By Paul Ford
Feeling all nervous like, trying to calm down, chest and heart and so on.
I spent some time wondering about my last girlfriend, with my hand resting on the phone. It took me a minute to remember her
number. I dialed, and the answering machine picked up. I heard her voice and a series of beeps, then hung up. Even if she's
found someone new, even if she had no desire to hear from me, it would have been better to speak to her for an awkward minute
than to sit here in silence, staring at the pile of trash I've swept together at the center of my floor.
Today on the Ftrain, coming home, a woman in sandals rubbed her foot against mine. She had deep olive skin and black hair,
and large black eyes. She kept at it for more than a minute, while we were under the East River. She was seated; I stood in
front of her with my hand braced on the railing. The tip of her sandal shifted back and forth across the side of my black
shoe, a repeating stroke. I looked straight forward, wondering if she knew she was touching me, wondering why she was. I wore
a brown shirt buttoned to the neck and left untucked over blue jeans. In a moment it stopped, and four stops later I got off
the train without meeting her eyes.
What I want is a secular visitation, angels with sans serif wings, to swing down and sing to me, and for them to bring me
a lover who can envision me a year or two from now, when the great purges and plans have had time to take effect, a lover
who can afford to wait. But who can afford to wait?
Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some
There is a Facebook group.
You will regret following me on Twitter here.
About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit
things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.
If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am
glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.
: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
© 1974-2011 Paul Ford
Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose.
As a hobby I write.
Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out.
Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley.
Welcome to the Company.
“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”.
Forgot to tell you about this.
“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
An essay for TheMorningNews.org.
People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.
Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford.
Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford.
Nanolaw with Daughter.
Why privacy mattered.
0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford.
It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so
that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So:
Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand
below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every
Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came
unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...)
That Shaggy Feeling.
Antilunchism, by Paul Ford.
Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford.
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford.
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and
the historical fallacy.
The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar.
(1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie.