This here is a little thing about life in the view of an introspective moment –
November, 2022: Manhattan, New York City
It is a day that’s passed the last of October. More accurately, today is the first of a month that draws us closer to the holiday season. I am alone, by myself, and driving fast (to say the least) on a parkway with my mind detached and my body taking over as a form of habit.
I am not thinking yet I am reacting in an automatic sense that my body knows which way to go and how to turn.
My thoughts wander off and drift away with the background music, which is playing somewhat loudly. Yet, it’s almost as though I can’t hear anything. It is morning and the rain drops appear on my windshield like tears from above; only, I’m not paying attention to anything other than the mindlessness that comes with moments like this.
I have been taking this drive, or drives like this or commuting and passing either over bridges or under tunnels for the last 30 years. I think of this and the remarkableness of someone who broke the law and committed the worst of crimes. They did their entire bid, got out of prison, finished their parole and people are still here in the working world with no rest for the weary. There are people who served their time quite differently, living in a world and working at a job that was otherwise uninteresting or in spite of the salary, there are people who have worked at their dead end jobs to support their dead end lives. They’ve had hopeless careers and wish they could somehow get out soon with time off for their good behavior.
I would say the suggestion for time in prison or in any institutionalized life is true. “Do your time. Don’t let your time do you.”
I would also offer that from a relative perspective; everyone is doing time in one form or another. Everybody pays. Everybody owes. Everybody borrows and at least at one point or another, everyone has stolen something in either a figurative or literal sense.
I am driving through my morning routine, post rituals and post my morning cup of coffee with a shot of espresso, which is a trick I learned from a wonderful Cuban (favorite of all) and hence; this is a coffee connection that can keep me awake and alive during a morning of post-insomnia.
By the way, this is typical or should I say my usual start. First, I come here to sit with you. I sip from a cup of coffee and allow the caffeine gods to do their trick.
Again, as I explain this to you as a means to gain a picture; I am driving fast and thinking of all the best places and the best-of-all times where my connection to this City has allowed me a moment of clarity.
This is a view inside of my head which, of course, is something you are familiar with by now.
At least, I hope so.
This is a view into the mindset of an autopilot moment between destinations and suspended wishes that hopefully will leave me destined to be someplace else.
I am a thinker, like the rest of us are and to be humble; to be honest, and to be transparent as ever and vulnerable; I open myself like a model of the old Colosseum in Rome – to see what’s inside. If you can see this, I offer this to show you the inner workings of a mind while suspended in autopilot.
I can recall a moment before a storm in a vacant office in Midtown. I was thinking (of course) and sifting through the catastrophes and challenges. I was about to embark on a major journey into a surreal sense of loneliness.
My family had been spread out in all different directions and the glue which held us together, meaning the matriarchs of my family, were gone or passed away. Therefore, the connectedness of my family was loose and unattached.
I was weaving through a process known as divorce. While my pockets were on the weaker side and my list of resources and friends had dwindled to a low, I was about to embark on a life-changing decision. Moreover, I was about to prove to myself that I was more capable than I believed and better off than I expected.
I can see this memory and almost feel the weepiness and needs I had which begged for a change.
At the time of this moment in an abandoned office, the sky was gray and the winds were cold. There was certainly nothing spring-like, summery, or colorful. As I looked out the window, I was stunned to find butterflies, streams of them which seemed more like thousands of them, all flying high and more than thirty stories above the streets of Manhattan.
I had never seen anything like this before nor was I sure if I was awake or only dreaming. But yet, I can remember looking out of the tall window with an eastern view and facing downtown. The butterflies were monarchs and their colors were somewhat muted just like the gray sky.
I was drinking coffee. I was alone and yet I offer this description of lonesomeness to evolve like a vision of eventual hope.
I offer this as an expression so that you can almost see me. Or, at least if you can see anything, I would like you to see this so that you can imagine me in an empty office suite. The space was large and void of life in a postmortem sense that all had gone and everyone had moved out. All that was left were the tiny garbage and little swabs of proof that at one point, this was a hustling office of industry.
The office was one with high ceilings inside of a commercial office building on 34th Street. I was high above the ground floor and in the quiet of a moment, I was absent from the rest of the building’s population to absorb a moment of silence and gain a sense of introspection. I was in a large room that was absent of decoration and sitting in a place which was now absent of people and vacated like a professional ghost town in an office-like setting.
This is part of my life (you know?).
This is part of my work-life atmosphere. I see people come and go. I see new people move in and old people move out. I see the loud and proud who swear their journey will lead them to the top of the heap yet I have been there to witness those who over-invested (or emotionally invested) and then are bankrupted due to the lack of a better business plan.
As I write this to you or explain this to anyone, I am sure this seems like a lot to think about during a simple commute. Yet, I say this knowing full well that we are all deep thinkers (relatively speaking).
I can recall some of my better days and better moments and I can think of the times where all was light and peaceful. I can think of all the times when I would grab a cup of coffee and take to the rooftops of tall buildings in the dead-center or middle of Midtown Manhattan.
I have been all over this city. I have seen places, both professionally and personally. I have watched the sun go down near the Downtown side and witnessed the sunrise on the Eastside, Uptown.
I have found my spots to seek a moment of silence. While facing east to notice the distance between me and my previous life, I’ve looked to notice how far I’ve come from eating frozen dinners on a television tray in a small apartment or sitting in the unfortunate midst of poor decisions and personal letdowns.
This is amazing to me and yet, this is equally frightening.
It is a long road which we all take and travel to find whatever it is we choose to call our destiny. Dare I say this because it’s true, we are always quick to complicate things with our biased thoughts or opinions. All too often, we are misled by our assumptions and subconsciously drawn to a self-propelled or self-induced fate. Then we ask ourselves, what the hell was I thinking?
Although this journal entry is less about food per se and more about the morning time rituals of coffee breaks and moments of self-examination, I will leave this here (with you) as a vision into the mind of someone hopeful, like a traveler, just hoping to find a place where I can call my own and build my spot beneath the sun.
It really gets you going.