Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A true love story to J.S.

Dinner was going to be late by fifteen minutes.

She was meeting her friend downtown to check out the new place for strangers run by strangers. The lifers who have lived in-country longer then herself, people who get so homesick that the only thing desired is a meal that provides the basic comforts of home. To create a space in strange land that feels less strange, feels more real. The extra time to get downtown meant time to walk. With the dog fed, and jacket in place, she turned off the lights and closed up her apartment.

The air was crisp and cool. Fall night time air running through her hair. She stuffed her hands into her pocket and shivered against the chill, checked to make sure she still had a phone and a book. Everything in place she started to walk through strange land, to walk ignoring the stairs, ignoring the sighs, ignoring the catcalls, ignoring strange land, focused on a goal. Focused inward. A dozen thoughts moved through her head.

She thought of her desires and what they meant, where they meant, who they meant. The names in her head were disconnected with the emotions that she as feeling. She thought about the future. The future. Strange land and the future make less sense everyday, she thinks, but then what is the future if not this? A thousand thoughts and wondering upon what life is if not this, where life is if not here, what will happen if it all stays the same? The largest question on her mind is how willing she might be to tear it all down and try something new, something again, something different, something elaborate, something complex, or something simple.

The cold rocked her and she moved through the neon jungle of strange land, through the crowds and the throngs and she was untouched by all of it. The bell park buzzed with the loud excitement of topless teenagers practicing skateboard routines. Lovers crouched together under tress stealing frozen moments for close caress, trying to be unnoticed in the softly falling darkness. Basketball players gathered in clumps and shot at hoop-less rings, stumbling as she walked by. She walked by. She remained untouched by it. Deep in her concern as they were in theirs. Fall nights are nights for being caught up in life.

Downtown was bright and shining and coming up quickly and she began to navigate the crowded avenues of strange land, turning here, cutting a corner there, heading towards the new safe place constructed for her personal amusement. Her thoughts still shielding her from outside interference until she walked by the music store.

She had walked by the music store a thousand times in strange land. It was always the same music store. She wondered how it kept in business sometimes being that it never seemed to have any customers. The windows were lined with LP’s. She knew better then to go in. Inside, she could see through the window, some of the most beautiful high end turntables that had ever been designed. They were clean and shiny with crisp needles and they made her homesick and filled her with longing. Just thinking of laying down between two high end speakers while a record spun was enough to send chills up her spine. She always walked past, rarely sparing the shop a second glance.

The shop sat halfway between two different alleys down a side street. Even with the din of all the city around the space around the music store was quiet. Perched on either side like futuristic cyber-goyles were two Bosse speakers. The speakers always played music. Sometimes Handel, sometimes Mozart, the occasional Beethoven. The music would fill the small alley and it was truly beautiful. But she did not stop, would not enter the store, and often was untouched.

Tonight, she is wrapped in a shroud of herself and is untouchable.

Then there is a piercing single violin string resonating in D minor and she stops still in front of the store. Everything comes to a crashing halt. There is a penultimate silence, she breaks and washes into it. The solo violin concerto continues and she knows what stopped her. Why she is listening in the street while the cold air frost her ears and makes her shiver; why she stands a black clad figure in a strange land, she who is unmovable and suddenly moved to tears in front of a lonely store window in the middle of an alley. It was Bach.

She would know Bach anywhere. She knows it here.

She stood listening for several minutes while her face ran with shivery tears until finally it reached it’s zenith and she could take it no longer. The door of the store clinks and bells alert the shop keeper of her presence. Unnecessary, the store is small and her presence, stranger in time and space, is obvious.

“Who is it?” she asks, sure and unsure.

“Bach.”

“Yes. Where?”

He points to a CD and she is only momentarily disappointed. To have had it on record would have been something, even though she has no record player here to play it on. The CD will do. She checks to make sure it is the same one playing outside and then she hands over her money.

“Here, a discount.” he says as he gives her the change. Maybe it was the tear streaks on her face, maybe her strangeness, maybe just the cool fall air, maybe just the joy at having a late night customer looking for music. It was hard to say, but she accepted it quietly, mumbled thank you and walked away.


She continued on, still on time, towards the dinner, fingering the CD in her pocket and cleaning up the tears. There is no place that will ever protect one from Bach, she thinks, there is no safe place to hide from that.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dementors

I really hate Seoul.

I try not to, it seems so random to just take an entire city and lump it all together and make it into something loathsome. And yet, that is very much what I have done. I truly dislike the city of Seoul.

People love to go on about Seoul about traveling there, taking a weekend to head up for a break from life, hanging out in the city of cities in Korea. They are more then welcome to do so. Less people in Daegu generally means a better time for me. And I really really really dislike Seoul. I do not begrudge someone else their enjoyment of Seoul, but I can’t stand the place.

And yet occasionally I have to brave the KTX to head towards the dreaded city to do things I’ve promised to do. This weekend I was booked for two different events at the International Shindig for Teachers who Teach English and had to hightail my ass to Seoul. Fine. I swallowed my pride, book overpriced KTX tickets and went for it. Ah Seoul.

Perhaps Friday was not helped by the fact that when I woke up I was in so much pain that life did not seem worth living. I finally ended up after an hour of debate calling in sick to work. The teachers understood more then a little. Apparently shingles is not terribly uncommon here, which is not surprising given the high amounts of stress. Take a day and take your time is what I was told. I went back to bed and managed to sleep for another three hours. I could do very little else on Friday. I could not get myself together or motivate myself to work at all.

I know that I’ve used the word malaise before, but I don’t think I truly and completely understood exactly what that meant until reflecting on my last three weeks. Malaise hardly begins to make it real. I was talking to Mono about it, trying to describe what this malaise meant to me. “It’s like dementors, isn’t it?” That stopped me. That is exactly what it was like. Like something sitting and sucking out all the happy feelings you have ever had, boiling your life down to an absence of things. That is exactly what it was like. It was in full swing on Friday and had it not been for S- I probably would not have had the motivation to move out of the apartment and towards the eventual train.

Among the things I could not motivate myself to do there was making a hotel reservation. No problem, I thought, I’ll just call on the train. And call I did. But all the rooms were booked up. No problem, I thought, I’ll just ask at the station when I get to Seoul. And I did, and they pointed my to Myeon-dong (which is sort of a downtownish area of Seoul). Okay, I called a friend who lives in Seoul and he said, Sin-cheon (a different downtownish area) and I said okay. What I wanted to was cheap but clean room for a the night. A game of rock paper scissors decided that Myeon-dong would be tried first.

Upon arrival I hit the street with S- in tow. We walk to the first hotel. Nothing, everything was booked. To the second. Nothing, everything was booked. To the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, until finally it became all too much. The shingles, the stress, the lack of desire, the impossibility of it all. I froze, and I snapped and had a nice unpleasant psychotic break with reality. Finally I was left sitting outside and stewing because I simply could not get up enough will to care about where I would sleep.

S- dragged me to a car and put me in and requested Sin-cheon. Upon arrival the first available yagwon was found and flopping occurred. Bags were strewn about, my rage was swallowed and I tried desperately to sleep. And for the first time in a while, on a rock hard bed, in a mosquito filled room that was unpleasant and cramped, I slept.

And when I woke up the next morning I was downright peppy. It was more than that though. I was happy. I was happy to be alive. I looked at the ridiculousness of my night before and laughed at how foolish it all seemed. I looked at the silly little room and could think only of the pleasant things about it. I took a shower and felt good. I took all the pills I am taking and felt great. I did my presentations and felt like a rock star.

Life was good, life was grand.

On Sunday I was able to motivate myself to write like I had not been able to do for months. I was one. I was in, I knew what I was doing. Everything was going to be okay. It felt better.

I still feel better today. Still sore, still very very sore. I want to go to the gym tonight but I have a feeling that is still a bad idea. I’m going to give my body another week to kick this infection and then head back in. But that doesn’t matter now. None of that matters anymore because I feel rather free. I feel released from a melancholy choke hold. I can breathe again. That makes anything work bearing, even indolence for a few more days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chicken Pox

My entire body is working against me at this point.

I have clinical malaise. I feel like doing nothing. I feel like being nothing.

I cannot focus, I cannot pay attention to my classes, and the pain has taken over everything. My body has moved my pain into my nerves. The nerves have exploded and everything happens through a filter of this.

I've experienced more pain. Yet this is seems somehow more difficult pain. It's the malaise.

Actually, it's chicken pox.

I had chicken pox when I was about ten. I remember it as four days of laying about eating books and trying not to scratch anything. It was rather unpleasant but it is one of those childhood experiences everyone is expected to go through. Get the chicken pox as a child, you must, you have too, or you can get it as an adult and that's worse. So much worse, it is believed. And so children get pushed to play with the friends who have chicken pox so it can be had and be over with.

How swell this is.

And with all swell things there is a downside. With chicken pox the downside is the fact that I never actually leaves your system but lies dormant in the body waiting just waiting. It sleeps in your nervous system, close to all those nerves, close to all the places that make your body kick and twitch. And if it gets a break, if you are properly stressed, over worked, not eating well, tired, and strung out, then that virus that has been there for years is going to come back and step in. It will bring bumps, loss of concentration, and malaise. It's called shingles, adult chicken pox, and it's a real bitch.

The worst part of this is the malaise. This feeling of loss, this absence of desires, I am a creature driven by my passions and my desires. To have those robbed from me, now, when I need to be most confident and in control, is beyond depressing.

I keep telling myself if I can just hold it together a few more days, a few more days and I won't be sick anymore, I won't feel disconnected. I won't feel ready to drop off the face of the earth. I won't want to just dissolve.

Or maybe I will, but I'll be able to harness it better and push it into those things that keep me together. Just a few more days.

Just a few more days.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Monday Morning Music Maddness

There is a lovely sense of lateness in the air and sitting and drinking with a good friend at 3 am seems like a happy way to spend a Sunday evening when I don’t have to go to work the next day. Tensions from earlier in the evening clear out with the emptying of the room and I sit and drink with Ramon while we discuss life, the universe, and the art of Zen.

“Let’s move to bar.”

I’m hard pressed to disagree. The bar is lovely and beautiful. A bar for sitting at with a nice high rise, a bar to rest your feet on, a bar that slide towards you and invites propping and drinking and conversation.

Hyun-shik the barman is poking through the massive record collection that lines the whiles. 33’s from floor to ceiling, almost all original recordings, stacked and begging to be listened to on the massive and beautiful record player that is spinning idly.

A first edition print of Waiting for the Sun is spinning and Jim Morrison is crooning at us:

Love has been lost, is that the reason
Trying desperately to be free.

It is beautiful and it whispers across the bar and the silent chatting and of the pretty Korean girls having Guinness as the other end. We chat up Hyun who continues to thumb through the records and finally pulls something out. I ask him what he has and he shows me a Bob Dylan.

“No, no.” I say. “No, that’s not right. We need something else. We need John Coltrane.” Hyun smiles and turns back around to the bar and pulls out a Coltrane record. He sets the needle to shiny black vinyl and we all smooth and stop and listen. Silky smooth sexaphone sleeks out through speakers. Everything stops by music, everything stops but music in the ear and the beautiful tremolo of velvet smoothness of the melody line on top of the ever subtle backup. It’s sultry and fine.

Conversation resumes for a while until Hyun is inspired to pull a new record and suddenly we stop again as Duke Ellington and his band spin sweetly My Funny Valentine.

Beautiful, sweet, slippery pulling at the mellow mind in glorious three a.m. time.

It sends us all inspired. I ask for Astor Piazzolla. Ramon shouts out Gotan Project. We call out name after name, pull up music that will inspire the evening, the cool fall, the alcohol that warms the belly, life at three a.m. Accordion opened and shut, accordion rocking tango and moving the soul. There is music, there is jazz, there is dark, there is industrial, there is happy warmth, and the sudden unending beauty of music in a bar for three, music for thinking and drinking and the somnambulance that falls in the wee hours of mornings.

I go home toe tapping and sleep in till ten, happy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where is my fall?

The weather tells me that fall is here, that it's dropping all around me, that it's the season that should bring contentment and peace as the wind wends away the old and brings about cold sleepy death of winter and soon spring again. I want to be happy about it. I went to reveal in a change of colors, a change of seasons, a change of all things. But I'm set back and away. The leaves aren't changing for some reason; they just get a richer green. Everything grows full but nothing ends.



A problem fall is what has happened. No Indian summer, no quiet polite extension of season. Rather it is an extension of transitional tension. A suspension of the perfectly moving forward animation that allows seasons to end and life to begin again. I want to see some ending. I need it. I would rather have ending then ever present wallowing in histrionics that does my heart no good. Let it all fall down.



Maybe it is just general malaise. Maybe it is time for a change. Maybe it is time for a new place. Maybe it is time for an old place. Maybe it is time to get comfortable. Maybe it is time to move on. Maybe it is a time for missing. Maybe it is a time for talking. Maybe it is a time for silence. Maybe it is nothing but a pain in my back that puts everything else on edge. Maybe it's a lack of food. Maybe it's too much drink. Maybe it's not enough. Maybe I've gotten complacent. Maybe I'm not complacent enough.



I shiver in air that is not even chill. Barely enough to raise a goose-bump but enough to make me cold. I work, I walk, I write, I sleep, I work out. I feel like the season today. Full but not ending, filling up but without the expected release that comes with the change of weather. Anticipation is everywhere, in the season, in the air, in me. But a quiet static has enveloped all things and prevented all forward moment. It just goes on with no ending, when everything wants it to end.


It's the deep breath before the final turn. I'll feel better when I remember how to breath.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where my Trauma is not Reality

It still hurts. Through a bottle of wine and some friendly pills it still hurts.

I went yesterday to the gym and lifted my weight. I topped out a 100lbs on my bench press, weeping through the entire thing.

The trainer kept looking across the gym at me, at the sounds I was making, the grimace on my face.

I keep lifting as much as I can. I move to the arm presses and do up to seventy pounds before stopping. I do my triceps presses up to 115 pounds. My eyes are burning and I want to cry but I keep pushing through the pain.

The regulars in the gym cast glances my way. They watch me, they watch the pain on my face. They watch my reaction but they don't say anything.

It was the high flys that finally got me. I couldn't pull more then forty pounds. I almost dropped the bar during the down stroke.

The trainer walks near, passes me by but doesn't say anything.


It's not that they don't want to help.

There is a wall. A wall between me and the Koreans. In Korea if you are in that much pain you go to the hospital, there is just no question. Otherwise you stay in that much pain and you don't show it. You just let the pain happen but you don't let out a sound that there is pain, you don't break under it. If you aren't going to go to a hospital then you aren't in pain.

It's not just the physical. It's the emotional.

I live in a country of automaton droids who function in two modes. Happy and unreadable. Unreadable could be anything. Maybe sad, maybe sick, but you never know. In Korea you are one or the other.

My western emotions are much like me. To big for this place, to different, to strange, to foreign. Unacceptable, out of place.

It doesn't matter that they build up, and no amount of wine or pills will make them go away.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It just does not stop....

It's all piling up on me, this work I'm supposed to be doing. This would be easier to accomplish if I had gotten some sleep the night before, but of course I did not get any sleep the night before as I sat up or tossed and turned most of the night because of my back. I believe that I may have sustained a WSI but cannot confirm if that is actually the case or not. What I do know is that I have seriously pulled a nerve or muscle group just under my left shoulder blade and the occasionally thrusting points of sharp pain that stab forward from the region and into every molecule of my functional form are distracting and practically debilitating.

I was working on a massive project that I had put off until the last possible minute the other afternoon. This is not usually a problem. However after several attempts over several hours in several different positions, one thing was becoming increasingly clear. There was no comfortable place to sit and my back hurt. I tried stretching. Nothing. I tried working and ignoring it. Nothing. I tried six Tylenol extra strength. Nothing. I tried some one. Nope. Finally I gave up. I had a dinner date at eight and decided maybe a walk would be the thing so walked the mile and a bit downtown in the hopes that it would help.

Nope.

Dinner was a reservation at the only American Chinese place in town. For no readily apparent reason all of the servers are dressed in animal themed suits. There is a dragon, a cow, and a wolf serving tonight. I have no idea why. I do know that the couches at this restaurant are set particularly low. Which normally is fine. Unless your back is throbbing in that spot just below you left shoulder blade. In which case trying to find a comfortable sitting position become a severe challenge. My dinner company kept asking me what the hell I was doing. I kept shifting. Until suddenly the pain kicked into high gear like I had flipped a switch and hit a bulls-eye on the not that had built up in my back during the day.

I kept moving and hoping it would go away. It did not. I ate and hoped food would help. And that didn't work either. I finally gave up and worked on the grinning and the bearing. After dinner Mono and I walked about the city for a bit window shopping and being generally entertained by all things Korean. There was a hope for pool but this was quickly dashed when upon entering the bar we found people to already be playing. It was nearing ten so I figured it was time to go home and that's what I did.

Went home, took more Tylenol. Suffered.

And took more.

And took more.

And took more.

Then I tried to sleep.

That didn't work. I turned on my vibrator and pressed it into the knot in my back for a good half hour. I thought that might help, since that is what the vibrator is for (at least that is what I've been lead to believe by the misleading vibrator packing which seems to think this is a massage unit and not a vibrator). While this did feel fantastic as soon as I turned it of I noticed that if anything now the area was warm, massaged, and painfully painfully throbbing.

I piled up pillows under my head and shoulders and tried to find a comfortable position to sleep. This did not work. I tried lying on my stomach, again with no luck. Side to side, back and forth, up and down, all I got was pain. So I tossed and turned all night taking desperate pass out naps in between to be somewhat rested and relaxed for today.

But my night of unrest leaves me again unfocused and I can't concentrate on the work I'm trying desperately to do. I'm snapping at my students and in a foul mood. I explain to the kids what is going on and fortunately they understand enough to know to let me get through the minimal amount of presentation before the activity. After this we work in peace and life is mostly groovy accept for the back pain that makes me run into my side office and lean over a table trying not to retch.

It's been five hours since work started. The pain is not getting any better. I have on more class, then some more office work and then I will go to the gym. I'm hoping the application of heavy weights in appropriate areas will help to release the tension. If not I can at least as the trainer what I might do to stop the pain. I just want sleep and focus and not to feel like someone has a laser beam pointed between my shoulder blades for twenty four hours.

I want to feel comfortably certain that I have successfully completed this work that is piling up. Perhaps taking a moment out to put this down, to write it up and get it out will present me with the power of will and mind over body to buy the focus I need for the rest of the afternoon. Groovy goodness vibes are most certainly welcome from all corners so feel free to whisper words of healing at the god, goddess, or spiritual higher power of your choice for me.

Can't Sleep

It closes in on one am on Sunday night and I should be asleep by now.

My mind is wandering a mad mix of chaos and dreams. My heart is not still.

My heart digs in and won't let me go. I am a cacophony of memories, sights, smells, sounds, touch, desire, dreams, voices, laughs, a sneer. Emotions rendered in thought projections on the unsleeping, unwitting, insomnic brain.

The brain fired neurons and the body responds. The body lights up and slides backwards in waking nightdreams that serve no purpose but to further fuel my unrest.

I whisper in the dark to myself, platitudes to calm, to caress, to ease tension and bring about somnolence. I say a name without hope for reply.

Without hope for rest.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The truth about Me

I am not an attractive person.

I’ll be the first one to tell you. I’m not beautiful. I’m not a traffic stopper. I’m just who I am. I’m Sara. I’m alright for a Sara. I do okay. I like who I am, and I know who I am. And it’s okay.

It Saturday night in the ‘Gu and I want to go for a drink. I go out alone. I always go out alone. And I always go home alone. It’s the two things you can count on with Sara. She is a bit of a loner. It’s who I am.

I got to Crewbar, which is different form the Lonely Hearts Club in that it has a pool table. The bar is half dead and quiet. Me and ten other people. I’m happy. I’m blissful even. I play pool and I manage to only barely get my ass kicked but pool out the game in the end. A few brilliant shots in side pockets and I’m on the table for two more rounds. I hold up well against the competition. I drink my drinks. I’m alright.

My friend Monolycus, the lone wolf, is in the bar. He swills his beer with blond haired confidence and we talk about life the universe and everything. We try to figure out why the bar is so quiet and it finally dawns on us that the rest of the world is off watching the rugby world cup down at the Lonely Hearts Club. Crewbar is a good place to be. No one wants to deal with the Lonely Hearts Club when it is packed out and not lonely.

I chill and drink and play pool.

It was palpable when the game was over. The bar is suddenly full of people. People I don’t know, and don’t care about. People who will only be out for this night and who I will never see again. I play pool and drink another drink and talk. Drunkman sits across from me and starts to touch my arm. I pull away every time he touches me, watching the lit cigerattee dangle in his arm and wondering when he’s going to light me on fire.

“I’m not bothering you am I?” he asks me.

“Not yet.”

“Don’t want to be a bother.”

I ignore him. I’m not out for a fight. But he perisits. When his cigarette is finished he proceeds to full on attempted groping so I shout across the bar for Monolycus. Mono strolls over huff and gruff which is what I wanted. He asks me what and I whisper in his ear that I’m with him. We make a show of it. I want to end this all peacefully. I don’t want a bar fight. I figure this will avoid it.

Drunkman walks out and away and I figure it’s all over and all well. All good. I drink, I talk, I drink. We have a good time.

The bar is a crazy heady mix of people from a thousand different countries. Accents fly everywhere. The game between Australia and England was heated and Australia’s two point loss is a big deal. There is an undercurrent in the air that is palpable. The clock rings 3 am.

Drunkman suddenly wings back round behind the bar and straight into me, pushing Mono out of the way.

“We’re together:” Mono strains between clenched teeth.

“The fuck you are. You’re married. She’s not your wife. She’s by herself. I’m taking her home. She needs a good fuck.”

“We’re together.” Mono says again, this time between clenched teeth. I hold his arm. I don’t want a fight. A stupid fight. Who would fight over me, that fat girl at the end of the night? Who fights over that.

“Fuck you,” says Drunkman, “You’re a worm, like you mother.”

Mono’s intake of breath is all I need, but suddenly the clasp that holds back the long blond hair is pulled free and he removes his glasses and places them on the bar. Mono is ready to fight. He’ll fight over the insult. And he will fight because he is my friend. Many a person has wondered why I am friends with Mono. I will admit that on his bad days Mono will drive you out of your skull. But if he is your friend, well then, he’ll kill for you without you asking twice. He’s just that kind of guy. And Drunkman had insulted his mother so I was superfluous at this point. That was when the Aussie body builder and the American Biker noticed.

Mono takes off his glasses, everyone turns around.

I don’t want a fight. Why are we fighting over me. I’m going home by myself. So what the fuck is going on. What the hell. My brain screams.

Between the Aussie, the Biker and Mono it is resolved that Drunkman shall leave after apologizing to Mono for the mother slur, and so it happens.

I am left with the Biker. He looks at me.

“What’s so bad about being hit on by some guy? Was it really that bad?”

I walk out and go home alone.

I always go home alone.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bright Light Holiday Eve

I was angry which never helps.

I was angry and so I left point A to head to the Lonely Hearts Club. The Musician was in town and I wanted to hear him play. The world turned on end by a make believe holiday that even Koreans speculate is false. Vodka in my glass and the club full of hearts that do not seem very lonely.

I dont know anyone here.

I dont either. Says the barman as he continues to sling drinks. Its the young crowd, the new group just off the boat, out for fun, for pick ups, to squander their youth like I squandered mine. It makes me dislike them immensely immediately. I am becoming a curmudgeon I think.

The musician finally arrives and we talk for a space in the awkwardly loud space. Its not full yet but it will be soon. As midnight rolls around he gets up to play. Hes big in Japan, he croons, as he plays through the set.

You know why? he asks the crowd. He holds up a hand about chest high Because they are only this tall. I smile because it was clever, but the barflies either fail to get it or do not feel it has any potential for getting them laid so they ignore it and continue screaming. He plays on through his set but the kids around me just talk louder making it impossible to hear and sing along with words that I know all too well.

Gun, the bar angel, hits me on the shoulder. She is angry because I didnt see her and did not say hello. She sits and we talk but she is sad. Her face is pale porcelain under her straight dolls hair, and I look at her as she holds my hand and begins to cry. I pull her into my lap and comfort her. I know how she feels. Its not my place either.

She disappears into the crowd and the Musician has friends in the bar so I head back onto the streets at one a.m. Its not quite on a Tuesday night, it is full of frolic and revelry. I walk in the cool fall weather and feel outside of it all.

I wasnt angry, then, but it was less the ennui. I wasnt really sure.

Harsh neon lights up the skies of the city, with advertisements flickering in a strange foreign language. The streets steam and team with a thousand faces that all look the same at one a.m. in the artificial gloom. Im a shadow walking in the background and the mist and I am nothing.