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November 18, 2002
Lists and things

“The only thing that works in an office environment is To Do Lists.” Kate’s papeterie was stuffed with tourists, overdressed ladies with large jewelry and maybe students, though I can not say for sure. There were also some of these mysterious men in tight sweaters their hands loose on their forearms, as if for decoration.
There was a special paper-packing table for all of those who would like to have their paper wrapped in some other pretty paper. A tiny shivering greyhound puppy was wearing a full body Burberry outfit and did not like to pose for the furry lady who really wanted to take a picture. The dog just loved me for some strange reason, just as if we had been best friends for years. The puppy jumped on my knee, licked my hand as if I had made it out of salt and wiggled with the tail so vigorously that sheets of fine paper almost flew off the shelves.
I had to excuse myself with “Talicia” and quickly walk away. The dog was told to sit.
I returned to the list makers. There was a whole group of them. Three women in very loose sweaters were browsing through shelves stocked with notebooks. Next to them was a man maybe half a head taller than me. He was giving away all his wisdom with a clear and patronizing voice. “Lists work, but only if you stick to them. If you just write them down and then forget about them they do not. It is very important to live by them. You have to write these things down and just return to them again and again and again. Just writing them down will not help unless you come back to them every time…” He was wearing a long gray flannel coat, which concealed all the movements of his probably very stringy body. His arms were used to emphasize the importance of his advice. His face was almost purple and the skin was peeling of his cheeks and nose. His eyes were tiny yet glued with strong color out of his overly saturated face. He might have been 25 but the combination of the elements that were put together to represent this man somehow set him into the range of 60-70. He must have been through a lot of stress.
The women just ignored him. They soon decided to buy a series of spiral notebooks in which the edges of the pages were preprinted in primary colors. I did not see them use any lists.
The moleskin sketchbook I wanted to buy was there, for 3 Dollars more than at Ivy’s books on 93rd. I stepped out through the crowd onto a crowded Broadway, the same one I look at every morning and night, just about 100 blocks further south.

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