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I've been working out a lot lately and my wrists are killing me. I am completely embarrassed that the most exerted part of my body these days has been my wrists. I didn't ask for this. But I brought it upon myself, I suppose. Balancing a lot of writing jobs (which is good) with a few writing desires (even better).

Found this sign on the street late last week. This will sound trite, I know, but it's one of those small details that makes you appreciate living in New York City. Sometimes, just sometimes, it delivers on the promise of movies and literature (but mostly movies, because literature tends to romanticize actual minutiae rather than painting in wide, romantic strokes the way movies do). Every now and again you'll have a perfect, magical moment -- a real sense of tiny wonder -- that would seem very possible in any number of small cities but approaches divine intervention in a city with this kind of population density.

An example: last night, on my way to my jazzercise class, I put an acquaintance of mine into my head. doesn't matter why, but I did. At the crosswalk, in front of the flatiron building, I was suddenly seized with the need to crane my head and look behind me. My friend who, just a few moments ago, was a citizen of my imagination, appeared in physical form, on her way to macaroni collage group therapy. It's the kind of coincidence that would not seem significant in a small town but is somehow life-affirming in New York.

I think it's because in New York you leave your house each day and instantly feel like a stranger. How can you possibly compete with anonymity when you spend your days stuffed into subway cars with 80 different strangers every single day? There is very little repetition here; change is like oxygen. Makes you appreciate your neighbors -- even the schizophrenic ones who pee in your elevator.

I donate spare change to the scroungers (or call em what you will -- vagrants, derelicts, hobos, bums, panhandlers, tramps, bagpeople, indigents, drifters, vagabonds, bindle stiffs, homeless, addicts, liberal arts majors) in my neighborhood more often than I probably should. Sometimes it's because I feel guilty for "needing" that black-and-white cookie, but mostly I think I hand them money because the ritualized action - I mean, I am counting on seeing this same person with the same story and the same cracked, leather palm extended - soothes me. Makes me feel like a regular, which is invaluable here.

I am becoming a sentimental fool. I promise to make fun of senior citizens or epileptics next time. Just to clear my conscience.


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