25 Feb 98

A Day

My schedule, 25-FEB-98 -- 27-FEB-98:

Wednesday, from 10 AM to 6:30 PM: Work.

Wednesday Night, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM: F Train Home.

Wednesday Night, from 7:30 PM to 10 PM: Personal hygeine, answering email, writing, dinner.

Wednesday Night, from 10 PM to 11 PM: F Train back to work.

Wednesday Night, from Midnight to 8 AM: Work.

Thursday, 8 AM to 6 PM: Work.

Thursday, 6 AM to 7 PM: Dinner at La Carridad with Eli. Plantains!

Thursday Night, 7 PM to 6 AM: Walk to Ethical Culture Society. Get key from Madonna's doorman, across the street. He is reluctant to hand it to me. Open and prop door ECS door. Hand it back to the doorman. He yells at me a little. "Ry do ro nreed za key?"

Downstairs the social worker, who is waiting for the homeless women, greets me. I do not say, "why didn't you get off your big swampy ass and come open the door when I rang the bell for almost a full minute, so the miserable old doorman for Madonna's apartment building wouldn't give me shit in whatever unintelligibly crabby language he speaks?" I don't say anything. I get my green plastic bed, on its iron frame, and roll into the other room. I hate the social worker. I get DHS blanket, pillowcases, and blankets.

Then I sleep, in an empty room, waking a little at the entry and mopping noises made by the teenage janitor who won't say "hello" back to me when I try to be polite, so who cares if I'm asleep?

A woman cracks my door at 5:30 AM and yells out, in an angry voice, "please come sign the papers." I don't know why they're angry. Maybe because they're homeless. None of it involves me.

I yank on my jeans. I'm puffy with sleep as I trundle into their TV room, where I sign a triplicate bus manifest and write in my title as "volunteer." It's cold, and my feet had stuck out from the blankets, and now hurt a little. I shouldn't sleep barefoot.

Friday Morning, 6:30 AM: Head home on the train. I'm not going to work today. Shower furiously. Sleep, dawdle, answer phone calls.

At 2:30, I need to meet friends of a friend in the city, a mother and daughter, to show them the sights. I've never met either before, and they've never been to New York. I'm writing their name on a placard and holding it up, at Penn Station, for them to find. I'm not exactly native to the City. I hope these women are attractive. I hope they're not disappointed in me.




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 time.


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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 ford@ftrain.com 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.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

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...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

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. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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