I finally left the office at 1am, my scarf wet and smelling musty still from when I’d gotten stuck in the rain a few hours earlier—the first time I’d made it outside all day. My brain felt like it had been shaken up, turned upside down and emptied out onto the sidewalk. Which is a strange way to feel after you’ve spent over 14 hours cramming your head with information.
On the taxi ride home I started listening to the messages on my phone and then, abruptly stopped. We flew across the Manhattan Bridge, the wheels making the rushing noise cars make on wet cement, and my cab driver draped his incredibly long, slender fingers around the top of the passenger side seat, stretching out his arm. A friend told me recently he had a long conversation with his cab driver on the way to the airport and the man had appreciated being engaged. “No one ever talks to us,” he said. If I could have thought of one thing to say to the person driving me home I would have said it, but I had nothing. And besides maybe he, like me, appreciates it when strangers do him the favor of ignoring him.
At home, I did not pack for my trip to Georgia, and I did not do the dishes, and I did not even turn out the light in the kitchen. I just sat at the table and did more of what I’d already done for 14 hours at work—stared at my computer screen and read various things on the Internet. Which says something, I think, about the magnetism of the things you’re accustomed to, even if they bring you little to no satisfaction.