Sunday, April 05, 2020

Behind the Mask

“The irony of life is that those who wear masks often tell us more truths than those with open faces.” ― Marie Lu

When I was a child, my mother always warned me to bundle up in cold weather.

“You don’t want to get the misery in the chest,” she’d say.

My mother was talking about colds and the flu, of course, but today a much deadlier kind of misery has gripped the world in the form of Covid-19, a.k.a. the coronavirus.

New York City remains the nation’s epicenter for this plague and life as we used to know it has pretty much evaporated.

Today is Palm Sunday, usually a time of joy, as we look forward to Easter and its promise of hope and rebirth.

But now we’re all wearing masks and gloves and the U.S. Surgeon General warned that “this will be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.” God help us.

I did another early morning shopping run yesterday, even earlier than last week’s sojourn.

As I cruised the nearly empty aisles, I saw a young masked man holding his little girl, whose face was also covered, and gently swaying to Night Ranger’s hit “Sister Christian” as it played over the PA system.

Sister Christian, oh, the time has come…

It was eerie watching that young man holding his child and trying to make things look remotely normal. Adults, we hope, have some grasp of this situation, but what do tell a child about this nightmare without scaring the hell out of her?

Surreal scenes abound in this new reality. This afternoon I saw a man crossing Colonial Road with his mask pulled down so he could puff on a cigarette.

I was proud of myself for getting up so early to shop, but joy turned to dismay when I reached the checkout corner and saw all the long lines.

There aren’t as many people working the registers at this time, which seems to defeat the purpose of shopping early in the first place.

I took my place on one of the shorter lines, trying to keep back from the guy in front of me, when a masked dude walked up to me pushing a cart full of groceries.

“Mr. Lenihan…”

It took me a moment, but then I realized it was Al, a man I had grown up with back on Senator Street and whom I’d not seen in years.

I remember cruising with Al and other guys from the neighborhood back in the Night Ranger days of the 1980s.

Thank You, Masked Man

Al would drive us in his massive Cadillac to bars and clubs in Bay Ridge and then sometimes we’d shoot over to Chinatown for a late night/early morning meal at Wo Hop’s.

How Al recognized me beneath my mask and ski cap, I don’t know, but I was so happy to see him—or as much of him that I could see—especially during such an awful time.

“Who would’ve thought we’d be living this way?” I asked.

Certainly not me. Pandemics, lockdowns, and social distancing were all the stuff of science fiction movies and zombie flicks. Fun to watch, but who in the holy screaming hell would ever want to go through that shit for real?

“I used to read about the 1918 Flu Pandemic,” I said, “and I'd think ‘oh, those poor people, they had it bad. But that could never happen to us.’ Who knew?”

I heard a minor commotion up by the register and saw the cashier, a very nice woman whom I routinely chat with, was telling the guy ahead of me repeatedly to step back.

This man stood out because he was one of the few people in the store who wasn't wearing a mask.

The world has gotten so strange that now anyone not wearing a mask looks like a criminal; someone to be fear and avoided.

The guy looked at me, nodded at the cashier, and gave me the eye roll, as if to say, "get her." I said nothing as I stepped a few feet back.

Moments later, I jumped the gun myself, and the cashier had to warn me.

Only instead of an eye roll, I offered an apology knowing that I was in the wrong.

When Al got too close, she backed him up as well.

“I’ve never seen that man before in my life!” I shouted, leveling a finger at Al.

Al and I wished each other well and promised to get together when this insanity finally ends.

I would be blessed a second time that day because after dinner, Craig, a man I worked with at Thomson Reuters, who lives near me, called me out of the blue.

“I’m just reaching out to people,” he said. "I want to see if everyone's okay."

It was just a phone call, but it gave me such an emotional lift. If nothing else, this outbreak is teaching us the value of staying in touch.

Craig and I talked for nearly an hour and it was such a relief to have a real conversation instead of just watching the evening news or the latest Netflix offering.

Isolation, fear, and loneliness can do all sorts of damage and I’m thankful I connected with these guys as we brace for a tough week and pray we don’t get the misery in the chest.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Supermarket Sweep

I rolled through the Superfresh fruits and vegetables section early Saturday singing along with Dan Hartman.

I can dream about you…”

Normally I wouldn’t be singing in public, as I can’t carry a tune in my shopping cart.

But there were so few people around I didn’t have to worry about frightening anyone with my impromptu karaoke hour.

Normally I’d be at the gym at this time of the morning, getting a sound but controlled thrashing from my informal boxing coach before bouncing over to the cycling class for 45 minutes of sustained cardio abuse.

“…if I can’t hold you tonight.

And normally I’d do my grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon, when the store is so crowded and noisy you can barely hear yourself think, let alone decipher whatever the hell is playing on the sound system.

But “normal” doesn’t count for much in today’s pandemic reality, now that the gyms are closed and the threat of Covid-19 means I need to get my rear-end up to the store before the crowds and their germs roll in.

I’m vacillating between numbed acceptance of this unacceptable situation and barely restrained terror as the number of coronavirus deaths continue to climb; as New York, my hometown, turns into Corona Central and my country’s virus body count surpasses China’s, the flashpoint for this nonstop hell ride.

Most of the people in the store were wearing masks, so the place looked like an ER with a produce aisle. I had gloves on, of course, but I haven’t gone the mask route yet because doctors have been saying they don’t offer much protection.

But I’m getting so tense that I’m thinking of buying a mask just to sooth my nerves—sort of a lucky rabbit’s foot I can wrap around my face.

George Michael’s “Faith” was next up on the store’s hit parade, another song from the Eighties, when the only time we might have used the word “pandemic” would’ve been in reference to the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918.

But back then most of us didn’t think that this sort outbreak would ever happen again. We know better now, I thought, as I moved through the empty aisles and hummed along with two dead men.

I got to have faith, faith, faith...”

Game On

I saw a bunch of kids playing near Narrows Avenue last week, happily oblivious to the fear that’s eating away at the adults around them. Two boys approached a girl on her bike and asked her if she wanted to join the game.

“Sure,” she said.

“Good,” one boy told her. “You’re it!”

“Why?” she demanded, her face falling.

I kept walking, so I didn’t hear the explanation.

I fondly recalled the days when being “it” was such a terrible stigma that you needed to cleanse yourself as quickly as possible.

Of course, back then all you had to do to be free was tag a kid who was slower than you.

“It” has taken a much darker meaning now and nobody wants to get tagged in this deadly game.

I went to bed early on Friday so I could get up early for my shopping expedition and, as I switched off the TV, I looked out my living room window at the lights in other homes, and the apartment building one block over.

Each glowing window looked like a campfire, and I thought of ancient times when our ancestors huddled around flames to stay warm and safe. Modern society is disconnected enough, but this disease has driven us further apart, back to our own separate campfires.

As I approached the checkout line Saturday morning, a cashier in a surgical mask held up her gloved hand to keep me six feet of social distance away.

I appreciated her vigilance and I was starting to relax a little bit--until I turned around to see a woman so close behind me she could’ve been auditioning to be my proctologist.

“Whoa!” I said, quickly creating some space.

This woman apparently had been in a coma for the last few weeks because she came barreling up to register and had to be stopped by the cashier.

“Stay back,” the cashier said.

I didn’t catch this loser’s next comment, which apparently referred to me, but the cashier’s retort came in loud and clear.

“It’s not about him,” she said sharply. “It’s about me. I’m not getting sick.”

The cashier has a right to be fearful. Unlike me, she can’t work from home. She has to be here with the crowds and their germs whether she wants to be or not.

“Stay safe,” I told her as I left.

“You, too.”

Yeah, we gotta have faith because right now we don’t have much else.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Slow Train Crashing

It took me a while, but I finally deleted the Girl from the North Country entry from my calendar last week.

My family and I were supposed to see Conor McPherson’s fabulous play this afternoon, but after the coronavirus pulled the plug on Broadway, the show definitely wasn’t going on.

I knew for a long time that it wasn’t going to happen, but I still couldn’t bring myself to clear the date on my I-phone.

Maybe if I saved the date I could save the show.

Girl from the North Country takes place in a rundown boarding house in 1934 Duluth, Minnesota, the birthplace of Bob Dylan, and the show makes extensive use of Dylan’s songs.

That may sound strange—and it is—but it also works brilliantly.

I first saw the play at the Old Vic in London three years ago and I loved it so much that I saw it again with my sister and auntie when it came to the Public Theater.

And I was all set to see it again at the Belasco Theater until life as we know it came to an abrupt halt. The times, they have a-changed.

I had to settle for listening to the show’s soundtrack with songs like “Sing on the Window” and “Slow Train Coming.”

The signs on the windows are all saying “Closed Due to the Coronavirus” as this pandemic rolls over us like a slow train that keeps on coming no matter what we do.

St. Patrick’s Day came and went with no parade in New York City, which would’ve broken my father’s heart. I didn’t even bother wearing anything green that day, which would've pissed him off.

If St. Patrick could drive out the snakes, do you think he could chase out the coronavirus?

I’ve been working from home and, as a business writer, I have a front row seat to the daily debacle on Wall Street.

On Wednesday I was writing a story about Walt Disney Co.’s financial worries related to the virus while listening to Frank Sinatra on YouTube singing “How About You?

The song celebrates all the little pleasant things in life that seemed mundane at the time.

You Ain’t A-Goin’ Nowhere

We can still do some of them, despite the pandemic. I like New York in June, especially if this plague has moved on by then, like some people are predicting.

I also like a Gershwin tune and I love a fireside when a storm is due.

Holding hands in the movie show when all the lights are low may not be new, but right now it’s impossible with all the theaters closed.

As I wrote the story about Disney I was stunned to see how this massive company was so uncertain about its future, now that so many of its revenue streams—movies, TV, theme parks, and cruises—had gone dry.

YouTube switched from Dean Martin just then and Dino started crooning his way through Bobby Goldsboro’s 1968 sob sister saga “Honey,” about a guy’s adorable young wife who suddenly dies.

From Bob Dylan to Bobby Goldsboro. Where’s St. Patrick when you need him?

The song is a nightmare, an audio shit show, that should only be played to cast out demons or irrigate your bowels.

Rolling Stone readers in a 2011 survey declared “Honey” the second-worst song of the 1960s, prompting the musical question, what in the holy, screaming Jesus was Number 1?

Wait a minute. On second thought, I don’t think I want to know.*

But this song, as awful as it is, does address the issue of sudden, unimaginable loss, which takes on a new meaning in these troubled times.

A few weeks ago, I ordered the TV show Lost from Netflix, as I’m probably the only person on earth who hasn’t seen this series, which debuted in 2004.

I keep waiting for them to send me Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but it’s always listed as “short wait,” so now I’m slowly getting into a show about a group of plane crash survivors trapped on a seemingly deserted island and forced to survive.

I’m still having trouble getting my head around the new abnormal. I look at the photos in my phone, taken just a few weeks ago, and they seem as old and dated as 19th Century daguerreotypes.

One day last week Facebook replayed images and memes I had posted on the same day in previous years.

Just 12 months ago I took a photo of the sunrise after I stepped off the ferry at Wall Street. That night I snapped a shot of the moon shining over the Narrows.

I wonder what I did that day in between those pictures. Was I happy? Was I grateful? Or did I grumble about inconsequential nonsense, never knowing that just 12 months later I’d be stranded in my home, practicing something called “social distancing.”

It’s only been a short time and we have a long way to go but I’m fed up with this way of life, I hate having to wear gloves to pick up the mail, avoiding human contact and washing my hands more often than Lady MacBeth.

I’m tired of being afraid all the time, of being isolated, and being cut off from the people, places and things I love.

How about you?

*Yummy, Yummy, Yummy by Ohio Express

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Work and Plague

Everything seemed normal until I stepped off the elevator.

I returned to my office on Friday morning after working from home for three days as our company—along with the rest of the world—ducks and covers from COVID-19.

I didn’t want to be here. As a lifelong hypochondriac, the very mention of sickness has me diving under the bed and reaching for the Rosary beads.

But I had an appointment with audiologist in the morning and then I planned to hit the gym after the work, do some shopping for my auntie and run like hell back to Brooklyn.

The fact that this was Friday the 13th didn't help matters worth a damn.

As I stood in the pouring rain waiting for my bus, I thought that I must be the only idiot in town going into the city during a plague. Yet the X27 was packed and traffic on the Belt Parkway was bumper to bumper.

The ride into Manhattan seemed normal except, perhaps, when the bus driver cheerfully reminded us to wash our hands.

The Oculus was crowded, as it always is during rush hour, and the only things slightly out of the ordinary were a few people in surgical masks and a guy standing by the PATH train entrance handing out religious booklets.

“Only Jesus can save you,” he harangued the passing commuters who devoutly ignored him. “Only Jesus can save you!”

I felt compelled to take one of his booklets. Usually I get annoyed with these fanatics who always materialize whenever there’s a crisis, but this man wasn’t hurting anybody.

And if this pandemic gets anywhere near as bad as the experts say it will, if we’re really only weeks away from the nightmare that’s ravaging Italy right now, I might be standing right next to him handing out booklets, too.

I had just about convinced myself that this was like any other day, until I stepped off the elevator at the 27th floor and walked into complete darkness.

It only took a second for the motion detectors to switch on the lights, but it was long enough to remind me that the we are living in a different time.

There were only handful of people on the entire floor and as I looked at the rows and rows of empty desks, the blank computer screens, and the overall lack of life, I thought of “Ghost Town,” a song from way back in 1981 by The Specials.

Corona, Corona…

This town is coming like a ghost town, all the clubs have been closed down…

The song was written in a different time about a different city facing a different challenge, but it seems like the perfect soundtrack for these pandemic days.

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown…

I usually have a fabulous view from my office, but on Friday I could see nothing but fog and rain swirling outside the window.

We’re all in the same situation now, trying to keep calm and carry on as we move blindly through the dark clouds.

Life as we know it is shutting down; Broadway, Disneyland, schools, churches, and entire countries are in lockdown.

This is now the age of social distancing, something I’ve been doing most of my life—until the loneliness and despair got so bad that I forced myself to get the hell out of the house, meet people, and do something other than the "Netflix and Rot" routine.

Now everyone is getting in on my act and while the comfort zone-seeking side of my personality probably welcomes the isolation, I know this is an unnatural and unhealthy way to live and I wish I had been more outgoing when I had the chance.

It turned out my aunt didn’t need any help shopping, but she did call to strenuously warn me against going to my boxing class out of fear of being exposed to the coronavirus.

I’ve been in denial about this all week, but it’s hard to ignore the reality. You’re sweating and moving around in a small room with a bunch of strangers.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story called "The Masque of the Red Death," where a corrupt prince throws a party for his noblemen, oblivious to a plague that is ravaging the countryside—until it shows up uninvited.

It was written in a different time and about a different place, but it comes to mind now as we contend with a relentless predator that is not in the least bit impressed by bulging biceps or washboard abs.

The rain stopped by midday and by quitting time the sun was shining on what looked like an entirely different day. I could see Jersey across the river and down to the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge.

It was hard to believe there was anything to be afraid of out there and I’m hoping that soon we’ll be able sing and dance while the music plays in a de boomtown.

I don’t know when I’ll get back to my office and it occurs to me know that I left the PATH station preacher’s booklet on my desk. I sure as hell ain’t going back for it, but I do recall the quotation on the cover.

It was Psalm 104:5: “He set the earth on its foundations, never to be moved.”

Let us pray.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Girl in the Hood

She looked like something you'd see in a dream...

I like to get to work early so I can beat the crowds, enjoy a leisurely stroll to my office, and get a start on my day.

It's a bit of a hike from the bus stop to my new office in Brookfield Place and on cold days, I'll walk through the Oculus to avoid the freezing temperatures.

I can travel underground for about three blocks zip right up to the 27th floor without ever going outside.

If my timing is good, I can stroll through this massive transportation hub pretty much by myself and it's so quiet and vast that I feel as if I'm walking through a cathedral.

On Wednesday, I had just stepped on the first of three escalators to the ground floor, when I saw this young Asian woman a few steps ahead of me.

She was lovely. Her face was flawless, her hair was woven into two long braids, and she was wearing--seriously--a long red cloak with a hood and a flower embroidered on the back.

This ain't no ordinary commuter, I thought.

This woman looked as is she had just stepped out of a child's dream or a book of fairy tales. Little Red Riding Hood is the most obvious choice here, but I was thinking of Chinese historical dramas and martial arts films.

I was still kind of sleepy and I thought perhaps I was hallucinating, but, no, she was quite real.

Living in New York, I should be used to seeing all sorts of unusual getups. The bizarre outfits that some people chose to wear in this town is part of the city's charm.

But this woman fascinated me. I kept wondering where she had come from. Was she a tourist wandering alone in strange city? There's a Chinese dance company currently performing at Lincoln Center. Perhaps she was a member of the cast.

But then what the hell was she doing walking around the Oculus in costume at 7AM?

I wanted to know her story, but I wanted to respect her privacy. I don't think any woman would appreciate a strange man approaching her in a nearly deserted train station and asking about her wardrobe.

And this is America after all, she's free to wear whatever she wants. As a New Yorker I should just pretend that I don't even notice her because I'm just so cool and funky--not like the rest of the losers around here.

Red Hearing

The sight of this woman reactivated this particular ear worm that has been slithering around my brain for the last few days.

The song--stop here if you don't want to catch the worm, too--is the 1986 clunker "Lady in Red" by Chris de Burgh which began playing in my head without warning or invitation early last week.

If you don't know it, consider yourself lucky. If you do, I'm sorry for reminding you about it.

And if you like it...what the hell is wrong with you?

"Lady in Red" was a monstrous hit when it came out, but there has been a decided backlash in the last quarter century.

One survey called it the 10th most annoying song of all time, while Rolling Stone readers voted it the third worst song of the 1980s. Another poll called it the sixth worst love song of all time, and a 2001 survey dubbed it the fourth most hated UK number-one single.

So I guess you guys didn't care for it?

The tune really is slow, sappy, and definitely worthy of all that scorn and much more, and under different circumstances I'd be furious beyond all reason at the way it zombie-walked back into my mind and refused to leave.

But I'm more fascinated with how this dreary ditty came into my noodle in the first place. I haven't heard it on the radio or a store sound system; it wasn't playing on any radio or TV show that I watched. Nobody even whistled the damn thing in my presence.

Like my friend on Wednesday morning, the song appeared from nowhere.

I never did find out the young woman's story, which I do regret, but now I'm free to create one of my own. Maybe she was a runaway princess escaping an evil warlord, or a time traveler arriving from the distant past before moving on to the impossible future.

Sure, she also might have been a cashier at a takeout joint in Hoboken racing to catch the PATH train, but where's the fun in that?

The questions will remained unanswered since my lady in red disappeared into the heart of the Oculus.

I'm hoping the song will do the same thing.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Devil May Puke

Okay, so what did I do to deserve this one?

As a lifelong Catholic, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways the Good Lord might be trying to enlighten me.

If something bad happens, it couldn’t possibly be bad luck, rotten timing or poor choices. No, it clearly means that I’m being punished for some vile sin that I’ve committed.

Now having had the profound displeasure of suffering through I Saw the Devil, a two-hour hate crime masquerading as a movie, I find myself looking up to the Heavens and respectfully asking, “WTF?”

This 2010 Korean nonstop maim-fest is apparently about a secret agent who exacts revenge on a serial killer for the murder of his girlfriend through a series of captures and releases.

I say “apparently” because I quickly lost track of the narrative as I reeled from the stabbings, decapitations, and acts of cannibalism.

I’m certainly seen my share of violent movies over the years but this thing makes Silence of the Lambs look like Pinocchio.

Women get the worst of it in this movie, suffering in ways I don’t want to describe.

So what most grievous fault did I commit to warrant such an atrocious experience?

I don’t recall drop-kicking a nun into Lake Erie or cheating at Monopoly with the Archbishop, but I am getting pretty forgetful lately—and if I did any of those things, I am indeed sorry.

I briefly wondered if I was missing some kind of cultural reference, seeing as I don’t know much about Korea.

Breakfast With Beelzebub

But that's not true. I’ve enjoyed plenty of Korean films, including Memories of Murder, a fantastic movie that was also about a serial killer, but it was told in an engaging and intelligent way—unlike I Saw the Devil.

Memories of Murder was directed by Bong Joon Ho, who just won the Academy Award for Parasite, which I have not seen yet, but which got the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief so upset he flipped his orange combover as he waxed nostalgic over Gone With the Wind.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am compelled to say that I Saw the Devil received rave reviews online. Looking over the comments section on, I came across such headlines “Bloody Masterpiece,” “Brutally Profound” and “Best Revenge Film Ever.”

Normally, this kind of enthusiasm would be enough to motivate me to watch the film a second time to see if I might have missed something, but even a good Catholic boy shouldn’t have to suffer that much.

The theater critic John Simon once said “shock is the last bastion of the impotent” and those words came back to me in capital letters as I watched hellish film.

Yes, I could’ve hit the “eject” button at any time and put an end to this abuse. But I like giving films a chance to redeem themselves. Finally, though, I hit the fast forward button, raced to the ending, and bailed on this nightmare.

I couldn’t wait to get that disc out of my house. I felt like I should’ve been wearing a Hazmat suit and wielding surgical tongs as I put the DVD into the return envelope.

I sprinted to the nearest mailbox to get rid of the film and I would’ve run all the way to Netflix’s office in Trenton if it meant never seeing this thing again.

But it seems this particular nightmare isn’t over yet. When I typed the title into IMDB’s search engine yesterday, I came across a second film by that name.

It seems that an American version of I Saw the Devil is in the works.

Excuse me while I go to confession...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Last 'Hola'

I won’t be sorry to leave behind the fright night elevators and the arctic air conditioning, but I’ll sure miss Marisol.

My company closed down its Wall Street office on Friday after more than 20 years on the 15th floor; and we’re taking our act one train stop and a world away to Brookfield Place, a.k.a. the World Financial Center, right across the street from the World Trade Center.

Moving crews were pulling TV’s off the walls on Friday afternoon as we emptied the contents of our desks into boxes. Even the company logo over the reception desk was removed and packed away. It was kind of eerie.

I have a divided history with the place, having worked there for two years from 2006 to 2008, and then returning last March for my latest gig with the company.

I’m also divided emotionally. I’ve already mentioned my rather terrifying history with the building’s elevators, but we also had a psychotic air conditioning system that blew freezing cold air through the newsroom even in the depths of winter.

It would get so cold that I took to wearing an old sweatshirt around the office with the hood pulled up to protect my gorgeous head.

“Are you the Grim Reaper?” a co-worker asked one particularly frigid morning.

“No,” I said, “but stick around. He’s bound to make an appearance.”

I started my first day in this building last year in a blizzard. I was fortunate enough to get into the city without any hassle, but nearly all of the top staff, including my boss, couldn’t get in and had to work remotely.

And that was the morning I met Marisol, a lovely young woman who works for building security.

She was short-handed on that first wintry morning and forced to command the front desk on her own. And yet she was so polite and helpful when I arrived, explaining to me that there was no one in my office yet.

And we just hit it off. She took to calling me the more formal-sounding “Robert,” probably getting that from my driver’s license, and even though I prefer “Rob”, I never bothered to correct her.

Move On Up

I always greeted her with a hearty “Hola, como estas?”—the only Spanish I know—and chat with her before getting boarding one of those awful elevators.

Some days when I was feeling really down, I’d go out of my way to walk over to the Pine Street entrance where Marisol was working, just to see a friendly face.

“I always remembered your name because you started during the snowstorm,” she told me.

There were other pluses about the old neighborhood.

I loved the relatively short commute and the nice little world we had around us, with Wall Street right outside the front door, the ferry docks a few blocks away, and Trinity Church across Broadway and my beloved Our Lady of Victory Church just down the street.

During the summer, I enjoyed watching the squads of tourists march through the area and in the winter, I loved the massive Christmas tree that stood outside the stock market and the Salvation Army guy who danced his keister off to get people to fill his kettle.

Now I’ve got a new address.

I took a walk around Brookfield Place on Friday afternoon and I have to say it is a beautiful place with stores, a dining area, and the wonderous Winter Garden Atrium, which hosts concerts and other events.

And there’s the North Cove Marina and an ice-skating rink right outside.

The complex overlooks the Hudson River and the area is a bit nippy right now, but it is stunning in the spring and summer. I suspect I’ll be eating lunch outdoors a lot as the weather gets warmer.

As I was leaving the Wall Street office, I made sure to exit by the Pine Street door, so I could say goodbye to Marisol and thank her for all her kindness and help during the last year. I’m going to miss her and I wish nothing her but the best.

Tomorrow morning, I report to the new digs on Liberty Street. I feel a little nervous, but that will pass as soon as I get set up at my new desk.

And then it’s back to work.