NYC Journal #28 – Pill Splitter & Ariel Wine – Thursdays 3/18 & 3/25/2021
Today is Thursday again. Last Thursday we got the Naltrexone and on the walk home stopped into a Walgreens for a pill splitter. A woman appeared, head first out a double-ways-swinging floppy gray plastic door. “Where are the pill splitters?” “What?” “Pill splitters — to cut a pill in half.” “We don’t carry those. Target has those.” We didn’t believe her, but decided that Walgreens had run its course and walked out the folding glass doors, crossed stately Court Street and walked along wide Atlantic Ave, talking to ourselves.
“That was a lie. She just wanted to get rid of us. What’s the piece we’re missing? What’s the thing that we haven’t thought of that will give us money and allow us space to grow? We’ve tried cards, T-shirts, we’ve written a couple books, and now the soap. Maybe we need to figure out the soap. Maybe that’s the fulcrum that will allow us to roll the world. But what does the soap need?”
People walked around us. The sun was still up and the sky clear blue. We were comfy in a sweater and windbreaker. We barreled down the wide graying sidewalk until flowing up into the Atlantic Terminal Mall, whose escalator knows the way to Target.
Near the entrance stand two young people, somewhere in their twenties. The girl is pretty, like a tall, thin, pale owl with dark crinkling hair long and certain trailing behind. She peers over with a look of interest as you begin to query, but then her beautiful full lips twist in a slight annoyance at the question. Still she rallies and begins to start to speak “oh, those, … ” but the guy who is tall and thin and dark skinned with long face and triangle nose seguing into his black mask, he with long toothpick arms waving to the boxy reaches of Great Target, says, “pill splitters, those are gonna be by the pharmacy, or else, if not, then (and now he bends and flops his arms up the escalators and behind and to the right of us the bystanders) kitchenware.” That last line narrows our eyes a little and he tilts his head a little down and mumbles something about kitchenware. Kitchenware!
The tall light skinned girl stocking shelves says “oh those are in personal care, you can see the sign right there,” you turn around, “well, maybe you can’t see the sign, but it’s right there.” So that’s like a new scarecrow with a new vague idea and off you go again through the bright lanes of gray shelves and white shiny tiles.
She with the pinched nose, spreading thighs and top, like a sloping womanly dradel, maybe 45, maybe more, she tells the skeptic-eyed short Hispanic guys not to look at the electric razor display case, “don’t look up there! Those don’t mean we have them. Look here” and she points to the boxes locked behind sliding glass doors. I ask if she could point me to the pill splitter. She eyes the guys, in their early 30s I guess, who continue to look with slightly concentrated faces and uncertain eyes at the razor selection that they’ve been told is much less than the display case suggests, and waves me to follow her. “They’re” she begins that “they’re” before we enter the short aisle we are diagonalling towards, “right” she stretches that “right” out until we get almost to the opposite end of the short aisle, “there!” bending a little and pointing with a long, ornately shellacked and beaded fingernail. “Oh! Great! Thank you!”
Ariel nonalcoholic wine. Have to go to the Wine Warehouse on Broadway near Washington Square Park. Guy all duded up as a cowboy (the hard straw hat, jeans with rolling stencil embroidery on the back pockets, a Western shirt beneath a leather jacket with long leather tassles giving the sleeves a bit of wingishness, rattlesnake cowboy boots (jeans on the outside, but he’s still a dude), blue and white bandanna around his thin neck, a cloth mask of similar colors and patterns. I have been brought to the South Asian-looking man with a bit of a belly in a nice soft light brown sweater and dark blue jeans. The cowboy is so very thin, so rail thin, and he doesn’t want to stop talking about wines that he’s bought and tried and considered and relished and remembered. I try to hover relaxedly in the wings. The store has white linoleum floors and big brown crates and shelves and shelves full of wine. Both the cowboy and the wine seller are around 6′, but the wine seller is a bit above it, while the cowboy a bit below the mark. The cowboy is paper thin and his skin white like splotched paper. Maybe they are in their fifties, but the cowboy looks older, from the sun and the mismatch between his calling and his skin type. He’s not a real cowboy! What are you talking about?
The cowboy shoulders past me with a tiny scowl clenching his face and shoulders forward. Because what? I was waiting patiently where the other store worker had told me to wait. Should I have wandered away until your conversation had found a natural end? And then rushed back to the store expert?
His long fingers bend a little backwards and these are the alcohol-free wines. “Oh! So many!” “It’s only three. It’s not that many.” “Still! And there’s the Ariel red — that’s what I’m looking for.”
Everyone’s so happy in Washington Park. And they are all 20. Two girls sit on separate blankets, six feet apart on a little fenced-in grass. The talk happily across the prescribed space. In the circle pit, skaters, in loose T-shirts or without shirts revealing slight but exquisitely detailed musculature, they ply their trade. All around the perimeter other kids watch and chat, many with masks, some without, a few filming with their phones as the young men in the center do kick flips and jump over the center bowl and otherwise make the fountain into a performance skate park.
A young East Asian guy is banging on a full drum set in front of the skater’s cirle. Other skaters swoop by here and there. A tall thin man with mahogany skin and rich black hair dances salsa steps with a a tall thin woman as pale as the winter with long blond hair on her rail shoulders. They dance near the bench where they’d a moment before sat and next to which their boom box blares salsa music and their banner reads, “Learn Salsa!”
And all around, everyone is happy and vibrant and it’s like 60 degrees still and the sun is still up and it’s like 7pm and it is good and they have all these different hues and hairs and they’ve gathered from all over the globe to grow up here in the USA and share overlapping cultures and a common tongue and what does it all mean? But there it is and you too walk through the park and feel like it could all work out, the whole thing, all of us, and as you exit the park, an old lady with long gray hair, a big white sweatshirt, a bluejean dress and long rumpling socks and her mask up — she feels it too, the exuberance of youth.
Anyway, we’ve got the Naltrexone, the pill-splitter, three alcohol-free wines, one regular wine, all red wines. I think we’re set. But we have to get some groceries. Red sauce, cheese, chicken, vegetables, yogurt I guess.
Editor: not today
Associated: BW/AW/They Got Their Fingers In All Pots