It was one of New York’s cloudy and windy days. George didn’t realize the different light surrounding him when the subway entered the tunnel. It was no surprise that morning caught him in the middle of the perpetual mobile his life became, bouncing back and forth between his home in Astoria, Queens and his Manhattan office. It was a hard work practice. Sometimes up to 20 hours a day. Plus, the commute – the only time George took to reflect on his decisions. Past or present. If he was to answer why he wanted to be a web designer, he would say that the creative specific of his job was enough to keep him entertained. Time proved this could easily lose significance when compared to the urban challenges he sometimes had to face.
Enjoying his last minutes of quality time the commute turned into, George remembered it was his birthday. He was 37 now. Or 38? Huh… Last time he blew the candles was 30…some years ago, back in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although he came from a modest family of clerks, they succeeded to fulfill a good quality education plan for him, with very little money. George wandered for a second whether he would’ve been able, just like his parents were, to spot in his own kid a visual art talent early on and conduct his formal education based on this. The connection between art design and computer science happened in high school. It was just a matter of time. Afterwards, George was accepted by NYU. And ever since, he became one of the most original web-designers in NYC. Because of his personal perception related to anonymity, George did not play the stock exchange games. But that’s another story.
The subway made its way into the Grand Central Station. It was time for George to mind the gap. As he got out on 42nd Street, George experienced something he proudly named a deja-smell. He had his senses trained to detect flavours that reminded him of the time when grandpa was still baking goodies in his pastry shop, in a little Kentucky town. It was the only thing that stayed with from that time. A bunch of smells. He didn’t attend the funeral. He told himself it was because he preferred to remain with a better image of his grandfather. But this meant that over time, George started to look more and more like a well-dressed, but still, lunatic gentleman, sniffing his way around in search of the smells closest to the ones from his childhood. Many times he couldn’t find the places. Many times he thought he was imagining them. And sometimes he just got disappointed: the smells were just not the same.
George’s daydream was to invest his money in a good quality pastry somewhere close to the mountains. If he could only find the time. Maybe now that he turned 38. George didn’t realize he said the number aloud. Luckily, he was in an elevator. The man in front of him turned and said: That’s only possible if you want to go on the roof. George replied in a hurry – I know, I just turned 38. – So, you’re not planning anything stupid are you? Asked the man and laughed. It was the only joke directed to George in years. By the time he realized that, the man was already in his original position. “Did this just happen?”. Maybe Colorado could be a good place. He will think some more about this on his way back home. And then tomorrow morning some more on his way back here.
George continues to manage his sadness during his usual urban journey to and from home, attacked by deja-smells that remind him daily of a better life.