and awake again. I dive in reverse and I falling through sleep until I belly flopping into cold air and reality.

The coming of the holidays meant being stuffed and uncomfortably full. It meant navigating the crowded streets to get to work as tourists gawk and dawdle at storefronts and shop windows that were stocked opulently yet manage to ring hollow and dull. It meant an an overabundance of food at work; being plied with smells and flavors that come too fast and too much to be savored. However, I still ingest them hungrily, knowing this time of plenty can only last so long and it's more important to list what was consumed than to taste it. The faceless self-satisfied mannequins of Bergdorf Goodman in rich jewel tones of expensive clothes and cheap wigs. Breakfast eaten in front of Tiffany's. Fat, red from other places faces stuffed with dollar bagels and stale rolls from carts as conspicuously dressed fathers and husbands gamely laugh and take photos to be shared and with feigned modesty and good-humor.

The gifts of chocolate panettone, fragrant burgers, greasy fries and bready onion rings not meant for me round out my meals. Dinners upon dinners with foie gras and venison and oysters. All delectable dreams to be remembered when a week later I absentmindedly sneeze after biting into a ball of pepper missed by the pepper mill in jarred spaghetti sauce that was on sale for a dollar cheaper than usual over 99 cent pasta. It makes me think of the quail that daintily sat in its potato terrine at a dinner where I felt excited both in a good way and a scared way still being new and naive and self-conscious about social situations in that 24-year-old way. Flavors and ingredients I wouldn't dare try to recreate on my own sad budget in the most ironic of disparities. In my own small mouse hole of an apartment far away from the luxurious landscape near my workplace where tourists come to gawk and dawdle.

But the mouse hole is my kingdom. I'm my own and where I don't feel self-conscious and excited. I know every inch of its can-be-measured-in-inches floor plan. Sandwiches made with cold cuts and cheese feel like feasts and when I feel indulgent, I may lay largesses of sliced avocados in between the bread and its humble contents.
Where the wailing roof alarm wakes me in the morning and I imagine it to be my clarion call.


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