Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I put together a photo album of my trip to New York.  There are no typos, so if you see something spelled wrong, you must be reading it incorrectly.

Here are some notes I wrote on the trip; I have more to type up. I had so many things inside my head from a day of walking around New York by myself, but now of course in front of this computer screen I can’t think of any of them.

I had a nearly perfect chicken sandwich for lunch.  It was hot, chopped, spicy chicken breast, with melted cheese on it, put in a fresh kaiser roll with lots of mayo, some salt and pepper, a little lettuce, just enough to make the sandwich cool and slippery instead of sticky. It was wrapped in wax paper and blank newsprint, cost $3.50, and was served to me at a walk-in deli at the skinny north end of Central Park.  As I was standing at the counter, marvelling at the 9 video cameras in the four-aisle store, a wiry black man slid into the store. He was carrying a wind breaker and placed it on the counter where the man beside the young cashier was counting receipts.  The black man launched into a quickly, quietly spoken pitch about how the receipt man could buy not just this jacket but as many as two others, and the price was as little as $30, no $20 dollars for this jacket that normally cost $90.  It was a real steal deal, the man said.

But no one seemed interested.  The black man kept his baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, and wouldn’t look at any of the 9 cameras.  Behind him, someone asked for a pack of smokes and he grabbed up the jacket and left.  My sandwich was handed to me and I walked out into the rain.

If I had a restaurant in New York, I’d call it One’s.  It would be a restaurant you showed up to by yourself, and you got seated at a table with two others.  Every table would be a table for three, no more, and less only if it was very slow.  You’d be expected to talk to the other two people at your table, make nice dinner time conversation with them.  It would be the perfect place for businesspeople who don’t want to eat alone.  Like me this trip.

So far, I’ve eaten at a few interesting places.  Moonstruck, was a blue tile, mondo menu,

diner with the fast-but-lax-est service I’ve ever seen.  The waiters seem like they’re not paying attention at all, like you need to pound on your water glass to make them notice you and come over, but somehow your soup arrives 45 seconds after you order your dinner, your bill shows up the moment your plate is removed, the chicken parmesanga, as big as two hands shaking, hits your table before two commercial breaks go by on the TV above the bar, and the whole meal is done so quick you have time to go back to your hotel and watch The Matrix on video.

I also ate at a sushi place that seemed to be a speak-easy for high school students.  They came in in batches. They skipped through the main restaurant and went off to the back room, and spent much of their time giggling and staggering back and forth to the bathroom in twos and threes.  I was at the sushi bar, and at the table behind me were two 25-year-old, unbridled ids, who would say things like, “Mmm, she’s got love handles on her I’d like to grab,” and “We should go up there, find the two cutest ones, and take them out all night to the bars until they’re too drunk to put their shoes on.”  Then one of these jerks asks the other one, “Hey, why do you suppose they always go to the bathroom in pairs? Women always do that, why do you think that is?” and I think to myself, well, probably because of assheads like you two…

Philosophical question: How do you know when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing?  Pat Sajak and Vanna White are still doing the Wheel of Fortune after all these years.  Does Vanna sometimes think, “Hey, I could have gotten a part in a movie, maybe be a big star by now.” How do they know that they’re happy doing what they’re doing? And how do I know if I’m happy?


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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