They flutter into the garbage like snow flurries, except unlike New York snow, they don’t melt.
Neither do the stack of pads, three of which I save for writing important memos to my roommate (From the office of Subway Philosophy: $20 FOR ELECTRIC BILL – CLEAN UP YOUR COORS LIGHT CANS).
This was my first job out of college. So long, I’m moving on. And maybe the age thing, a personal issue of mine, freaks me out. Maybe the fact that I’m starting to write my own living will and I want a Roth IRA is unhealthy.
“You’re only 23?” the new woman asks, eying my window over Madison Avenue, squinting at my job title. “You’re a baby!”
And it’s a hang-up, sure, when I end up on a date with an almost-thirty financial something something who lives in a one-bedroom-door-man building downtown. It’s a hang-up when I find myself drinking with my coworkers in their late 20s and 30s and they barely remember college. It’s a hang-up meeting with authors at my publishing house who expect an adult and meet me, little me, who may or may not have baby fat, and who certainly expected someone older than their grandchild.
“You’re an old soul,” the department assistant tells me, almost three years older, sorting the mail. Perhaps.
“You’re worldly,” says my friend, and I have no idea what that means.
I have always struggled with plot. Read my writing, it’s all there, the character development, the clever line breaks, the lexicographical flourish. But the plot just plods. When I was younger and shamefully able to throw rocks, I had excuses. I had barely lived, I reasoned. And I rested on that (most likely American idiomatic) phrase: You can only write what you know.
I knew nothing, it was true.
“Worldly?” I ask, “You mean I have insurance?”
You mean I made it through so much death in so few months, all of that drinking, half of the drugs, and that devastating break-up that most likely rendered me unable to properly dream? Was it Europe? Was it those mushrooms? The blood work? The cancer scare? The other cancer scare? The board meetings? The law student? The subway? The sex in the dark with my leg twisted and throbbing? The ex-co-worker who bit my lip in the storage closet with all of the books? The silence? The car alarms? The day I decided to quit biting my nails?
I will never read most of these books. I will messenger a box to my apartment and stack them on my overflowing shelves and pray they don’t crush my red wine glasses.
My roommate will spill beer on the pads.
The 200 pristine business cards will be shredded with documents and magazines and bank account numbers and will soon be recycled into a green birthday card just one year older and no, maybe not wiser at all.