Do you know what time it is?

“Do you know what time it is!?” was what woke me up my first morning in Providence. I jolted up and saw Lauren standing over me.

“No, what time is it?”


Usually that shit bothers me. I remember one time in Boston Leonor woke me up by running a finger along the inside of my exposed bicep. I, ticklish and jumpy in my sleep, did not appreciate that.

But now somehow, incoherent and on the verge of heart failure, still trying to get out of my dream, whatever it was, I didn’t mind.

I hadn’t meant to sleep that late. But I’d been up for a few hours in the very early morning, probably not used to a lack of air conditioning and no lack of natural sunlight streaming in through the windows. I’m so spoiled in Queens. (Except, of course, for having to sleep on a couch in my mom’s living room.) It’s no wonder I never go out anymore.

But on this particular morning- or rather, afternoon- that of Sunday, August 14, 2005- I was itching to go. And find me some air conditioning.

After lauren made me coffee and we talked about how she’s thinking of moving down south and I’m thinking of moving back to providence (part 10,000 of that conversation), she left for work and I took a cold shower.

I walked, from her flat on Broadway all the way to the Cable Car on South Main. Heat is one thing, but finagling Rhode Island buses on a Sunday is quite another.

It was a nice walk anyway, through downtown, across the river. I am assaulted with such a plethora of memories no where else. And certainly nothing close to the span of time.

Look, there’s the lot where me and Erin used to go hang out with that guy who worked there when it was a gas station, circa 1997. And the fire station, where we took the middle school kids to on a tour, in 2001 or 2002. And harc!, Trinity theatre, where I interned in 1998-99, and the Brewhouse on the back, still with that brilliant sign: Beer Pool Beer Pinball Beer.

And then the RISD auditorium, where I spent a lot of time that week I volunteered for the film festival in 2000. And alas, here we are at the Cable Car, my favorite cinema in the world, where I saw Jyothi for the last time, my last week in town, August 2002. Where I saw “Ghost World”. And “Far From Heaven”. The newest version of “The Importance Of Being Earnest”. And where I will now see “The Baxter”, the Michael Showalter film, as part of the 2005 Rhode Island International Film Festival.

After the film I got another coffee and talked to a couple after the man got on my case for chewing my nails. He hit me on the head with his umbrella whenever I’d even look at my nails or stick the umbrella in my face between my mouth and hands. It was so bizarre, so unlike anything anyone would even consider doing in New York. It made me love Providence even more.


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