It was my second trip to Ikea in three days, and I'd been happy to spot the 'American Stevedores' sign as the bus took a sharp left. Not only was I on the right route (rhymes with gout, not boot), but I was almost in series two of the Wire. I felt like drinking in the daytime and donating a window to the nearest church - the one on the corner of my block had rung out its bells this morning, making me smile. Being on buses on my own makes me nervous. I compulsively check road signs off against my mental map (invariably faulty) and, where possible, an actual map. I always seem to be in the crease of my guide book's Brooklyn map. Serves me right for needing a crutch I suppose; there's something deeply suspect about using a guide book at all, when I'm supposed to be living here. My new apartment's not on the map, but I know where it is. Just not which way to turn out of it. Or which bus stop is closest.
Having gotten a little trigger-happy with the stop-bus-tape (not just buttons here, my friend), I got out far too early. Trudging along Atlantic Avenue with my bright blue Ikea sack slung over my shoulder, I had to move to let a woman past. She didn't bother to stop and look at me or my innovative storage solutions. Her bulging plastic bags were arranged on a metal pole which she held over her shoulders, as if she were harvesting rice rather than heading home from the 99 cents store. She was slight, wizened, and, in my head at least, wearing a faded blue Mao suit. I only wish she'd been there the day before, when my arms had given way in the street under the weight of two free dining room chairs and a brown 70's dinner service.