Cord Jefferson is a writer in Brooklyn.
8:23 AM, bed – An annoying thing about me is that I can’t fall back asleep once I wake up. Regardless of how tired I am, the moment I’m awake my brain is off to the races with thoughts of all the things I could/should be doing with my time besides lying around in bed. And so despite the fact that I went to sleep only four hours earlier, I wake up at 8:03 and go for a walk.
8:48 AM, Union Ave. – It’s a gray morning and droplets of rain fall inconsistently from the sky. It’s good weather in which to be tired and a little hungover. The night before I went from having beers at my office to Negronis at a birthday party to, finally, champagne from a juice glass on a rooftop in Brooklyn. I feel airy. A friend of mine from college, Chad, used to call it “post-drunk euphoria.” Chad converted to Mormonism after we graduated and I haven’t talked to him since. I think of him often. A mutual friend of ours told me Chad now works in finance and has gone bald.
9:10 AM, some café – I stop for an iced coffee in a café I’ve never tried about 10 minutes from my apartment. It costs $2.50, the cheapest price I’ve seen for iced coffee in a while. The erratic cold brew pricing in Brooklyn irritates me. Sometimes it’s $2, sometimes it’s $4.50. Everyone should agree to charge $3. That seems fair.
9:26 AM, Aden Gourmet Deli – At the best bodega on my block I get the usual: egg whites, tomatoes, onions, and feta on a whole wheat wrap. There’s a gaming machine in the bodega into which you can feed quarters in the hopes that your coin pushes others over an edge and into a winnings slot. It’s probably illegal and nearly impossible to win anything. After I place my order I turn to see a teenager screaming that the game “cheated” and demanding the clerk give him his dollar back. They go back and forth for a few minutes before the clerk acquiesces. “Never come in here again,” he says to the boy as he hands over the bill. After the boy leaves, a bystander from the neighborhood says, “I seen that kid yelling at his mom just the other day. He was saying the f-word at her. He’s gonna have to learn to be a good kid, or he’s gonna end up in jail. And he’s gonna be somebody’s bitch in there.”
9:45 AM, bed – I sit in bed and eat my wrap and watch the pilot episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. A friend recently told me that eating in bed was sacrilege where she came from, but I do it all the time. In fact, I try to do as much as possible in bed–eating, writing, talking on the phone. On lazy weekend mornings I’m like the grandparents in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
10:11 AM, bed – I go down for a nap and set my alarm for 12:08 PM. I have a weird thing about always setting my alarm for times that add up to 11–7:04, 9:20, etc.
12:08 PM, bedroom – After a couple hours of uneasy sleep I wake up and the nagging hits me again. “You lazy fucker!” screams my brain. “What are you doing with your life?” I get up and decide to clean my apartment. I collect all my laundry into a big duffel bag and wash the water glasses atop my dresser. I think about returning some emails to dispatch some digital clutter, but when I open my Gmail and see how many emails I need to send I’m overcome with anxiety and can’t bear to look at the screen.
1:14 PM, CG Laundromat – I haven’t done laundry in about three weeks and at the laundromat my bag weighs 27.6 pounds. They charge 90 cents a pound for fluff and fold, so rounding up the total is $25.20. Dropping off my laundry is a totally unnecessary luxury that I will never give up for as long as I live in a place without a washer-dryer.
1:22 PM, Soma Gym – At the gym I run three miles on a treadmill with a TV screen. My favorite thing to watch while I work out is Bizarre Foods–Andrew Zimmern’s got moxie–but it wasn’t on. Last week I spent a half hour on the elliptical watching Man v. Food, which is maybe like going to the dentist and watching a video of someone knocking out all their teeth with a hammer. The host ate a five pound cheeseburger. After the treadmill I lift some weights. I’m trying to get strong enough to bench press 225 pounds. I saw Kumail Nanjiani bench press 225 pounds at my old gym in L.A. once and I decided I was going to try and do it.
3:06 PM, Juice Generation – I leave the gym and go to Juice Generation on Bedford for a protein shake. I don’t eat meat and I’m going to need a lot of protein if I’m ever going to bench press 225 pounds. I get the Protein Buzz: hemp milk, whey protein, raspberries, bananas, and blueberries. Some Juice Generation smoothies come served in a coconut, as if a $9 smoothie isn’t obnoxious enough.
3:22 PM, McCarren Park – I call in an order for a vegan buffalo chicken sandwich from Champs Junior in Greenpoint. My apartment is out of their delivery range, which gives me an opportunity to walk through McCarren Park on what is objectively a lovely day. I don’t like to sit idly in parks or on beaches because I bore easily, but I don’t mind a brisk walk through everyone else sitting idly. I walk past what seems like dozens of picnics, an activity I’ve never found particularly appealing. Why eat outside when you can eat in bed?
4:05 PM, bed – I eat my sandwich and a salad while watching the second and third episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. When I’m done I consider taking another nap, but I decide to read. I’ve just started The Human Stain. I dog-ear the page on which he quotes Hawthorne to describe America’s “persecuting spirit.”
5:42 PM, bed – I’m supposed to meet a coworker, C, for drinks and we’ve both been bad about choosing a time and location. Finally I suggest OTB at 6:30. I take a shower and get dressed. Laundry day has limited my sartorial choices and I end up going with a very white outfit. It’s a risky move in a city this dirty and for a man with a great affinity for ketchup.
6:43 PM, OTB – C and I are both late, and then we don’t waste any time ordering. I get a glass of muscadet and C goes with a rosé. I realize I only like dry white wine anymore. Red wine just puts me to sleep, like drinking NyQuil from a fancy glass. When we start talking I realize that C is basically the only person I’ve spoken to in hours. I sort of enjoy going all day without talking to people–when I used to work at home I could go two or three days without saying anything to anyone–but I never know whether this is healthy.
6:50 PM, OTB – I forgot that there was a big horse race today and the whole bar goes nuts when it starts. I mostly don’t give a shit about sporting events, but damn if I don’t get goosebumps while watching the race. Good for the horse that won and the rich guy who owns him!
7:55 PM, OTB – We get a dozen oysters. “Aren’t you a vegetarian?” asks C. I explain that I am, but I give oysters a pass ever since reading this Slate article. The basic gist is that they don’t feel pain. I’ve explained this to a lot of my friends over the years. Now whenever we go to dinner, my friend A will point at things on the menu and say, “Do lobsters have feelings? Do scallops have feelings?”
8:55 PM, secret bar – On our way to a different bar, we duck into a new bar in my neighborhood that I love but am trying to keep under wraps. It is small and too many people will ruin it. If you know me text me and we’ll go.
9:25 PM, a bar whose name I don’t know – This bar is also new, but it’s massive, and nobody is dancing despite the huge dancefloor. An empty dancefloor is always so sad. I order a negroni and bump into my friends I and B. “I told the owner he should get a better DJ,” says I. “Then maybe some people will dance.” I go outside with C to peruse the big backyard. A man who says he’s one of the owners promptly apologizes for how dark it is and assures us they’re installing lights soon. I think the darkness is a feature, not a flaw, but I don’t tell him that.
10:22 PM, Knitting Factory – My friend A, in town from California, texts me and tells me to meet her at the Knitting Factory. We’re also meeting D, who is with friends H and T. D offers to buy a round and I ask for a margarita. There are so many of us she types our orders into her phone. The margarita ends up tasting like salty, boozy Gatorade. Don’t ever order a margarita at the Knitting Factory. That said, as soon as I finish my first one, I order a second. The group discusses podcasts and books and writers we like. Later I tell A, who I haven’t seen for months, how much her friendship means to me. I tell her she makes me feel at ease the way others don’t. I tell her we’re going to write a movie together, and she tells me we’re going to own a beach house in Malibu one day. I believe her.
1:16 AM, Driggs St. – I’m so tired I feel like falling asleep in the booth where we sit, and so I make my exit. On the walk home my other friend T texts me and tells me to meet him at a bar near my apartment. I figure one nightcap won’t hurt, but when I get to the bar he’s nowhere to be found.
1:25 AM, Aden Gourmet Deli – I pop in for a Swiss cheese sandwich that I house in the three minutes it takes me to walk the rest of the way home. The next morning I text T: “I went to that bar and didn’t see you.” T: “Oh. Things got kinda wild.”