It is 3:42pm on a Sunday and the rain is coaxing fog off the asphalt

I slouch in a Barnes and Noble typing empty noise

While the espresso machine hisses out another writer’s jet fuel

an incredibly articulate schizophrenic is sitting behind me

who has been speaking for hours with no cellphone or people

or Bluetooth in her ear. I have watched her have poignant banter

with no one in this very bookstore for

The last 3 years


On Wednesday she was making lists on her stationary sitting

cross legged and taking diligent notes from a coloring book

she says

“noblesse oblige and philanthropy are two different things. noblesse oblige

is the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged.

Don’t you think selfishness is necessary to survive?”

I think it is. I am sad her brain has gone to waste.

she asks “Is a selfie the same as self-interest? this society is so competitive, I have learned the hard way”


I wonder if she was a Political Science PhD at Columbia whose family was slaughtered in the middle of the night and now she haunts coffeehouses and bookstores, her brilliant brain spurting out all it knows.

she is a walking montage of 15 Ted talks haphazardly cut together

She says “If someone hasn’t put your head in a guillotine, I don’t think anything you say makes a difference. Did you expect to be a billionaire? Bill Gates’s goal was to put a computer in everyone’s home and being a billionaire was a by-product.”


She gets up and goes to the coffee condiments bar, still talking to her friend about Corzine’s Election.

“Corzine was elected on a Friday but if Madam CJ Walker became the first black woman billionaire because of a pressing comb then a billion dollars is within my reach.”

She methodically pours 3 honey packets on the counter, wipes it neatly into the trash and returns to her seat.

“I will go wind surfing but only if my butt looks good”


she says “ok Copernicus, I hope we’ll talk soon”

and continues




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