December 3, 2018
New Orleans, Louisiana
I took my Wellbutrin and Prozac, then made a pot of accidentally-too-strong coffee and scrambled two eggs along with the last bits of chorizo-seasoned seitan I impulse-grabbed at the grocery store.
I queued up an episode of PaintingWith Bob Ross on Netflix while I finished wincing down the coffee. Towards the conclusion of Bob’s lakeside cabin rendering I went through Day Two of a push-ups app I downloaded over the weekend. It’s supposed to get you up to 100 reps after six weeks. I’ll impress myself if I can remember to do it for a single week.
The Monday morning commute slowed to an annoying crawl by a fender-bender. I listened to Sarah Shook and the Disarmers’ most recent album, Years, for the dozenth or so time. At a stoplight I saw a man in a suit holding a “Jesus Saves” sign.
I got to work around 8:30 to find a little woven llama keychain sitting on my desk. It had these googly eyes the size of frog’s eggs. A nice woman who I’m pretty sure is a Jehovah’s Witness works near me, and I asked her if she put it there. She had; it was a gift from her recent trip to South America. She’d bought llamas for everyone in our office, and I thanked her. Other coworkers came by to talk with her about her vacation, and she described Lima and the amazing food there. One coworker mentioned the new Weight Watchers program a lot of people here got into recently.
They talked about something in Weight Watchers called a Dark Week, and I put on headphones to drown out the rest because I felt bad about eavesdropping.
My primary responsibility is to order new books from vendors. Librarians upstairs sporadically email me lists of titles, and then I make the purchases and invoices. It’s as simple as it sounds, and mostly consists of free time, despite my occasional attempts to offer taking on more responsibilities. I’ve been here almost four years.
I’m addicted to Twitter. I once read that refreshing Twitter feeds stimulates the same part of your brain as pulling a slot machine lever. This morning Bari Weiss did something dumb again for the New York Times, and I did my best to ignore it. Then I read a tweet saying Chuck Schumer earned $1,800 a month as a paid congressional intern in 1969, which is more than I make now working full-time. I bounce my knee when I get nervous or anxious, so I did that for a while underneath my desk.
I wore my new jacket when I went to eat lunch at the student union, and a coworker told me I looked like I should be driving a tractor, which was fair, though I’ve only ever ridden a lawn mower and it was years ago. After lunch I refilled my thermos with tea and put on Funeral Chic’s new album, Superstition. I worked through most of the outstanding book vendor orders in my queue, pausing to occasionally refresh Twitter or check one of my rotating website mainstays for pop culture news or new Mueller indictments. A couple new shipments arrived, too, so I unpacked and invoiced those.
I managed to realign my mind’s train tracks for about an hour-and-a-half at the end of the day, and was able to work on my novel. It’s a horror/dark comedy about two childhood friends — one Jewish, one black — on the run from demon-worshiping Klansmen in North Mississippi after the Jewish kid kills one of their own to avenge his dead mother.
I clocked out around 5:00. The local Chabad house is near the library, and in the driveway was a minivan with an electric menorah strapped to its roof. Its shamesh and first arm were glowing, and I remembered again that Hanukkah started last night. Usually I avoid the Chabad because I wear a tallit katan and sometimes more observant Yids assume I speak Hebrew, and it’s embarrassing.
The evening commute was nightmarish. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up chorizo seitan, but was so frazzled that I forgot what I’d come for. I ran into a friend’s roommate, also Jewish, who was looking for latke mix, but found only a box of instant mashed potatoes. She and I agreed she could probably mold it into latkes. We made plans to try organizing a small Hanukkah thing this weekend, both conceding it would probably just end with us drinking with our gentile friends.
I got home, seitan-less, around 6:30 to an empty apartment; both roommates were out of town. I ran my new jacket through the laundry machine to try getting that big-box store smell out of it, and while it made its way through the washer and dryer I half-watched an episode of Longmire on Netflix. A gutter punk was evidently the culprit for the day’s murder. The face tattoo makeup was questionable, but overall he looked pretty accurate, to judge by the ones I see prowling the French Quarter. I followed Longmire with an episode of Deadwood – probably my third run-through of the series. I drank three bottles of Icehouse over the course of the two shows. At some point one of the dogs belonging to the downstairs couple—who are also my landlords—started whining continuously. I got worried so I texted them to let them know. They told me they were on their way home, and texted again thirty minutes later to thank me for the heads-up, and to not hesitate if something like that happened again. The whimpering stopped in the meantime.
I got into bed around 11:00 after opening my window a bit for the night air, and fell asleep listening to Earth’s The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull as it blended with the thin traffic hum from the I-10 freeway.