‘K’

The iPhone uses ‘capacitive’ technology, I’ve read, which means it’s touch-sensitive and altogether too easy to use. It’s not necessarily easy on the eyes, I discover, when Finn–spying me in deep-squint on the phone, the tablet, etc.,–wrinkles his face comedically, reminding me I look silly with my glasses discarded and with me, seemingly mid-snarl and deceptively carnivorous in face, writing a letter all squinchy-eyed, else perusing the most recent Trump faux pas on-line with a furrowed brow and a mess of hair falling into my eyes. Trump’s stapled head, meanwhile, currently hosts a dead vole, a domestic thin-haired one, I think. It’s unnaturally orange at least.

There’s ‘capacitive’, but also ‘capacity’–potential–which days innately contain. The trick is tapping into it, like figuring out the ‘K’ coefficient in a physics equation, like: how will momentum exist today?

At Speech, Finn counts ‘one-two–threee’ and slides down slides and throws himself onto mats. He taps his lower lip and sounds out sounds, cueing himself. Forwards, certainly, but Rady’s Hospital is sometimes a drag-some place even with all the forwards momentum, I won’t lie. Where’s the ‘K’ for the day?

(Incidentally, the bahn mi joint down the hill burnt down this week: it was named ‘K Sandwiches’, because irony).

Also, and considering Rady’s has its share of institutional bulbs and miles of linoleum, don’t we all just hate fluorescent? Like a basic human fact? Like that last time you tried on a shirt in a changing room, and your skin was green in pallor, but also weirdly pink and you really hated whatever mall gods made you defeatedly sag your shoulders in the mirror? Rady’s is very fluorescent.

We get home, and Finn is appropriately zombie. Jenn’s home, too, and it’s an afternoon where the sky is clearing blue. Because Finn is due for a nap, I sling on my knapsack and take a walk, the five-block exercise in the sun being that small convalescence, fluorescence winked out, and where I fold a paperback against its spine and try not to get hit by cars in the alleyways while reading.

I order albacore tataki at the neighborhood ramen joint: a white plate with a liberal ladling of ponzu, daikon sprouts, and scallions decorating neat tiles of tuna. The tuna is raw and seasoned with sichimi tagarashi. It’s all pretty and I dribble some sesame oil down the domino row of albacore. It’s an easy meal, fresh and clean.

The bar-back tells me to ‘Try this” and “Also this” while I scribble in a notebook, so I taste tasters while writing. Bar-back calls me ‘Brother’, which is guy talk.

The cashier next door—he calls me, ‘My dude.’

Gabe at Parkside: ‘Hello, my Friend.”

Mac at Thorn St.: ‘Hey, You.’

Glenn, Ripe Market: ‘Hi, Thom.’

Barista: ‘☺’

Cindy at the produce stand: ‘You doing a fly-by, or what?’

Me: ‘Getting some lemons?’

I scribble on the back-sheet of a paper that lives in my satchel—it’s a copy of an essay I read at a writers’ conference and I scrawl in scratchy blue pen while dredging a tile of tuna in ghost-chile relish.

I write about a tile of tuna in ghost-chile relish while writing with a scratchy blue pen.

This place is an al fresco space, and the myrtle trees outside the parklet are green, not gray, now that the marine layer is lifted. A natural light. And when I bus my tray: ‘Hey, brother! Good talk!’ The pourer tosses a chin. I check my phone, which is fractured and inexactly capacitive, but heading back home, and heading down the white alleyway, which Cayden always insists we walk, the day collects net, ‘K’ having done its thing and I’m full, near to capacity.

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