Advil or Something Quiet

I’ve had this headache for two years now.

I clench my eyes as though they were fists, and rub small circles into my temple with my knuckles. I wonder if Elizabeth notices. Our mutual workspace is cut in half by a short, beige wall, which stands almost exactly a foot higher than our white desk. If I roll my chair six inches to the right, we will be staring at one another. I hear her while she eats. She eats all day long: salads, sandwiches, carrots, apples, candies—Mike & Ikes, usually. She, on the other hand, is forced to listen to whatever music I have in the office. Lucky for her, I've been in the mood for nothing but quiet songs.

And then I wait patiently while she has her sneezing fits. And she pretends not to notice when I sigh, grunt, and curse. Etcetera. It’s a good thing we’re friends.

In Newark, NJ, where I grew up, my parents rented a small two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a roach- and mouse-infested building: 45 Richards Street. It was white. My best friend—Tico Colon—lived directly across from us, in the small, second floor apartment of 47 Richards Street. The building was completely identical to ours, except, somehow, there were no roaches or mice. And it was blue.

When we weren’t allowed to go outside and play together, I’d open our living room window wide, and call out: "Tico!" Soon, he’d appear in his living room window. We’d spend hours together like that, me and Tico at our small, second floor windows, playing with Matchbox cars or screaming about baseball.

Luckily, Elizabeth and I don’t need to scream. I place printouts of the latest Table of Contents for our December issue and/or Hershey’s Kisses on the small ledge between us. Elizabeth knows to take them. Screaming would be too much for this headache of mine. I wonder if this headache has something to do with my current taste in music. Or is it simply that I’m not ten years old anymore?

We got paid today. Yes, I get paid for gathering this wool. I’m thinking about going across the street to Duane Reade and buying a bottle of the biggest, strongest Advil I can find.

In the last half-hour, two friends have swooshed in with e-mails, asking if I’ll be at certain rock shows tonight. Andrea will be at Pianos for a band called Beat The Devil. Melissa will be at The Loop Lounge for our friends in Rye Coalition. It’s a bit interesting that a band of Rye’s experience—they’ve gone on nationwide tours with Queens of the Stone Age and The Mars Volta—would be playing at the small and tucked-away Loop Lounge in Passaic, NJ. But, then again, as Tris McCall pointed out, we don’t have many places to rock in New Jersey. The Loop will have to do. It’s a decent place, in case you’re curious, with red lights and a dance floor and a sound that’s so-so. Better than some. Not bad.

I’m getting around to saying: I’m far too tired to even think about going to a rock show on a Friday night after work. I wouldn’t mind a walk to the record store, however. We did get paid today, after all. I’m thinking of buying something quiet.

Also: A little birdie told me that a cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich make for a very comforting meal on a rainy day. I'm willing to bet that's the truth.

elizabeth's picture

I totally notice when Stephen has a headache and I feel terrible and wish I could help. Though we are friends and enjoy sharing a space in the middle of our small office here on Maddison Ave., in the Big Apple (not much to complain about there," though the chance to say ""I work on 5th Ave."," Mom"" was a bit more impressive -- the old office was at 110 at 5th.)", I still wonder if it wouldn't be better for both of us if we both had offices...I love shooting the &^%# with everyone as they walk by, don't get me wrong. And we both love how close we are to JA, but on deadline, at least, the privacy (and lack of food noises) might be nice.Sorry about the loud munching!!!!: )

Vladimir's picture

To hell with quiet music, best thing to do when you feel the urge for depresive second hand rainny mornings at work is to skip the hello with your beloved Elizabet, plug off the phone, don't work (but you can still lie about it) and do waht I do Stephen.........Listen to Frank Zappa - in New yourk or what ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Dammmmm that kills you in the morning. Like black hot turqish coffee and lazy naked woman in bed. The best mornings I've ever had were histerical and yet fun. There is a moral in this also (I think): If you fall , fall with style.Recomendation complete.

Todd Steponick's picture

Yes, fall with style. And for quiet music, I heartily reccomend the new Brian Eno album, Another Day On Earth. Oh my stars, this is so brilliant. I downloaded some songs just now, because I can't wait until I finally get to the store and buy one. Thanks, Acquisition.

Todd Steponick's picture

And I hope you feel better. Maybe the headache is from caffeine?

Stephen Mejias's picture

Wow, right now, I can't think of anything better than some black hot Turkish coffee and a lazy, naked woman. In bed!
[Editor's Note: I could barely type that without cracking up! Thanks for the smiles, Vladimir. Elizabeth is looking at me like I'm crazy.]Thanks for ALL the recommendations, guys!(I still have a headache, though.)