August 2017


In Boston Common, I saw a woman in a pale peach dress drinking a tallboy Redbull with headphones in, and a facial expression somewhere between horror and eating something very sour.

Further on, near the Bon Me truck, I saw two fat children drawing with colored chalk on the ground, which I’d forgotten kids do. One drawing was a beach scene, and another was a sunflower with the manhole cap as the center of the flower.

At Gracenote, a standing-room-only espresso bar, the men ahead of me were having a debate with the barista about what is more important, water or coffee. Water, said the Australian barista, in disbelief. Apparently he’d known this customer, a short Indian guy, for five years. “Okay, what about water or sleep?” the Indian guy countered. He was on the side of sleep. Even after someone pointed out that without water you would die, that you would die sooner without water than without the equivalent length of time of sleep deprivation, the Indian guy did not seem convinced. “Yeah, but you’d want to kill yourself,” he said.

At Sweetgreen, where a Thai Watermelon salad costs $9.60 before tax, the bathroom code is “1 through 8,” the cashier told me. “Like, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.” I’ve never seen anything like it.


My optometrist is Dr. C. at Warby Parker, and I saw her today for an eye exam. She was wearing a spaghetti strap black silk dress, a structural gold pendant necklace, and furry slippers. She asked me to look at one of her ears and then the other as she used a prism thing to shine a bright bar of light into my eye, and then to cover one of my eyes and then the other, and finally to do my favorite part, “One, or two?” She went up to 10 and then went back to 1. She occasionally prefaced the number with “the,” as in, “The five, or the six?” At least that’s what it sounded like.

Occasionally, she would ask very leading questions, and sometimes even make leading statements. “That’s much clearer, isn’t it?” or her favorites, “Pretty close!” and “Not that different!” As in: “The five, or the six? Pretty close!” She’d declare this before I’d even had a chance to weigh in, and a few times, I had the awkward task of disagreeing with her about what I saw. Same went for the red versus green, “which letters are clearer” question, which was new to me. “The green, right?” she said at one point. I hesitated. “I don’t know,” I said. “The red is pretty clear, too.” She tinkered with something. “How about now? Now definitely the green, right?”

“Um…they’re still about the same, I think.”

She told me, very casually in passing, that I was right eye dominant. I said, actually, I think I’m left eye dominant. She seemed confused as to why my left eye had gotten marginally worse, and I said, well, sometimes when I’m reading things up close, I only read using my left eye. I demonstrated this, holding my left eye open and squeezing the right one shut, as if I were looking through a telescope. She looked comically incredulous and exasperated, as if to say -- well, come on now!

Then, more seriously, she said that she hoped I was following the 20-20 rule. She said this like of course I should know what the 20-20 rule was. It was: every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds, at something at least 20 feet away. It really had to be at least 20 feet, she said, in order to give my eyes a break.

After this was over, I crossed over into the glasses store and ordered a pair of glasses that look almost identical to the glasses I own now.

Dad has a cold. Last Tuesday through Saturday, he was in Vancouver, and Saturday on his flight back, he was so cold that he almost took down his suitcase and pulled out something warmer to wear. Almost, but didn’t. “Didn’t they have blankets?” I asked. He said no, and he didn’t ask for one. Then on Sunday, he was on a boat all day with friends out at Moraine State Park, fishing, which they had planned for a long time. Then they went to someone’s house and cooked all the fish. Dad said he caught the most -- four, and he threw one back. He said he also caught the largest one. The fish were all white fish and tender, but four different types. He named them all, and I forgot them all. I don’t see how they could have been certain of the types.


Winter Street turns into Summer Street. That’s a fact about Downtown Crossing I learned while Googling a coffee shop on the toilet just now.


We are in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts off 302, in Maine. This weekend is Nana Games. It’s her 90th birthday, so this is a big one. Right now it is raining, and it is supposed to rain all day. At the last minute I brought a pair of Smart Wool socks, and now I think I’m going to have to wear the same pair of socks all weekend.

Tomorrow there will be another white supremacist rally, this time in Boston.

Taylor Swift won her counter lawsuit against the DJ who groped her back in 2013. He’d sued her for causing him to lose his job, and she’d counter-sued him for $1 to make a statement. She had many great lines from the cross-examination, which made me very proud of her. For example, when the lawyer asked why the front of her skirt wasn’t riding up in the picture if he had truly been grabbing her ass, she replied, “Because my ass is located in the back of my body.” When he dared to ask how she felt about causing the DJ to lose his job, she said something like, “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t. I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine.”

She might be one of the few women in the world who can actually take a stand like this. She’s famous, she’s already rich, and people like her. And he sued her, not the other way around. Counter-suing for just $1 was a brilliant move.


Today is eclipse day. I saw a partial eclipse at 2:45PM from the bridge near the West End. The sun looked like a slice of moon, but instead of side to side it was top to bottom, like a little mouth had eaten a black mouthful from underneath. I looked at it for about ten seconds in total with my Warby Parker eclipse sunglasses, then felt a little lightheaded. I wonder if I have eye damage. My new glasses (real glasses) arrived in the mail, and as usual I hate them. I need to take them in to get adjusted and see if that will make them any better, but right now I am too unmotivated.

In the building next door, where we get packages delivered, there lives a Chinese man in a wheelchair. He has a young daughter, maybe eight or nine years old, who wheels him around. One time she was pushing him from the lobby through the two sets of front doors, and I followed behind them to exit, and he gently chastised her for blocking my way and had her move him aside so that I could pass through.


Cooking linguini from Trader Joe’s, and the instructions are so frantic. Cook for eight minutes: okay, fine. But then, dump in a cup of cold water to stop the cooking process. Then drain immediately. Then mix with sauce immediately. Then serve right away. It’s like, relax, Trader Giotto. It will be okay.


I am halfway done with research. This morning the first email I read was a rejection of my other abstract. That means I am zero for two as far as abstracts go. That is the summation of my research experience thus far, aside from one other project.

Today I went to the dentist and found out I have a small cavity, lower right. Also there’s an area on the lower left that we’re watching with imaging, yearly x-rays. R. was my tooth cleaner today. I can’t tell if he is really good or really bad. He holds that pointy instrument and then just hovers it over my tooth like he is trying to decide how it should be used. But then he gets very tenacious scraping away at my root. At the end, he said, “I figured out you don’t like things touching your neck!” My neck had been tickled by the end of a string of floss and also by the napkin bib, and I was like, yeah, I’m really ticklish. “Yeah, I noticed!” he said, sounding happy and proud. We had a good laugh over my ticklish neck issue.

After I went home I was sad about my cavity and all like “why me??!” as I reached for the chocolate covered pretzels. After I realized the irony of this I was pleased but ate the pretzels anyway. I think seltzer is the real culprit here. I’ve been drinking seltzer like I’m addicted to it.

J., one of the PAs, explained Game of Thrones to me in clinic today. He told me he sometimes refers to Daenerys as “Denise.”


I thought I was cool enough to work outside at Tatte, at one of the wooden picnic tables. But it turns out I am not, I’m too afraid of a bird pooping on me, or worse, my laptop.



September 2017

July 2017