Mid-Afternoon Slump

New York - Times Square - July 1977

It is one of those afternoons. An afternoon where I get nothing done. They come in different flavours. The result is the same.

I question my stamina. Three, sometimes four, consecutive days of productivity and then I burn out. I listen to music, or take a nap, or try to read. Somewhere near six PM the not-done bothers me more.

The gym and short nights are great siesta scapegoats.

Other days, the malaise hits earlier. I seek solace in food and blame the rich lunch for the energy dip. I run out of excuses when I am well rested.

The road narrows to a path. No forks in sight.

Too abstract.

The streets are familiar. I know the neighbourhood. Yet, I am uncertain where this road leads. I know if I walk long enough I will get somewhere I want to be.

Better. It matches the mood I was in last December when I was literally wandering around Paris. I thought it made for a great metaphor.

It is dated, it is still abstract and it is hiding behind a metaphor.

The barista excuses herself for the failed coffee art. I should say something about learning by trying, needing to get in the water to learn how to swim. I mindlessly flash a forgiving smile.

I take my coffee outside. It’s sunny. I check the time. I have an hour.

The conversation from the next table intrudes. Too loud!

I look around. The table on the other side has three teenage girls. And only one coffee.

The conversation is now about how the car ended up in the garage for the day.

I am the one choosing to react, get annoyed. Breathe.

I hear there is a conversation behind me. I hear words coming from the table with the teenage girls. Another discussion somewhere in the background. The meanings of the words undecipherable, noise. Like a party scene in a bad movie from the sixties.

My mind becomes restless. I can feel myself wanting to isolate one conversation to listen to.

I sneer at myself. Opportunities to talk to people, or to write, are not the issue.

I swallow my coffee and leave.

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