i have developed my brand successfully enough that a friend sent me a link to a times piece about a rescued swan that was spirited to the bird hospital via bike, subway, ikea bag, and so on by another friend. longtime readers, and that would be all of you, i imagine, might remember my mentioning a favorite from said hospital a while back; that would be her, the teal-plumed virago i've known for most of the years i've headed uptown to my pigeon basement. since i haven't been there since february, i didn't know until reading that piece that she's left the staff to do something else (officially, at least, since she's clearly still muscling birds across town); that's the kind of news you end up acknowledging you're glad to have received at a distance, as you can't say with any confidence what your face might have done if you'd heard it in person.

volunteer friends at my bookstore, in turn, had been making noise about getting together for the past several weeks (the store has been closed since mid-march and shows ominous signs of being closed for good; that's another story), and none of us had contact information for A, a septuagenarian english UN lifer who lives out on roosevelt island and feeds me books like siegfried sassoon's memoirs of a fox-hunting man. no one was sure of his last name, even; why would we need to be sure of each other's last names when we all knew precisely where we'd coincide every week? someone had the vague idea that another former fellow volunteer might have his email address, but i decided that wasn't good enough and started digging around in old gothamist threads on posts about roosevelt island for commenters who sounded like him and shared his name. eventually i found one that began with Bunk! and sounded appropriately tetchy, so i cross-referenced the last name i found there with some neighborhood directories i found at another site, found a couple of phone numbers listed with an address on the island, then called one: alors, there was A's unmistakable accent in my ear! it's so lovely to catch up with you, i sang, i've read so many dreadful books since we saw each other last! (talking about books you've cherished is marvelous, but talking about the rotters is even better.) A and his wife have mostly retreated to their home up in ulster county and he wasn't able to come down for the first confluence of volunteers at a garden near nyu last week, but i did see V, who brought along the just-published german hardcover of her memoir about running a cinema on virgin gorda in the '70s and was very patient when we all insisted she pose at length with it. we'll coincide again soon, though we're going to have to do it at someplace like a museum; while it's temperate to the point of being uncomfortably warm indoors today, the city is conceding the season soon.


my friend F, a restaurant critic i met at a chef's dinner on a press trip in orlando years ago who told me that same night that his daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer and a car had crashed through the front wall of his house, just texted and said he'd been assigned to be my emotional support canadian and i cried all over my big stupid phone.


i'll be getting up in about five hours to shower and head across the street for my day of work at the polls. i was assigned a "relief" position, which...means i get there first thing and then wait for people to get tired, i guess? i am imagining and hoping that i'll just get sent out to keep an eye on the line outside until someone needs me, as this shift is something like 250% as long as the tribeca film festival volunteer stints that occasionally made me feel like i had actually left my idling body, but we will see what we will see. i have already voted, and i feel good about running back across the street to grab extra clothing and, like, a sandwich, so i'm not going to pack my old tote like i'm heading off to summer camp.

i finished as much of the work-work i have to do for the next few days as i could, at least for tonight, so that anxiety has receded and let the naked moonlit political fear roll up my shore like a dead leviathan. god, how it smells.