Samurai Mode

What have we here?

I wake up. Twelve hours have gone by since I crashed. The funk of the work week had to leave my body, so I showered. The weight of the work week had to leave my soul so I slept.

But my body still hurts. My mind is still full.

And when I open the door to my room, my old man gives me this look like he’s expecting my wrath to explode like napalm. He isn’t scared. He’s braced.

I don’t care. It’s time to go about my business.

The bathroom is hot and it smells. I feel like a layer of grease just settled over my body. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the sizzle of bacon. I would shower again, but the hot water has been turned off. Swell.

Errands need to be run. Bills need to be paid. And .. Are you fucking kidding me? Someone needs to be taken care of again.

I don’t do that anymore. It’s been made clear that I have no authority here. I’d flip them all the bird, but I’m in some sort of hurry that I can’t even explain.

After a short time on the internet, I find some coffee and get dressed. Like a bat out of Hell, I fly from my home, determined not to look back. I got up late, and it still feels like I’m the early bird of my house. I don’t understand it. It feels pathetic somehow.

The first order of business is to go to my bank. I don’t realize it until I step outside, but the humidity hasn’t gone away. New York feels like a Turkish Bath, except for the fact that I can’t walk around in the buff.

I don’t know why, but the humidity just makes me want to move faster. If I have to sweat, I might as well do it while accomplishing something. It’s the same mentality I had yesterday at work. There was no AC there either. The promised repairs on the system hadn’t been made. I wasn’t surprised.

I had a mountain of work to do. I leveled the mountain. I did it with an economy of motion. I did it with few words. There were no surprises.

That’s what a warrior does.

My mind hasn’t left warrior mode. I move across the street with as few steps as possible. I am aware of people only as moving obstacles. I see them in my periphery as I zoom by. Appearance matters little. Speed is of the essence.

But it’s my first day off of work for the week. My mental state flies in the face of that fact. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I understand this. Somehow, I’ll get to the point where I’ll relax.

Now is just not that time.

I make my way to the bank and wait on the line of people. I look behind me once I step inside the building. People walk inside, intent on the same thing I am. They all seek to interact with a machine. That interaction will be the longest one some of these people have with anything outside of their own essence. Why this occurs to me at this moment escapes me.

When my turn comes, I do what I need to do and I leave. No muss, no fuss.

I hold the door open for about nine different people before I even get to walk back outside. Somehow I beat the after work, pre dinner bank rush. I smirk as I step out onto the street again.

But I don’t run my errands right away. There is something else I need to do first. I don’t bother to make sense of it. I just know what I’m feeling. I’m pent up. There is aggression in my steps. There is tension in my muscles. My clothes feel like just another layer of skin. I am already naked to the rest of the world.


The exception is my eyes.

I think about this as I thread the needle of my soul through countless other pedestrians on the New York Streets. My glasses are compact, graduated transition lenses. In the sun, they darken. At times, I forget this fact. I somehow hang onto to it today like a lifeline. Why? What is it in my eyes that I don’t want others to see? What am I hiding in the supposed windows to my soul?

As if in response to this thought, a woman stares my way. She’s wearing a form fitting blue sun dress. She’s also wearing shades. The corners of her mouth twitch upward. I can’t help but return the gesture, even as I rush by her like a bullet train with a cracked out conductor.

Is this how New Yorkers interact now? Maybe it’s always been this way.

My father tells me stories about running into friends on the street all the time. I’ve walked with him for years. He used to be like me. When there was a slew of things to do, he did them with a brutal sort of efficiency.

But he got older. Silver and grey encroached on his beard like a reverse oil spill in the Hudson. Somehow, along with that silver came a propensity to slow down and look at every random thing he could in every store that he ever shops in.

It drives me to the point where I grind my teeth and want to stomp my foot in frustration.

Running errands with him will always be this way now. I’ve had to learn to accept it. I’ve also had to learn to say no when I know that the frustration will make me want to kick him in the shins. I don’t know that it’s his fault. He’s retired. He spent 21 years of his life doing a job that I can’t even imagine doing. He’s earned the right to slow down and smell the technicolor flowers.

So why can’t I do that?

The work week has come and gone. Granted most of my work has been fast and somewhat hard on the physical body, I can handle it very well.

But I’m not a spring chicken. I’m in my  thirties, still trying to figure my shit out. I’m trying to launch the life that I want. I don’t want the life that others think I should have.

It’s difficult to get people to understand that part of me.

I’m reconciling all of this as I continue to speed through people. They simply look like columns of light to me shooting out from a flowing blue stream. I can shuck and dodge my way past objects like that.

At times, I don’t want to deal with people, but it’s easier to get lost in a crowd. That irony will always be with me in New York City.

Today is no exception. My quick footwork gets attention from some. The way I’m dressed gets attention from others. I meet people’s gazes, glances, or glares with equal measure. I don’t shy away from anyone’s attention anymore. When I consider that I am editing a book that I hope to get published someday, I can ill afford to be shy much longer. When I consider what I’m writing about, spotting the Naked Cowboy on Times Square in his tightie whities might not be such a big deal. Being a New Yorker almost makes my direct personality a necessity. The reputation that New Yorkers have for being blunt is well deserved.

I came home for a reason. It had nothing to do with family. It had nothing to do with the economy or with my aversion to Midwestern living.

I returned to reclaim my muse. But to do that, I needed to reclaim who I am.

That process is never easy. It’s taken me a year of living here to remember the parts of me that I loved. Like a defragging, I’ve had to sort through and remove the other parts of me that no longer serve.

The most straightforward part of my psyche is also the most unnerving. This is my inner Samurai.

In the moments where I speed walk along Times Square and find the wormholes that let me punch a hole through the world, I am in Samurai mode.

In Samurai mode, I don’t waste time. People have called me ninja. I used to think this was cool. But I realize now that they only call me this because I move when they’re busy standing still. I act when they are busy reacting.

I get from point a to point b when people aren’t even paying attention.

If I do this to you someday, it won’t be because you blinked and I seek to dazzle with preternatural speed. I’m simply in my Samurai state. Since it seems I can’t walk down a NYC street without being noticed, I can’t really be a ninja anyway. But I can still move too fast for you to catch. I forge ahead with purpose. I exude the strength of my will. It seeps from my pours. It crackles like electricity. It strikes like forked lightning through a turbulent sky.

I do this because I must. I have to get beyond the confusion and mediocrity of my past. I need to surge past the static waters of my immediate surroundings.

I will make my way to the future. If it means we befriend each other along the way, then so be it. You can either raise your weapon and join me on the road to your own future, or you can stay out of my way. In samurai mode, I feel no compassion. I sense no sadness from others because it doesn’t register. I have no mercy. Those things slow me down. They keep my wheels spinning at the times when I want to be skimming over water or soaring  through the air.

In samurai mode, I won’t stop to mourn you if you fall.

If nobody else will unclip my wings, I’ll use my sword to unclip them myself.

I will draw blood from God himself if he tries to stop me.

3 Responses to “Samurai Mode”

  1. ‘Threading the needle of my soul’ A beautiful and poignant statement. I hope you reach your destination safely and that you are happy when you arrive. Cut the bonds that tie your wings but don’t cut the bonds of your heart Angel.

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