Journal Starting with R
5 min readJun 9, 2022

I woke up around 3:30. When this is over it’ll be 4:44. The swelling has gone down, the birds are going at it and I lit the candle on the desk, the one on the windowsill. I bought a CD last week, of an album I stream all the time, on Apple Music and Spotify, and I bought the mp3s from Bandcamp this one time, and I’ve got the first pressing on vinyl, too, in a protective sleeve, I think this record is worth like $110. I saw that on the seller’s market, where I bought the CD. It’s from the seller’s “private collection,” a detail I loved, and came in a bright blue package, with black ballpoint marking. I keep looking at my name and address in the center. The way this writer connected the “a” to the “r” in my first name, the way they really colored in their period after the “N” for North. With everything else that’s going on in the world, it still got to me.

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Yesterday I had to go through Neiman Marcus to get to the doctor, or maybe there was another way but I was tired of walking in the rain. So there are K-9 dogs in Neiman now, attached to cops. This was new to me. Although I have noticed cops, with no best friends, patrolling outside our society’s Nordstroms, both downtown and in the suburbs. Those cops always look like fresh, nervous recruits with deadly weapons, wondering why they are, in the end, only, literally, mall cops. This Neiman mall cop w/ the dog was much more self-assured. I had to walk back and forth a few times to find the right entrance to the doctor, plus it was beautiful in the Neiman, like a museum, as they’ve known about the department store since the 19th century, way more beautiful than all of the 19th century art on display at the Art Institute. So I kind of took my time. Tourists kept stopping to ask if they could pet the dog trained to attack. They could. I saw this Bottega Veneta bag that looked like the silicon-based life form Spock and Kirk discover that one time, the Horta, which kind of looks like a deep-dish pizza, and also like this chained up $4,000 purse I kept looking at, which certainly wasn’t big enough to fit an Android phone. The other two types of people you see in Neiman are those who don’t even notice their security, and Black teenagers from the south side who are receiving excellent customer service.

At the doctor I asked the nurse how much it was going to cost. She said she wouldn’t know. Then I asked the doctor, a very nice man, who diagnosed me, and then said he has never looked a bill. The nurse would return in a moment. When she did, I said, listen, I’m not looking for, you know, $356.77, I’m just looking for if it’s going to be $200 or $1,200. I didn’t want to be, I said, one of those posts you see on social media. Not that that’s something I would ever do, you know, tell some horrible life story on social media with a picture of a bill. She said she understood. At least I don’t think I am, but who knows, maybe I just haven’t gotten the right bill yet. She went and got me some codes. She was very excited, I would even say proud, about these codes. You know how thrilling work can be, when you’re useful in a different way. I noticed the office’s post-it note were blue, not yellow, which made me so happy. I took out my insurance card and called the number on the back. When I got the person, they said they could not tell me anything about the codes. I asked, why not, isn’t that what you do? They said it was something about how they are priced by the state, not the national benefit company, which is something I probably knew, really, in a college-educated, or at least high level of financial literacy sense. I said, how can I find out. They said, the provider should know. I said they didn’t. At least not right now. I was still a little wet from the rain. They said I should’ve gotten it before I went. I said, how could I have, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. We hung up. I got the procedure. I love my plan.

Walking back to the station, I saw a pretty bad car crash between an old Jeep and a once sweet, white Audi, right at the corner of Chicago and Michigan. I’ve seen, like, ten crashes at this intersection before. The Audi’s grill was pretty smashed up. Cops were everywhere. An ambulance was making a very illegal turn from the Water Tower. I spontaneously laughed. Like I just cracked up. This kind of outburst, new for me, also occurred a few weeks ago, when I saw a Warby Parker is opening across from the bookstore up the block from our apartment. I saw the Warby sign and spontaneously shouted, “oh, man!” I wondered what this Warby would’ve done two years ago, during the riots, when we boarded up all the stores to make sure the looters weren’t going to steal any of the things we sell in this neighborhood, like books, lovely antiques, Tom Ford eyeglasses from the other seven eyeglass stores we have, $9 baguettes, great coffee, and lots of adequate bar food and weird European beer. I love my hood. Remember how “concerned” all of the businesses were? For society. At least then we had real villains. Now nothing’s happening. I think the alderman is going to pave the potholes in our alley, if we all complain hard enough. Just a war that is changing everything, assault on the weaker bodies, and no Medicare for all. Gasoline that costs what the greasy diner check came in at when you were trying to impress a girl in high school, knowing that after she said she had a boyfriend you still wouldn’t be able to pay for your own lunch the rest of the week.

Journal Starting with R

“With each list I’ve assembled, I’ve asked myself variations on similar questions. Why the dearth of journals beginning with R followed by so many S’s?”