8:19am – I’m lying on my side in bed, no glasses, with my phone inches from my face. I was playing the game of “is it late enough to wake up?” It isn’t. Lately it’s been hard to get enough sleep and hard to sleep in. Last week I left my job. I haven’t not had a day job since 2012 and I am trying to transition back into running my own life.
8:34am – A guy I knew in college just sent me a friend request. He is, like, a normal person and has a normal wife and they seem normal. I wonder if I am normal or not so I look at a few of my own profile photos. I decide that I’m “New York normal” which is a little edgier but otherwise pretty boring.
8:29am – I check my Instagram.
9:05am – At the gym, I realized my iPod has an old sleep playlist instead of my gym one? I skip through Casa Del Mirto and Owen Pallett for a few minutes then give up and listen to a Linkin Park / Jessie J mashup on my phone.
The goal is always to sweat X number of calories, where X equals either a specific treat I did eat or will eat, or a round number. It’s sort of like pumping gas, the ultimate victory here is perfect miles ran and calories burned. I hit 3.09 miles and 502 calories so I lose.
10:22am – The second bedroom of our apartment is a workspace/living room, with a long desk on one side. I bought separate tabletops from IKEA and used an industrial-strength epoxy to bond them. Every part of our new joint venture has been optimized for not making each other insane. We are both independent and put off moving in together for at least twelve rent checks too long, by city standards.
I look at Mitchell’s side of the desk, where he’s left an empty water glass (always). He’s stacked two pairs of his plugs in a little tower of alternating jade and a rosy stone that I bought him a long time ago. They were “too gay” until he started wearing them? Maybe moving in with your boyfriend of nearly 3 years officially makes you “too gay” and then it doesn’t matter anymore.
I’m drinking a french pressed garbage coffee because I used the garbage beans because we are nearly out of the good ones and I don’t really care about the difference.
10:30am – I check my Instagram.
10:50am – My friend Luke texts me about an instagram post I made to “celebrate” my book selling well in Brazil. Mostly I am celebrating my accomplishments to convince myself they are real, and to be like “hey another country cares about me please care about me.”
Luke wants to know if I’m rich now. I tell him that I haven’t been paid any royalties for anything and it’s been almost a year. His own book is coming out soon with a smaller publisher and his terms seem much easier to understand. I tell him that if I don’t get paid in the next two months I’m fucked.
11:00am – I walk to the post office with a blue IKEA bag over my shoulder. I drop off orders from my online shop about once a week. I started selling little art products while still living in Baltimore, where I’d bike to a post office with 5 or 6 packages at a time. Since arriving in New York I’ve never lived more than a block away from a post office.
Brooklyn USPS locations I have conveniently and coincidentally lived by:
Williamsburg (South 4th & Marcy): It can be sort of awful but I’ve made friends with many of the clerks. Tanya is a perfect human being. She is so proud of me now, she remembers when I didn’t have a postage printer yet. I have a PO box here. It used to be rented by a guy who writes for music publications. I would get promo copies of metal albums. His name is Fred or Frank.
Greenpoint (Meserole & Guernsey): This one is really small. An old lady who works here is mean to everyone. She is specifically mentioned in reviews I saw online. I only lived here for about a month. Long story.
Bushwick (Broadway & Gates): The mail drop off slot is smaller, and the bins they leave on the other side are smaller than Williamsburg. My mail usually fills them and I have to wiggle the last pacakges through and try to knock the pile over. Counter service here kind of sucks.
11:23am – I still haven’t had breakfast but I have just read about floating, which seems insane. I want to try it. Now that I am job free I feel like I can do anything, including float alone in a scary pod.
11:32am – I booked a floating appointment.
11:59am – I’m roasting tomatoes and brussels sprouts in the oven. We don’t cook that often but we cook a lot of breakfasts: eggs, toast, salads, vegetables, yogurt, sometimes something sweet but usually not. I learned to cook bacon which isn’t hard but I didn’t grow up with it so it’s just a novelty to me. Today we have goat milk brie that I bought on a whim. I buy a lot of things on whims. Generally if I have to really think about an unnecessary purchase I can talk myself out of it. Two weeks ago at the Nike store a sales clerk told me he could order my size for me and I declined, because it “won’t be spontaneous.”
It’s important to time the cooking of eggs to the oven countdown so both are ready at once. In a perfect world the eggs are just finishing to cook, you turn the burner off a minute early because they’ll finish up with just the heat of the pan and you don’t want your eggs cooked too hard because then they’re not even eggs they’re like a spongey protein brick.
Mitchell is putting away his laundry and walking around in his underwear which is very cute to me. He is the cutest human in the world to me especially when he sleeps, which he does a lot of after I’m already awake. Last night he was snoring very softly but I thought it was drilling from downstairs. I made a mental note not to bring it up, then immediately brought it up.
12:30pm – I check my Instagram.
12:42pm – I check my Instagram.
12:59pm – I’m watching Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp on Netflix. A notification reminds me that today is the birthday party for a now ex-coworker. I debate whether or not to go but I decide it would be good to help cement some potentially-legitimate friendships with people I liked working with.
1:00pm – I check my Instagram.
2:30pm – The J/M trains aren’t running across the bridge so we’re going backwards to Broadway Junction to take the L. The party is vaguely childhood-themed, which is the easiest theme for me to get behind. I put together a loot bag of Oriental Trading toys and candy and balloons and a sparkley party horn, in one of those little plastic bags with handles. I have all of these in my apartment already.
3:24pm – At a deli on Avenue C & 11th, I buy a glass bottle of lemon seltzer so I can hold something and feel special. Mitchell buys a ginger ale and an ice cream sandwich, which is unlike him but endearing.
3:36pm – We’re on a patio, with a kiddie pool and a keg of wine. I didn’t know they make wine kegs. I’m talking to old coworkers about moving on and also jokes. It feels like I am at a party. I think about how few parties I go to anymore. We talk about what nights of the week people go out on. I volunteer that Tuesdays are my favorite, but I don’t drink anymore so what do I know? My favorite night is every night because every night is exactly the same.
4:41pm – I check my Instagram.
4:43pm – I check my Instagram.
4:44pm – I check my Instagram.
4:45pm – Mitchell left to go to work a while ago. It seems obvious that I’ve run out of things to say, so I slip out.
Another party guest catches me outside and asks if he can walk with me. He came with his boyfriend, who stayed. I ask how long they’ve been dating, knowing that it can’t have been long but acting like it could have been. It’s been two weeks. We agree that first dates are kind of amazing, whether they’re good or bad, because there’s always going to be a story and something to walk away with.
We talk about not drinking anymore and what’s left, socially. He is on his way to his first AA meeting, to support at friend. It seems like it’s also for him but I decide not to push it. We talk in circles about making choices that feel healthy, and sober decisions at the end of a night. He replies to a lot of my statements with “100 percent” which I take as a sign to stop talking. I get to the train and we have an awkward goodbye. I feel like I will never see him again most likely.
5:10pm – I took the L train back to Brooklyn and got off at Bedford Avenue because I hate myself I guess? I’m trying to stay near the L to go to another party later because if I go home I’ll definitely skip it. I walk towards the movie theater.
5:20pm – I’m sitting alone at Williamsburg Cinemas with a bag of popcorn but no drink because both items are a ripoff so I need to prioritize. I remember someone specifically saying not to see Trainwreck alone because it’s a “laugh with someone else” kind of movie. I decide I can laugh all by myself. A stranger next to me is joking about surprise appearances from celebrities nobody cares about at “media company” offices on a near-daily basis, and having to prioritize who you want a selfie with. In the past nine months I have taken one selfie.
5:21pm – I check my Instagram.
7:45pm – The movie was very cute and funny. I like Amy Schumer a lot but I feel like her show drags on sometimes. This seemed like a perfect fit. It’s not a “zen” kind of movie but I feel very “chill” and “zen” and I decide I will skip the thing I was stalling for in the interest of self-care.
I’m so dumb and gross I just want to go eat at Mitchell’s work and sit there like a dumb gross creep who eats at a restaurant when their person that they love is working. I’m that guy.
7:51pm – There is a truly bad busker performing on the Bedford Ave platform right now. It sounds like dropping a frying pan. If you want people to give you money you need to try harder. Playing recognizable music isn’t everyone’s thing but I gave a guy ten bucks once for playing a Death Cab For Cutie song.
8:02pm – I check my Instagram.
8:08pm – MoMo Sushi Shack is surprisingly busy and the communal tables are nearly full. I am sitting alone at the end of a large party with an odd number. I turn up the gay a little and apologize for being, like, “soooo awkward!”
Two people over, a girl laughs. “You know what’s really awkward? I’m obsessed with you and your boyfriend and I follow you both on instagram!” This doesn’t make me feel awkward at all because it’s the internet and we are all on it. I have been getting recognized in places more lately. It used to happen and then it stopped and now it’s back. I feel very not-alone for someone who is eating alone. It’s sort of incredible how the internet means you’re never alone even though we’re all probably more alone than we would be without it.
8:23pm – I check my Instagram.
8:27pm – I tweeted a joke that mentions my boyfriend so people know that I am capable of being loved by another human being.
This whole meal has been a surprise. The only thing I specifically asked for is brown rice tea and a hand roll. Instead I get this delicious crunchy root thing, followed by some thin sliced fish with jalepeno slices, salmon tartare, and six pieces of sashimi that are more beautiful than I deserve. I tell my waiter/boyfriend that the sashimi is more beautiful than I deserve. He agrees.
8:59pm – I could walk four blocks and be 3 stops from home, or take two trains 8 stops, so I choose the not-walking. Partly because I feel lazy, and part because Mitchell saw a man shot in his car on that walk recently so we both try to avoid it. Normally I’d take an eight dollar cab ride but I’m trying to live like a person who doesn’t have a day job now and it’s very important for me to un-learn that luxury.
9:15pm – I check my Instagram.
9:53pm – It’s Saturday night and I’m at my desk importing contacts for an email newsletter and drinking my second quart-sized seltzer of the day. This one is “cucumber melon” flavor. It’s okay but I won’t buy it again.
10:13pm – I check my Instagram.
10:43pm – I take a break from the computer to do the same thing on my phone. I silently reblog a funny tumblr post and write “screaming” as the caption.
11:11pm – It’s 11:11pm so I make a wish. I make a lot of wishes on eleven-elevens. I make a lot of wishes in general on all sorts of things, like throwing pennies into fountains and letting balloons go.
11:21pm – I smoke a cigarette on the fire escape and watch a few people walking around. It’s quiet but it’s still early. I never really go out for late nights anymore. I stopped drinking, I quit weed, I tried everything else I wanted to try. I barely smoke but sometimes I sneak Mitchell’s cigarettes so I can have at least one thing that’s self destructive and a little spacey.
It’s weird to be a tiny person on a fire escape of a big building on one street in one neighborhood. This city makes you feel very small and like you don’t exist and it feels more obvious when you’re documenting your day. Three kids with backpacks just ran downstairs and their mom is calling after them. I came here to disappear and in a lot of ways I’ve succeeded.
11:28pm – I check my Instagram.
1:03am – I take a melatonin tablet (3mg).
1:04am – I check my Instagram.