Some exciting news today: I am feeling marginally better, and now have a cell phone in my possession. Not that I broke down and stole one, but rather my own was delivered, and I am now once more a member of the modern world. It’s fat, heavy, a pleasing combination of glossy black and brushed steel panels, and only has the capacity to text or act like a phone. None of this underwater radiation sensor equipment or whatever for me. Back to basics.

Getting to work was moderately miserable today, until I realized I was partaking in a quintessential NYC experience and lightened up and began gazing energetically about. At one point I tried to get onto an overcrowded train, and failed to do so. The doors parted, and I stared at the bulging backs and sides of people already sardined into the train’s interior, and saw there was no way I could get in. I stepped back, waited five minutes, and another one showed up. As the doors slid open, I felt a surprising rush of animosity against the people suddenly revealed within, and realized that their very anonymity had caused me to displace my annoyance against the lost turgid lot onto this new batch.

Riding home the other day, I saw ten people seated next to each other down the length of the train’s side, all of them with their heads inclined, asleep. It was as if nerve gas had been released in a very localized way, and knocked out these complete strangers, causing them to assume postures that suddenly made them look like mere variations on a theme.

A woman got out of her cab in a particularly forceful way this morning as I rushed to the subway entrance. She shoved open the door, and then thrust out her closed umbrella. Just before it began to open, she whipped it up like an army salute, and it blossomed into its canopy at just the right place and time, directly over her as she emerged with business-like snappiness. I was taken by how skillfully she had caused her umbrella to navigate the straits formed between door and door jamb; how the umbrella had opened up with a whoomp just as it cleared the narrows that would have tangled it.

I finished Spook Country last night, and didn’t find it as engaging or satisfying as Pattern Recognition. How’s that for a succinct book review? A relative statement that doesn’t really say much of anything. I’m halfway through Venus in Furs, and am enjoying it tremendously. An erudite and well written paean to open honesty of Dionysian love, to Grecian carnality. Fun. Before Spook Country I read – what did I read? Something else, though it escapes me now.