Friday, October 10, 2008


I had this idea I’d reverse-commute to Rockaway this morning, to pick up my car, and since I was awake at five-thirty, I decided to act on it. I got a train down to Wall Street, and the place was swarming with TV cameras. Oh, yeah … the market is tanking.

I plowed down the middle of Wall Street, against the crowd, which was thin yet. Near the river, I tried to see if I recognized any of my erstwhile fellow-commuters disembarking from the 5:45. It was almost 6:45, and I know that the ferry doesn’t wait around but has to get back to Rockaway in time for the 7:45 run. There was no sign of it when I got to the pier. I don’t know if the American Princess is back on the route, but I didn’t see any ferries from New York Water Taxi. I had missed the boat. Still, it was very beautiful down by the river, with boats coming and going. I thought about taking ship to Jersey City, as long as I was up and about, but decided against it.

So I went back up Wall Street to get the train home, putting off my trip to Rockaway till tomorrow. On the way, I was approached by a TV camerawoman, Vivien Lee, from NY1, who asked me if I was one of those stockholders who were panicking and selling off. I told her I was not, that I figured the market would go back up again. I said I had my head stuck deep in the sand. I don’t think they’ll put that on TV.

If I had been smart, I would have kept my money in this low-interest but stable fund that I can’t even remember the name of, because I don’t like risk, but I got swindled by some jerk at Merrill Lynch and saw my little nest egg dwindle in the dot-com crash. I moved it, out of hatred for Merrill Lynch, saw it grow again, and now I have a system: Never open financial mail at night. I don’t want to ruin the evening by agonizing over bad financial news. If I put it off till morning, chances are, in the rush to get to the office, I’ll forget about it. Same thing the next day: the conscious decision not to open the envelope at night, followed by the unconscious failure to open the envelope the next morning. One day, when I’m in a bad mood anyway, I rip open all the envelopes and contemplate suicide. But not today.

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