Wednesday, October 21, 2009

notes on a period of more or less twelve hours

Tuesday, midnight. Can’t sleep. It could be that we’re sleeping on the floor and the sheet beneath me is moving too much and the pillow is moving as well, having the whole floor to explore and discover.

We’re actually in a pleasant enough building – a quarter of a block from Union Square. One of these:


We are in a partial basement. In the morning, I see high heels walk by in front of the window.

But really, I am not hugely uncomfortable. I do not need fluff and comfort to sleep. But I need a calm mind.

My thoughts are running through the day’s proceeding. If Ed is experiencing them on an intellectual level, I am on that and ten others. At midnight, there on the floor of a building on east 17th, they’re all clamoring to be heard.

At some predawn hour I finally doze. I tell myself that this is only the second night of no sleep. I can usually take up to three before I break down.

In the morning, Ed and I have some free time. The trial is full of interruptions due to events that suddenly call away this person or that. Amazing, really.

But we don’t really have free time. Not free as in free. Free as in Ed doesn’t have to be in court until past noon.

We walk out and take note of the Union Square market. Manhattan’s big-time farmers market. Not more abundant than the one in Madison. But bigger in the urban sense: each stall is large and the buildings in the background are big and the people – well, they’re not big, they’re just you and me only wonderfully less monochromatic and less frumpy.







We stroll through the market briefly and I remind Ed that I really would like a morning coffee. We go to Starbucks, but I see that he is worried. The small wait at Starbucks pushes him to an impatient restlessness that I never see back in Madison.

On now to Filene’s Basement. Ed needs shirts. His one shirt wont do for the weeks of trial, and I don’t care how good the radiator is for drying purposes, it’s not the same.

We pick shirts that are under $20. Ties? No. He has one that he bought ten years ago. Still has the price tag on it. $3.99. Will do. [Wince]

And now there is a short bit of morning left. Ed wants to head down to the NY Supreme Court to do some research on previous cases implicating some of these same players.

We do that. The basement, where the records and files are kept, is an amazing place. Rough, shoddy even. But with character. Of the people – from all wakes of life.

But we have to hurry. It’s noon. Ed’s case resumes at 12:15. My flight leaves at 2:29. We head toward the proper court building. Ed's good in his new shirt, funeral suit and never worn tie, even as I may have played a little with the colors and textures, given the chance. But, to me, he also looks amazingly vulnerable. Wishing to be maybe closer to Lake Mendota than to the Verrazano Narrows and the Atlantic Ocean.


I rejoin the trial, but only for a small handful of minutes. I tell myself – I know where this is heading. I know the legal arguments. There will be no surprises. Still…

But, I have a job. Two jobs in fact. By 1 I am hailing a cab. Over the Brooklyn Bridge we go.

By 1:45, I know that I will not make my flight. The cabbie wants to cut the traffic by exiting the freeway. Mistake. We are out of luck. I am out of luck. I should be at La Guardia. Instead, I am somewhere here…


More manipulations that add dollars to the meter, but cut away travel minutes. At 2, he pulls up to the Delta terminal. By 2:15 I am on the plane, ready to head home.

I have work for school and I have to work tonight at the little shop. But right now, on this dinker of a plane, I cannot work. I am just tired. I ask the attendant for a blanket. For a long long time, I sit, wrapped in it, wanting to get warm inside and out.