Spies like us?


Sunday, February 15, 2015


I decided to do laundry at the Kennedy Boulevard Bubbles instead of going to Secaucus Ė partly because the laundry is larger and I had a better chance of getting a machine right away, partly because I still had money on the card and figured I would use it up.

The radio djs are going off on the fact that this will be the harshest cold spell since the 1970s, a rant that doesnít do it for me since winter (duh) is supposed to be cold, and weíve done so much to screw up the environment that the warm weather that has accompanied this time of year over the last four decades seems normal when itís not.

Although the Laundromat is the perfect place on days like this, I always prefer my car where I sit with a cup of coffee and scribble in my notebooks. Iím transcribing old 1970s journal entries that are a risk of withering away Ė old tattered pages falling to pieces between my fingers Ė so the weather matches the entries as I write.

The coffee comes from a small convenience store in a series of stores that make up our pathetic little downtown shopping district along this stretch of road Ė cleaners, insurance broker, two convenience stores, a dance studio for teens, a computer repair shop, a very questionable pharmacy, a liquor store, and, of course, a Chinese take out from which we take out Chinese every Friday.

Piles of frozen snow decorate the curbs on all the streets, but parking proved less difficult than the walk to and from the laundry. But I managed.

Back home, the calls started coming in complaining about coverage in the newspaper I had nothing to do with, filled with accusations of corruptions and yellow journalism I nodded over on my side of the receiver without further comment.

I did, however, get a call from an old paranoid friend from the mid-1980s who whispered that he could not say too much over the telephone for risk of having the CIA catch on. He went on to talk about the risk of using Easypass on the highways, and how smart phones tend to let people (I suppose the NSA or CIA) spy on us. These are not new concepts or untrue, itís just hard listening to them with a straight face. Back in the days when winters were still winters, some people wrapped tin foil around their heads to keep the CIA from reading their thoughts. These days, even this isnít likely to help, and my friend on the telephone must be looking out his window to see what drone is hovering there.

This is cleaning day. So the CIA and the critics of journalism if they are spying on me will get a lot of hum from my vacuum cleaner as I work my way through the basement rooms in my constantly conflict with dust.

The bugs I come across mostly weave webs, not plots, and if they are listening in on my conversations, Iím not sure what good it will do them in helping to catch flies rather than spies.

What may make me a target of drones and bugs may be the brand of chamomile tea I purchased today, which appears to have been made by ISIS.

But I donít believe I will lose my head sipping it tonight, when my worst fear will be whether or not it will launch me into dream land rather than some new conspiracy.

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