Monday, February 18, 2019

Against Manspreading

There’s a large group of women on the train sitting across the aisle from each other, at least a dozen of them, laughing and talking loudly when I get on. I spot a seat next to them, right by the door, barely big enough for me to fit in, and I smile apologetically as I slide into it.

They ignore me and continue their multiple conversations, raucously laughing and talking over each other. I try to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, and am suddenly very conscious of how much space I take up, carefully keeping my knees close together so as not to encroach on anyone by accident.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

The old black Ford at the stoplight carries the rumbling throb of its engine around it like a bass halo to match its glossy paint job. The circular red tail lights with protuberant knobs the same color, the sleek curves and angular lines of its body, the fins, the white leather interior, all scream a heightened, fifties vision of the future that doesn’t really exist anymore. I shake my head in wonder as it rolls by.

But when I walk through its wake as it roars off into the night, all I breathe is the smell, the chemical taste, of gasoline and exhaust, and it’s been so long since I’ve inhaled anything like it that I have no question as to the source of the odor.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Reasons

A guy in shabby, dirty clothes lies across the bench in the subway, flat on his back with his eyes closed. He doesn’t smell that I can make out, as people in shabby clothes sleeping on subways sometimes do, but other riders seem to be avoiding that end of the car anyway, perhaps just on general principle (a man willing to violate the norms of the transit system so flagrantly (vagrantly?) might be capable of anything).

We pull into the station at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, which is distinguished both for its very fun-to-say name and by its unusual color scheme, in which the color brown predominates, and on the doors opening, the sleeping man stirs from his slumber, nimbly bounces to his feet and bops out the door, walking down the platform at an unhurried but determined pace.

So, of course, there are reasons, and Mr. Sleeps-on-the-Subway may have an active and rich personal and social life, but still I find myself asking: “Where, exactly, did that guy have to be?"

Icing Her Out

“I guess I’m not girly enough to like butterflies,” her friend says as she buys a beautiful specimen.

“You know who really likes butterflies that I was surprised about, is little boys,” I say while ringing up her friend.

“Yeah, they probably want to pull their wings off,” she replies with a vicious grin.

I stop what I’m doing and fix her with my iciest gaze, saying, “I haven’t found that to be the case at all."

Friday, February 15, 2019

Forgiving

“More boxes, eh?” John says, as he wanders through the ruins of our living room with his morning coffee. A shipment of glass came in earlier this week, and while we have plans to reorganize the house into something livable in March, our current market schedule makes those plans impossible to implement right now, which leaves us surrounded by stacks of large cardboard boxes as tall as Katie.

“Yeah, sorry we wrecked the place,” I say apologetically.

“It’s okay, I mean, it is your house,” he says with a shrug.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

To See What Other People Like

She’s buying a gift for her husband, who likes butterflies. She does not like butterflies, not in a nasty way, but in a freaked-out kind of way, which means that every minute in our booth is a tiny slice of torture for her.

But still she perseveres, going through each shelf, looking closely at the pieces, examining the butterflies and moths, considering the merits and drawbacks of each type of glass.

Finally, kneeling next to a shelf, she looks up at me with a genuine sad confusion, and asks, “What exactly do people like about these?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Puddles

I liked these winter boots that Katie got me so much that, after the first pair wore out, I got another, identical pair. They’re thick-soled and have a woven insert made of some synthetic material that makes them impervious to cold down to (supposedly) negative forty degrees, which is a ridiculous temperature in any case.

My favorite thing to do in these boots is stride through the deep, slushy puddles that accumulate near the corners of the sidewalks without breaking stride, because it makes me feel like a badass.

But when I stepped in one today, the puddle splashed, and a guy attempting to walk around it got some on his shoes, and I felt a little bad, but I figured the best thing to do would be to keep walking, and try to do better next time.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Breaking the Law

Night - the sign on the opened gate to the darkened field behind the playground reads: “No Dogs On The Field.”

I hear laughing, and a sound like the jingling of keys. On the field are two people and two dogs, standing in the dark.

On no perceptible signal, both dogs simultaneously begin tearing in circles around the two humans, who are now doubling over with laughter, until the dogs suddenly stop, and in a spasm of ecstasy suddenly begin chasing each other up and down the length of the field, which only causes their humans to laugh harder.

Transform, But Not TOO Much

“I had something really transformative happen, so I wanted to buy a butterfly,” she says.

“You know, an interesting thing about butterflies,” I say, "is that when they transform from their caterpillar stage in the chrysalis into the butterfly, they dissolve completely. So there’s no structures left over from the caterpillar in the butterfly at all - the change is so complete.”

“A lot of people want transformation, but they don’t want to change anything that they are,” I finish as she smiles a sort of bewildered smile.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Phone Needs a Therapist

My phone has been exhibiting signs of some sort of personality disorder lately.

When I was composing a text to Katie about some ordinary thing, I typed, “It doesn’t,” and the predictive text suggested, for the next word, “matter.” As if nothing mattered - clearly depressive.

And when she sent me a text complaining about cold toes while she was working, I replied with, “I don’t like you having c...,” upon which my phone, seeing the “c,” suggested “conversations” which seems a little possessive and maybe a trifle stalkerish?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Play It Cool

“I took my son to a Jasper Johns exhibit, because I wanted him to get a photo with Johns, but he didn’t show up,” the artist says sadly as he looks around at Katie’s work. “There was this other famous artist there, but I decided just to leave him alone.”

“Yeah, I see John Turturro in Park Slope all the time, but, you know, we’re New Yorkers, so we’ve got to play it off like it’s no big deal,” I reply.

“Oh, not me - I’m too much of a small town guy, so I totally freak out,” he says.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Working for Ourselves

“You knew what this was!” Katie calls down the hall after me as I go to retrieve her water bottle from where she left it in her studio.

I feel along the wall just inside the door to the tiny room where she makes most of her work, and flip on the light. I then crab-walk sideways around the jutting out branches, step over glass and cardboard and styrofoam to where her water-bottle is perched amid butterflies and congealed piles of glue, grab it and get out, shutting off the light as I go.

Her studio smells like sawdust, and I inhale happily, then close the door behind me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Necessity of Beauty

“So what do you like about butterflies?” I ask the woman who has described her extensive butterfly tattoos while she examines Katie’s sculptures.

“Transformation,” she says simply, after giving it some thought. “And just, they’re so beautiful.”

“You know,” I say, warming up to the topic, "I don’t think people give enough credit to that, like they think that if something is beautiful, it can’t be important, or serious, or necessary."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Clumsy

“It hasn’t been happening for six months,” I say irritably, picking up the pencils that I just knocked off my bedside table.

“I just want you to know,” Katie says in an infuriatingly reasonable tone, “so that when your legs give out or you pass out and you go to the doctor, and they ask, ‘How long has this been going on?’ you can say, ‘Oh, hey, this is what Katie was talking about when she said I was dropping things a lot lately.’”

Later, in the kitchen, the cat is peacefully gorging herself on a small plate of Friskies Turkey and Cheese Dinner when I open the freezer, pull out the ice cube tray and dump fresh ice cubes into the bucket.

Even though I don’t drop any, she still sprints from the room.

Eating (It In) Crow

The cold of the past few days has abated somewhat, but I’m still dealing with the repercussions. My hands are rough and scaly, cracking and bleeding in a few places, while the rest of my skin toughens into sandpaper.

It’s not too bad, really, except when I try to do the yoga pose I’ve been working on most recently, which is called crow, and which involves balancing the knees on top of the arms while the hands prop the whole thing up.  My skin is so paper dry that I can’t get my knees up onto my upper arms to balance, since they just slip off and send me sprawling on my face.

Monday, February 4, 2019

I’m a Hugger

“When I get my apartment cleaned, and get all new stuff, new furniture, then I can get one of these beautiful pieces,” she says, her eyes glittering as she takes in all of Katie’s sculptures.

I don’t tell her I’ve heard this before, so many times, from people who deny themselves beauty, deny themselves the things they want in this life because they don’t think they deserve them, because their lives are a mess, and who never get their lives together because they don’t really believe they deserve that, either.

Instead, I look at her, and as gently as I can, say, “I wish for you that life that you just envisioned for yourself.”

Her eyes still glitter, but now with tears, as she says, “Can I hug you?"

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Evil Eye

I’m almost at the bottom of the stairs when the older woman starts up the same side of the stairs, but when she sees me she moves over to the other side, and fixes me with a quick glare.

I only have a second to think, “God, it’s almost like she cursed me,” before I feel my foot slip out from under me. I don’t even try to catch myself, it happens so fast, as my shoulder hits the railing, and then I fall straight on my ass, letting out a bitter “Ha!” as I do.

She doesn’t break stride, she doesn’t ask if I’m okay, she doesn’t even look at me as she steps around my prone form and continues on her way up the stairs.

Asking the Real Questions

“I’m cutting things out. Therapeutically,” she says, proceeding to do exactly that with a piece of yellow cloth printed with the outlines of glittering gold flowers.

Before I can ask if it’s working, she looks at me seriously and says, “I’ve been meaning to ask you...,” then trails off.

I wait patiently, and my patience is rewarded when she continues, “Are there... any shows... you and Katie are watching?"

Friday, February 1, 2019

Friend Found

I think the guy at the counter that lines the window looking out on 7th Avenue believed he was going to have more room before I slid in next to him to watch the street outside while I waited for Katie to join me. All his buddies and co-workers, bunches of folks in khakis and polo shirts, all showed up and stand around holding their beers awkwardly behind me.

I looked down at my phone to see where Katie’s little dot appeared on the “Find My Friends” app, and she seemed pretty close. When I looked up, she was directly in front of me pressing her palms on the window with a look of manic glee on her face.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Not Helpful

It goes from a little blustery with some flurries floating around to complete whiteout conditions in a frighteningly short amount of time. Snow blasts against the windows and howls down the street, the uninsulated walls of the building where we work suddenly freeze, and I notice that about halfway up the giant window of our booth it is actually snowing inside - faintly, but definitely snowing.

I convince a market manager to put her hand up to feel, and she acknowledges that yes, it is in fact snowing, and then she just leaves.

She turns around as she’s going and says, “We’re you expecting more of a reaction?"

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pouting

The collie-something mix lying on the floor of the PetcCo as I walk in gives me the saddest look I’ve ever seen - just heartbreaking depths of despair and sorrow - while her owner stands over her with his hands on his hips and an expression of disgust.

“Oh, you’re doing really well,” I tell the dog encouragingly.

“No she’s not. She doesn’t want to leave, so she’s pouting,” her owner says, and his dog sighs a long-suffering sigh.

Stand Clear

We start to accelerate in the tunnel, the steady hum of the wheels on the tracks ratcheting up to a rumble, then a roar.

I wonder if this time we’ll finally manage to hit warp speed. If the light that illuminates the orange B on every car, the gray aquarium light of the interior of the train pouring out of the windows and car doors, will streak out in long trails behind us, then flatten and smear into imaginary colors as we hit the event-horizon of light and shoot out of the ground up into space.

But of course we slow down and pull into Grand Street station, doors open, stand clear.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Manual Steering

His father reaches down and places one hand on top of his head, like the man is palming a basketball, and with that hand, he guides the small child through the crowds getting off the L train to the stairs.

At the stairs, however, he changes tactics, and, instead of palming the child's head, he begins walking up the stairs behind him, sort of herding him with his legs as the child, slowly and deliberately, begins  climbing the stairs.

The father doesn’t look bored or impatient, or even mildly put out by having to do this with his kid. He reaches down at the top of the stairs and, once again, steers the child through the crowds.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

You Make the Color

“So I spent years,” he continues, still holding his boyfriend’s hand, “I spent years as a little kid looking for a blue crayon that matched that color,” pointing to a blue morpho butterfly shimmering on the shelf.

“You know the story about that color though, right?” I tell him. "The wings are covered in millions and millions of tiny, clear scales that are so close together that they act like prisms, and only the blue light escapes.”

“So the color isn’t in the wings at all - it’s what happens in the light between the wings and your eyes."

At the Rock Show

The band is blasting out nostalgic hard-rocks hits, the floor is packed, the mezzanine is packed, the bar is packed, and the stairs from the mezzanine to the floor are also packed, so I’ve shotgunned my beer to avoid spilling it on anyone as people jostle me to get by, and now I’m stuck at the top of the stairs trying to get back to my friend on the floor.

A woman in front of me bobs and weaves a little, jockeying for just the right moment to get down the stairs, and I shout to her, “If you make a break for it, I’ll back you up.”

“Oh, are you trying to get to my husband too?” she yells back, and we both laugh.

But a few minutes later, she makes it through the crowd down to the bottom of the stairs, and I do follow her to my friend, and when she catches my eye, I shrug and shout, “I told you so."

Thursday, January 24, 2019

After the Rain

I’m midway down the block when a pretty woman rounding the corner of the music conservatory leans down to her young child and motions for him to look up, and the two of them break into huge smiles.

When I get past them I turn around to look in the direction they were looking, already knowing what I’ll see, and sure enough a rainbow stretches across the clearing sky shot with rose- and salmon-tinted clouds.

I turn back to my route home down 7th Avenue with a big grin on my face, and an older woman coming out of a restaurant across the street sees me, seeing her, and she smiles.

My smile gets bigger, and she swings her long hair and lifts a cigarette to her mouth, and a car crosses between us, the clean air is like polished bronze, and even though winter isn’t over, we still have a moment, just to breathe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Nothing to Say

Katie follows me into the kitchen. It’s about ten at night, and I’m just getting home from my shift at the booth to eat dinner. 

We putter around fixing food for a few minutes, until finally I say, “Yeah, I got nothing.”

“Oh, me neither,” she says, relieved and apologetic at the same time.

Lucky

“So you can have any superpower except flight, invisibility, or super strength? Then I’d choose telekinesis,” Katie says as we get home from seeing Into the Spider-verse.

“I think I’d choose the ability to manipulate luck, like Gambit, right?” I say, unlocking the door to our apartment.

“Don’t you kind of already have that, though?” she asks while the cat stands just inside the door, meowing to be fed.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Carefully

The tray beneath the spigots on the water cooler (emphatically labeled “NOT A DRAIN”) is completely full of water, and the floor is covered in puddles.

I gently pull out the tray, carefully lifting it so as not to add to the general carnage of wet on the tiles, and carry it over to dump it out in the sink, all the while thinking about the innumerable, similar times in my life where, by trying to be careful, I’ve tensed up and made a mess of things.

I feel a certain pride that now, firmly on my way to middle age, I’ve finally figured out how not to be so worried about being careful that I make things worse.

I grab a nearby mop, swipe a couple of quick times over the puddles to dry them out, and return the mop to it’s bucket, where it lands with a satisfied plop.

Stay Inside

“We’re from Miami,” the woman adds as I wrap up her purchase.

“Can we do something outside now?” her friend whines. “It’s just, we came to New York and we’ve been inside the whole time.”

I turn away as they continue their conversation, and out the window behind us the sun sets the color of molten gold through the lattice of the trees, and I can feel a chill through the glass as the temperature on the street begins to drop.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Personal Questions

At the market, waiting in line for the vendor bathroom, the woman standing in front of me abruptly turns and asks, “Do you just need to fill up your water bottle, or do you need to pee, too?”

“I, uh, I need to, um, use the restroom too,” I finally manage to stammer, and she explains that if I’d only needed to fill my water bottle, she would have let me go first.

We stand for a few moments in silence until I say, “You know, it’s kind of awkward asking a stranger if he needs to pee....”

“Yeah,” she says, nodding, “I totally thought the same thing as I was asking you, but by then it was too late."

Didn’t Stick

The enormous Frenchman manning the door at the restaurant feigns surprise, then terror when he sees Katie. He playfully retreats towards the back of the back of the restaurant as Katie sings out, “Oh my God - you’re still here?”

He pretends to hide behind his lapel as I say, sotto voce, “Didn’t they fire that dude after you stopped working here?”

Katie’s smile remains fixed as she whispers back, “For being a drunk, yeah?"

Thursday, January 17, 2019

You All

“You know, in English you have, what, one-point-five million words?” he says vaguely as he stares at Katies sculptures. “In Hebrew we only have seventy-thousand,” he adds, raising his index finger as if he is making a very important point.

“But you have no separate word for the plural you,” he says, shaking his head, as if this is the most absurd thing he has ever had the misfortune to hear.

“Americans in the south say y’all,” I suggest.

Intrusive Thoughts

I cross the street between the two cars after looking both ways, and even though I’m perfectly safe, in the middle of the far lane, the image of a woman being hit by a car flashes through my mind. She wasn’t hit particularly hard, and the car wasn’t going very fast.

It was weeks ago, but the memory still shocks me. I walk down the street, carefully stopping at each corner, and I wonder how she’s doing, and if her back healed up okay.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Buy All the Things

“Okay, so we’ve got a list of, like, five things to get at the grocery store, so we can just get them and get out,” I say as I lock the door on our way out. Katie gives me the most pitying look, as if to say, I love this man, but I clearly have married a mental deficient.

“I like all the choices,” she says by way of explanation at the bottom of the stairs. “Marry your opposite!” she adds.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Escalation

The old man slips into the vestibule of the storage space right behind me, and who can blame him? It’s absolute balls-cold outside, and I don’t begrudge a man taking some shelter from the wind for a minute to make a phone call, which is what he proceeds to do.

After a few minutes winding his way through the automatic answering system of whatever labyrinthine governmental agency he’s currently fighting with, he finally gets to a person and asks about having lost his New York street vendors’ license.

“No, you don’t need to send the police down... why would you... I didn’t say it got stolen, I just lost it!” he replies with increasing agitation.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Outsmarting the Cold

We pull up in the U-Haul parking lot to drop off our rental truck after a long day of loading in for a new market. The location is ostensibly still open, but the lot looks conspicuously empty, with only one other truck parked in the returns area under a frigid, empty sky.

We come alongside the only other truck, Katie laughs, and I see, in the cab of the other truck, two guys in heavy coats huddled together against the cold. The one nearest us rolls down his window with a smile, motions me to do the same, and says, “Leave the key in there, and I’ll send you the receipt."

Out of Shape

I was only in Nevada for four days, two of those traveling, and yet walking seems way more difficult than before I left. Just walking home from the subway, my legs seem reluctant to do what I ask, to walk the pace at which I need them to walk. 

A woman tap-tap-taps past me, her heels clicking on the sidewalk, and I grit my teeth at my slowness. I hike my bag up on my shoulder and force myself to walk faster, and my heart pounds in protest.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Carsick

In the taxi coming home from the airport, hoping for a nice, quiet ride after a long flight, but instead, the driver zooms in and out of traffic, speeding up and slowing down and speeding back up again, like a ship out in choppy seas. 

“Remember how I said the driver who took us to the airport drove like my grandma?” I ask Katie. “Well this is my punishment for that.”

“Are you really suffering though?” she replies, her face a sickly green.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blast Radius

The volume in this movie theater is loud enough to cause me actual pain during the explosive battle scenes, to the point that I roll up napkins and shove them into my ears in an attempt to save my hearing.

Later, during a quieter scene, my dad comments sarcastically on a particularly poor choice made by the main character, and my mom vocally agrees. I worry for just a second if we’re being too loud, after all, somebody near us did move during the previews.

Then the robots start fighting again and I stop worrying about it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Consider the Lobster

“Dawn [my sister - SLW] was about four, and your mother and I were at a restaurant in Chicago celebrating something, and the guy who ran the bus company that did all the buses for the school district I worked for was at the same restaurant,” my dad says as he wipes his hands on his napkin after his surf and turf birthday meal. “He asked us to sit at his table, and at some point he found out that I had never tasted lobster, so he made sure to give me about a quarter of his, and that was the first time I ever ate lobster.”

“Did you like it?”

“I loved it!” he replies, as if the even asking the question was kind of odd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Misdirection

“I think we have a couple people over here who are going to steal your dog,” my dad announces to the other table. The beautiful border collie mix sitting at their feet (allowed in the restaurant because he’s a “therapy dog,” though none of us really buys that) doesn’t even look up, but his people laugh nervously.

After everyone awkwardly returns to their meals, Katie and I gently chide dad for blowing up our scene by telling everybody our plan to steal this dude’s obviously fake (but clearly wonderful) therapy dog, but he waves us off.

“If I tell them you’re going to steal their dog, they won’t expect it when you actually do steal their dog,” he says sagely.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Brave New Mall

At the mall, I walk up the escalator (on the left, natch) as far as I can go, until I reach people standing two across, left and right side, blocking my way.

Up ahead of them, a couple other people are standing, too, and I just don’t have the energy to interact with two sets of folks, so I step to the right and stand the rest of the way up.

After I finish my errands, I go down the escalator, only to encounter the same problem again, and I realize, looking at both the down and the up sides, that nobody is walking on the escalators.

Suddenly everything is in perspective, and I am no longer annoyed: I am in a foreign culture, and my standards do not apply, so I meekly stand on the right (though it doesn’t matter where I stand), and try to figure out what the rules are in this brave new world.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Get a Haircut

“Got anything for today?” I ask the old man sweeping up around the chair at the salon.

“What do you need?” he asks with a smile, but I just take off my hat, and my hair flops down onto my face. “Ah, looks like it’s been a while,” he says, laughing.

“There’s a man who knows his work,” I reply.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Mistaken at the Compost Stand

I dump the frozen contents of the plastic bag into the compost bin: tea leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells, onion skins, avocado pits and skins, broccoli ends and cauliflower leaves, lemon rinds - all sorts of stuff. The man who works the composting drop-off for the city walks over and taps my contribution down into the bin while I stoop to pick up a eucalyptus branch that didn’t make it in.

Seeing me do this, a woman dropping off her her own compost apparently mistakes me for one of the city workers and, smiling brightly, says, “Thanks for being here today!” which is something I say to the workers, too.

“Sure!” I reply, but I wonder if I sound as fake and odd when I say it as she does, mistakenly or not.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Developmental

After searching the self-serve IKEA computers proves fruitless, I go to the help counter where the large, friendly man assures me I did nothing wrong.

“Those computers are retarded,” he says, shaking his head as he types in my search query. His use of the term “retarded” raises an eyebrow with me, but I don’t feel like getting into it, so I let it slide.

“There you go,” he says finally, and directs me to the aisle and bin I need with a smile and a wave.

Fat Stacks

Making a deposit at the bank with a fat stack of cash makes me feel like a baller-slash-drug dealer or like Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life, either way like something awful is about to befall me. So when I get up to the bored teller on a Thursday afternoon, I’m already a little on edge.

She takes one look at my stash, my wad, my racks, my stacks, and her mask of boredom tightens into bland irritation as she says, “It’ll take a second for you to unfold it, so go ahead and step over there and do that while I take care of the customers behind you.”

“It won’t take that long, but okay,” I reply testily, but she actually manages to get through the entire line before I finish and sheepishly make my way back up to her window.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Joy in Tedium

By the time I get to pulling staples out of the fourth shelving unit, I’ve entered a sort of “flow” state, where everything seems to be almost effortless. We stapled all sorts of greenery onto these shelves to decorate them while were selling Katie’s work at the holiday market, but now it’s time to tidy everything up. Since we were always a little rushed when we set things up over the past year, there are multiple staples in everything, all over the place, and some of them are easier to get out than others, but every time I do get one of the shelves completely cleaned of staples, I feel a little thrill of accomplishment.

One of the deeper staples requires a little muscle to remove, and I strain against it for a moment until it comes free of the wood with a satisfying creak of protest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Volcano, Part II

Based on our conversation yesterday, Katie has convinced me to watch a movie from the late 90’s called “Dante’s Peak,” which is about Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton recreating the movie “Jaws” but with, you know, an exploding mountain.

Rotten Tomatoes, a movie rating website you might have heard of, puts it at 24%, but Katie has given me the secret to enjoying this particular film, which is to root for the volcano.

The world spinning logo of the Universal Film company fades to black followed by a silhouette of a mountain which then, naturally, explodes, and Katie nods in approval. “Always introduce your main character first,” she says.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Live Volcanoes

While we wait for the clock to turn over midnight and pivot from one year into the next, I pull up YouTube on the tv and search for one of the topics of conversation of the night.

“Live Volcanoes,” I speak into the microphone, and up on the screen pops a video entitled “Happy New Year! Live Stream Volcanoes Around the World.”

Katie, John and I are thrilled at this perfect synchronicity with our earlier discussion and I eagerly click only to be greeted by a split screen showing the silhouettes of several hills and mountains against various skies. Quiet mountains, simmering beneath, perhaps, but all of them still and silent as the planet continues to spin through space, geology completely unaware of our arbitrary transitions that remain meaningful to us, despite everything.