I have a very specific routine that I follow coming home from work each night.

I clock out and head to the locker room to change.  This used to involve actually changing all of my clothes.  Now it’s just my shirt.  I can’t deal with lugging everything around any more.  Once I’m in my civilian clothes I’m out the door.

First stop.  The deli down the street.  At the deli I pick up three Diet Cokes.  Two for the train ride home, one for the trip back tomorrow.  If it’s a good night, they have Caffeine Free Diet Coke.  The guys at the deli now know me and always ask how my night was and how I’m doing.  If I vary from this routine they always question it.

Next stop, the subway.  The subway is about a block and a half from the deli.  I take the “A” train home.  I always love my customers who are astounded that I travel on the subway at night.  I always ask them if they have a different way that I don’t know of, to get home at the end of my shift.  If they are really timid tourists they are impressed that I travel on the subway at all, what with the drug dealers and prostitutes.  I have figured out since I started waiting tables that the “A” train comes at :18 after the hour, :38 after the hour, and :58 after the hour.  That is of course if it’s running on time.  Which is luckily the case most nights.  The reason it’s important to know this is because it tells me how much of a rush I should be in when doing all of the above things.  It’s funny because there are about seven or eight other employees who live near me and none of them know the train schedule.  They always treat me like I’m insane when I explain it to them.  So I get to the subway and if I’m lucky I don’t have to wait twenty minutes for the next train.

On the subway/platform, I pop open a Diet Coke and I bring out my Ipod.  I’m always embarrassed when people ask me what I’m listening to on my Ipod.  It’s 99.9999 percent show tunes.  I am gay.  No REALLY I am.  So I stand on the platform and wait for my train.  When the train finally comes I run to get the seat next to the door.  I hate to be in the middle of any kind of seating situation.  Give me the aisle anytime.  I should also mention that while I’ve been waiting for the train, I’ve wandered down the platform so that I’m exactly where I need to be to get right off the train at my stop and exit.  And so I ride the train, humming along to whatever show I’m listening to that night.  Tonight happened to be The Children of Eden…in case you were wondering.

And then what seems like four hours later, I’m dumped at my stop.  The train goes local at night, so it stops at every stop.  During the day it skips from 125th Street to 59th Street.  At night, it’s every stop for me.  It really only adds about ten or so minutes to the trip, but when you’ve worked all night, it might as well be ten thousand.  And finally I get off the train.

I wander up the tunnel that I have to exit through to get out of the station, and head out into the night air.  Next stop, the deli down the street from my apartment.  When we moved in there was only the crappy place downstairs where my roommate nor I could get waited on.  They made us wait till everyone else was dealt with before they would ring us up.  Needless to say it didn’t take us long to realize that we weren’t welcome.  Last fall the nice, new all night deli opened up.  It’s a real deli too.  It’s not a bodega that sells everything from umbrellas, and hammers to sandwiches.  This place only serves sandwiches and desserts.  I walk in and the guy behind the counter always says, “What’s up boss.”  I have never learned his name.  I know he’s Muslim and if I come at the right/wrong time  he’s upstairs praying.  He’s very nice though and always asks about my night.  Next stop is Phillip.  He’s the Mexican guy who actually makes the sandwiches.  He always comes to the counter to say hello.  He asks about my night, if I made money.  If I can get him a job.  What’s going on.  We chat for a while and then he asks me what I want.  I tend to get the same thing every night for two or three weeks and then I change it up.  Right now it’s a roast beef sandwich.  Two weeks ago it was grilled chicken.  Phillip chats with me while he’s making the sandwich.  He knows that I’m from Kentucky and that they don’t like Mexicans there.  He once asked me if my family was part of the Ku Klux Klan.  I said no, but I really believe it’s because it would take too much effort  to join.  I get the sandwich, pay and I’m on my way.

Up the street, into the apartment building, up the two flights of stairs into my apartment.  One of the nice rituals that my roommate and I have fallen into is that he leaves a small lamp on for me at night.  As I walk down the street I look to see if the light is on.  It always bums me out when I come home and he isn’t here.  This weekend he’s out of town for Easter and that means that I’ll have to come home to a dark apartment.  So I open my door and begin the ritual of being home.

I head to my bedroom to dump my bag, take off my shoes (my feet are killing me) dump my phone, wallet, watch, dental floss, chapstick, ibuprofen, and gum on my bedside table.  This is all the stuff that I carry in my pocket at work.  I carry dental floss because I have two teeth that food always gets stuck in.  If I don’t have it, it drives me crazy all night.  You’d also be surprised at the number of customers I’ve given it to, who request toothpicks which we don’t have.  I carry ibuprofen because I pop it every four hours to deal with the pain in my feet.  I really am too old to wait tables.  I also dump my money from the shift on the bed.  I then head to the kitchen, drop the leftover Diet Coke in the fridge and then make coffee.  I have a full pot of coffee every morning/afternoon before I head to work.

Once all of this is done I head to my computer to check email, read my favorite blogs and to write my own post.

And this is the point of tonight’s post.  I have a routine.  I have specific things I do every night.  And I’m fucking annoyed right now, because it’s taken twelve minutes for one page to load.  At this rate I could have you mail me your posts, I could read them and mail you back a response in the time it will take our lovely Time Warner cable connection to work.  Ugh.  I’m annoyed.  So I guess I’ll skip this part of the routine, and will just ead to my bedroom, recount my earnings for the evening, enter the total into my calendar.  Eat my sandwich.  Brush my teeth.  Read a couple of chapters from my current book.  Water For Elephant’s is the current book of choice.  It’s really wonderful.

And sometime around 5:00 a.m. I turn off the lamp and go to sleep.

I just hope it will let me post this before I go to bed.

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5 thoughts on “

  1. Michael March 22, 2008 / 09:00

    I loved this slice of life post. And I don’t know why but I always imagined you lived in Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t know why. Also I can relate to listening to showtunes on the subway–I always wonder if people can hear my headphones.

  2. Chris March 22, 2008 / 11:54

    I loved this post. I’ve never been afraid to ride the subway when I’ve been in NYC, I never understood the folks who were. I read Water for Elephants about six months ago and loved it. It’s now one of my favorite books of all time, I could hardly put it down.

  3. Donnie March 22, 2008 / 14:20

    What a great little “field trip” you’ve painted for us, Maddog. I’m a creature of habit too.

  4. dirkmancuso March 22, 2008 / 16:20

    Great post (I especially liked the “I said no, but I really believe it’s because it would take too much effort to join” part).

    Having never been to New York, I’m sure you would laugh your ass off at how I picture everything in my head since everything is based on what I learned from FRIENDS and FELICITY.

  5. Cincy Diva March 22, 2008 / 16:51

    I didn’t know we didn’t like Mexicans in KY? You’d never know it!

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