New York 11 – This Is The Beautiful Thing
The first picture is of my wife, Christine, standing in a subway car somewhere under Manhattan. She is the only reason we are not lost. Left to me, we’d get on the wrong train and end up in some decrepit borough where I would have to get a job washing towels for gangsters at a Russian steam-room. The Russians have some good food, but I don’t know if my heart could take the cholesterol.
Sometimes I miss her, even during my daily life with her because I get walled-off in my own thoughts: food, politics, art, ambition, self-loathing. Foolishness. Much foolishness. So as I am driving her to work I will say, “Man, I miss you.” And she’ll say, “I miss you, too. Let’s go get tacos this morning. I can be late a little bit.”
I can’t help it. She makes me feel like I matter. I think that a lot of people who seek power, fame or fortune do so because they want to feel the way I do when Christine touches my hand when we are at the movies.
My family thinks I am a fool. They talk to me sometimes as if I am a different species – one rung below normal, useful people. One rung below respect. It makes me defensive and uneasy. It breaks my heart, I admit it. But in a way, I don’t blame them at all. They are successful and smart and wealthy and I am not. They make things and build things and tell people what to do. I am told what to do. I draw cartoon boners that no-one ever sees. I write poetry no-one ever reads. Part of me is foolish and the view they get of me is just the foolish view. Maybe that’s my fault or maybe every family needs a fool and I just got the gig.
Sometimes I am sad because at some point, as she gets older, my little niece will also see the foolish view that her parents see. For now I am the cool, goofy uncle but soon I will be the weird, foolish uncle. And once someone thinks you’re a fool, there is no redemption. There is no going back. Foolishness is chronic and incurable. Everybody knows that.
The second picture is a man lost in his thoughts. The train was loud so I couldn’t hear his voice when he spoke to his traveling companions. I really wanted to know what he sounded like.
The last picture is some feet saying hello to the subway train during a New York winter.
I miss her, my wife. Maybe we’ll get tacos tomorrow morning. I’ll bet we will.
Text and Images © Andrew Auten – All Rights Reserved