to Hell
life in
New York City
by Eric Gillin
"...I mumble something about not liking cheese because it's made by Satan."

Today was like some bizarro Fellini flick.

I woke up confused after dreaming about buildings that move and graffiti artists who weren't very good and running away from something bigger than me. I have no idea what's been going on lately, but I've been sleeping really deeply and waking up suddenly out of some of the craziest dreams ever. When I wake up I forget what day it is or where I am. It literally takes me a few minutes to realize I'm Eric Gillin and I live in New York City and I need to go to work because it is Wednesday.

So I am confused already. I wake up and my white roommate's Native American mother, a fashion designer and artist who has been staying with us for the past week, is standing in the kitchen. Her slate gray tangles of hair sway in the cross-breeze from kitchen to living room. Her hair is long for a woman of her age, since most people over 60 have hacked off their locks a long time ago. When was the last time you saw a grandma with a ponytail? The long hair makes her seem even more odd -- not that she needed any help.

In one hand she is holding a three-foot long baguette. In the other she is holding a yellow block of cheese. I walk in. She flies at me. "Do you want some of this cheese? It's homemade by some lady from her own cows who took no hormones or antibiotics or anything. There's no nothing in this, it's all made fresh by this lady from her cows that live in upstate New York."

Half asleep, I mumble something about not liking cheese because it's made by Satan. I stagger by her, lurching towards the bathroom. I look down and somehow she got a piece of cheese into my hand. I eat it. It tastes exactly like what my feet smell like. I decide to pee instead of thinking about my roommate's Native American mother and why she was holding that baguette.



It's not that I don't like the woman, I adore her. But for the last seven days, she's been eroding my pragmatism with conversation after conversation about pseudo-medicine and Zen-mysticism. We've covered herbal heat wraps, which she uses on her face and back while recovering from the five days of acupuncture. She claims that acupuncture makes her feel great, but at the same time complains that it hurts like hell when they stick a needle in the same exact place for five days straight. I think it feels great because they take out the fucking needle, stopping the agony.

We've discussed auras, my zodiac sign, how full moons affect cattle and human behavior, which metals I "am" and why I love my mother so much. We talk about how young I am. She's obsessed with being youthful and sometimes says creepy things like, "Well, you have a young body," or "You're young and so pain doesn't affect you yet." It's only creepy because I think I'm gonna wake up and she'll be sitting on my chest breathing in what I exhale, muttering something about eternal youth.

Still, I emerge and dress quickly, ready to get away from my bed for fear graffiti artists will take me back to dream land. I hit the street and walk under the spot where two window washers fell from a building and were killed last night. I enter Union Square, ready to hit the subterranean catacombs, when I see the farmer's market. I decide to go. It'll be good to look at fruit and vegetables, even if I'm not eating them.

Then everything gets weird.

I look up and see three men in dog costumes doing cartwheels and handing out flyers, trying to save abandoned pets at an event sponsored by romanticclassics.com. I don't understand how the two go together. I didn't walk to disturb the cartwheeling pets.

Nearby, fifteen three-year olds are holding hands and crossing the street, all clad in identical orange outfits. They are a multi-ethnic bunch of two-footers and so cute my eyes begin to throb at all the cuteness. Some dark part of me wants the children to go bezerk and scatter all at once, leaving their chaperones bewildered and scared.

" 'He's just staring with his eyes, moving them back and forth...' "

I watch an ancient woman beat a zucchini against a table, yelling about ripeness.

I see two bums eat garbage.

I go to work.

I arrive at work and my co-worker says hello. Her blond hair is immaculate as usual, but her blue eyes betrays her. Something happened.

"What happened?"

"My train ride," she stated flatly, hoping that could explain things and make me relent.

"Oh yeah, was it late? I hate it when it's late," I reply, pushing for a good story.

I don't have to push hard. She spills.

"So I'm on the train headed to work. And this guy, in a suit, a really regular looking guy, is staring at me. Staring right at me and the woman next to me. He's not moving his head, though. He's just staring with his eyes, moving them back and forth between me and the lady next to me. And so I think that this guy is a sick fuck, right? He's like checking me out. I start to feel uncomfortable and then I see why he's staring at me. I also see why the whole subway car was staring at me. The woman directly next to me, who was dressed like a normal person, in a business suit and everything and her hair was done, completely average. This woman was taking a 6-inch knife and she was putting it in and out of her mouth. Just taking this knife and putting it in her mouth. And it's like this big. (motions about 6 inches) Everyone was waiting to see what I would do. I started to shake and thankfully, work was at the next stop. A half-dozen guys from the train got off and were saying how they weren't about to get stabbed by some lunatic. And then it hit me. The rest of those fucking idiots weren't gonna let some bitch with a knife make them late for work."

I didn't make that up. Fucking insanity. I only wish I could've been there to see it.


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