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A sure sign that I've lost my mind: I've started taking "constitutionals." When I woke up this morning I got the idea into my head that I would ride my bike to this bagel place that's pretty far from my apartment, rather than walking the two blocks to a closer, perfectly serviceable bagel place in my neighborhood.

Then, after checking my email and laboring over all of the subtextual messages and how they alluded to other people's disappointment in me, I realized it was getting pretty late. I started going over the logistics of my sojourn to The Bagel Hole. With my bike, it would be difficult to manage an iced coffee beverage and a bagel. I might have to get the bagel, ride my bike home, then walk out and get an iced coffee beverage separately. And by then it would be too late to consider this meal my breakfast, as it would be inching toward 10:30am. Also, the trip would mean locking up my bike, and I always feel like I do this wrong. I don't know where to place the U-lock. Do I throw it around the horizontal brace and another brace before locking it to parking sign? Or do I run it through the front wheel, which can otherwise be easily unbolted and stolen, and then through one of the aluminum braces? And what about the saddle? Anyone could make off with that. Do I have to unclip that and bring it into The Bagel Hole with me? If so, I'd better make note of the saddle's height because I always forget how to set that.

Now it was 10:15am and I still hadn't left my apartment, so I decided to forget the bike completely and walk. But, wanting to be faithful to my original plan in which my bagel run became a mind-clearing form of exercise, I thought I would make a wide circuit. I'd get an iced coffee beverage from Gorilla and then continue on to Bergen Bagel, where the bagels have amazing "mouth-feel." This would be an amazing economical solution, too, as I had a free coffee beverage coming to me from Gorilla, according to the holes punched in my Gorilla Coffee Card. (Truthfully, I have TWO free coffee beverages coming to me. I filled two full cards and never redeemed my free drink on either of them, because I was too embarrassed to demand for something for free. I thought it made me seem like a beggar. I never knew the proper protocol for requesting a drink and knowing it was going to be free. Do you mention its gratis status at the top of your order, or spring on them later? Should you order as you usually would, or over-order to max out on your freedom? Or, conversely, should you get a pauper's drink in case the store's policy does not cover specialty drinks? The only thing more embarrassing than having a coffee beverage placed in front of you, and smugly declaring, "THAT WILL BE ON THE HOUSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!" is having the person behind the counter say, "Actually, no. Our free coffee beverage offer does not include large iced caramel-o-ccinos with brownie bit fudgelings and butter rum drizzles. Now pay my ass." I consulted with a few friends, however, and was made to feel confident that my typical iced coffee drink order would be honored under the bylaws of Gorilla's "free" policy.) So began my morning constitutional.

Along the way, I had two amazing sensory moments. First, on Park Place (where I own two hotels, incidentally), as I was passing an elementary school my nostrils did espy the aromatic mix of bulk oregano and rubberized, toasted cheese. This bouquet could mean only one thing for the school children within: PIZZA DAY. My blood turned green. (I remember pizza day/hot dog day very well, because it was the only time I didn't have to suffer my mom's demeaning one-slice-of-bologna-stuck-to-white-bread sandwich and under-ripe plum in a brown bag. I also remember trying to make my classmates laugh on pizza day as if the notion of in-school pizza wouldn't make us all giddy with laughter in the first place by hitting myself in the face with a sicilian slice of pizza. I was classy.)

Then, on Seventh Avenue, my constitutional was briefly interrupted by a gentleman unloading cargo from a delivery truck, to drop off at a local diner. As he passed in front of me I saw that his dolly contained four tremendous white plastic buckets filled with briney New Pickles. (New pickles are the brightest and greenest of all pickles and, in my opinion, also the least delicious, unless you count those filthy bread-n-butter pickles. [but I hope you have enough self-respect not to count those.]) I looked streetside, and saw the pickles had all been birthed by a red truck with the words "MR. PICKLE" on it. (This is the very sophisticated Mr. Pickle; and this is the openly gay, but no less sophisticated Mr. Pickle.) As my eyes met the eyes of Mr. Pickle, I thought to myself, That pickle truck is filled with pickles. PICKLES. I would take that job and shove it...IN MY MOUTH-HOLE.

[After skimming over this entry, I have come to the conclusion that it is not my mind-clearing morning constitutional that indicates the onset of my insanity; it is the incessant, mind-bogglingly self-conscious planning that was required before setting foot out of my house for a bagel and iced coffee beverage. I did, however, redeem my free drink from Gorilla. I must remember to call my analyst and report this breakthrough.]

WE FIRST MET ON 06.08.2004

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