Trivial Mundanities. Such is the stuff of life. I am beginning to think that underlying much of Thomas Pynchon’s works is an attempt to demonstrate just how much of history is formulated by the forces of completely officially ignored and hidden aspects of existence—strange sexual encounters, anarchist theorems, smoke enshrouded pontificating into the night, etc.
Just to give you an example of the current T.M.s of my daily life: I left for work Friday at 12:06 midday in order to begin work at 2 in the afternoon. I then worked til 2:30 at night. I arrived at home, due to some mistakes in getting off at the wrong stations due to construction, etc, at 5:30 Saturday morning. I then again left for work that morning at 12:07, after waking up at 11:30. Blah blah blah. The point of this enumerating on timeliness is that work, in this (a)typical example of another crazy night in my life, can consume—inclusive of the transit time involved in getting to it—a grand total of 17 hours of a day in my life. That particular scenario left me with 6 hours of sleep, though in actuality it was more like 4-5, given the time I spent showering when I got home and the fitful type of sleep that was to be had.
That’s not much of a life outside of work, now, is it?
Just to give a few more T.M. laden tidbits subsequent to aforementioned Hell Night: I woke up, sort of, in the morning, stumbled creakingly into my clothes, fed my screaming parrot, ate a granola bar, brushed my teeth and washed my face, and made my way out to the street, hence towards 1) the shuttle bus to 2) the A train to 3) the E train to 4) the Q53 bus. It being a Saturday, the place wherein I work was slam packed with frantic consumers, and due to some problems we’d had with a fire at our frozen warehouse, our intranet ordering system failing, etc, the day was even crazier and more stressful than usual—and as always, compounded by the fact that I am still new and “learning the ropes” as a manager there. So I didn’t get a break to eat and sit down and drink water until 8 at night.
So I’m sitting here and it’s past 3 am in the quiet of the witching hours and I’m beyond exhausted. It’s my “Friday” however, meaning that I’m now into my weekend, which will consist mainly of sleep and attempts to pretend that I’m not going back to work again soon, very, very soon.
It’s funny that I have been for so long wishing to put the “car culture” of California behind me, and here I am, fulfilling my ambition, logging in my plentiful hours within the New York MTA system, breathing in its subterannean fumes. I spend most of that time reading my library books while listening to my MP3 player—which may have just died actually (I haven’t had to time to analyze the situation: does it just need to be hit, recharged, taken apart, plugged in, re-re-booted, etc? Or is it really, finally, after so many years, Dead?)—closing my eyes and attempting to relax/nap in the hard plastic seats of the subway while my head nods to and fro, or staring at a single point at the ground and trying to pretend that I don’t notice the weird dude who insists upon starting blatantly at me as if I’m some kind of anomaly that does not compute.
The trains late night can really lead to existential crises; you will find yourself sitting in a murky, decaying waterlogged station, the tiles splotched with grime, a vomit spill projecting on the ground in front of the puritanically designed hard wood row of seats, a midget with a black cap and a dragon embroidered denim jacket asking you if you speak Spanish and then saying something completely nonsensical to you in any language, a number of high pitched alarms ringing just slightly off time from each other for some reason that is unknown and obviously unimportant. You sit and wait, and wait, and wait. This could be hell. Trains in other tunnels rumble unseen on their way to somewhere else. Men in hardhats, doo-rags, and florescent vests walk about the station and wave flashlights. A rat mama and her baby scuttle across the tracks. Trash scatters everywhere, so ubiquitous it is unseen.
You get onto a train, finally, and random people of the night settle and are settled into states of disarray, disheveled post party/event states, bodies splayed at awkward ankles, heads nodding, a besotted woman guffawing at her partner’s slurred unfunny statements, an old man across from you pressing his head into the corner of the wall—you think at first that he is crying, and then you grasp the darker truth—his nose is pouring—literally pouring—out snot, and it is dripping down onto the seat, and he is embarrassed, attempting to hide it, trying to flick it over as it pools onto the seat with his finger into the crevice on the side. You pretend that you do not see what is transpiring.
Another man hacks up sputum and spits loudly onto the floor of the train. He stares belligerently at a man wearing an MTA uniform and hat. He spits a number of times more, to make it clear that he is spitting to make a point. He shakes, perhaps with delirium tremens, or in some state of spiritual dishevelment. He is dirty, he has bags of probably useless objects. He is talking to himself, complaining incessantly. Apparently, he has fallen asleep and missed his stop long ago, and blames the MTA system for making him miss his stop. He stares at the man across from him in MTA clothes and shakes, and spits audibly, and then continues to complain. To whom? Is it the Train Gods that he rails against? The forces of the ominous sounding Metropolitan Authority? People in the train pretend that this is not occurring, that they notice nothing, though they see everything.
Ah, the trivial mundanities of my existence.