169 tagged with #daily

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Both our hands are full when we notice that the paper needs to be trimmed, so I balance the heavy roll between one hand and one thigh so I can reach for the knife in my pocket. It flicks open easily despite the lint jammed into the hinge, and I trim as far as I can reach from my side.

"You're pretty handy with opening that thing one handed," he says, especially after nicking himself when taking it from me to trim his side. It was a present from him, and after a couple of months in my hands, there are already spots where my fingers have worn their mark into the finish.

"Well, we've come to an agreement. But it hasn't drawn my blood yet, so it's not really mine until it does."

13 February 2014 09:59


It's a slow, cold morning, and I ooze out of the covers after hours of telling myself it's time to go. In another context, the word makes me think of acid, the times I've checked the potency of the stop bath by foolishly sticking my face into the barrel and feeling how much the fumes irritate my eyes. But it's also a slow-moving mass, always rolling in the direction of the next largest force despite all attempts to resist it.

It's a week of watching my nightmare situations shift to reality, seeing the failure modes I've only hoped wouldn't happen happen, and losing track of the days.

It's only February.

12 February 2014 17:13

Return to Sender, alt

My excitement for renting a PO box has been quickly tamped down by the number of mailpieces I've received that were attempts to extract money from some other person.

I've had collections sent on me once, for a library fine I was too ashamed to pay in person for so long that the librarians contracted an external service to extract it from me, all eight dollars and seventy-five cents of it. I had hoarded a copy of 1984, which I read and didn't feel like returning when it was due. I don't remember if I returned it late, or not at all.

When I biked home for my afternoon tea break, I decided to leave my pack in my office. I didn't consider the possibility that I'd want to bring a book back to work in the evening, but with forty pages left of a chapter I needed to finish reading, I had no choice but to figure out a way to carry it without feeling dumb about having a second bag in my office.

The book fit neatly inside the front of my jacket, like a breastplate that further insulated my torso against the wind. I hoped that the action of pedaling would keep pushing the bottom of the book back upwards into my jacket, instead of causing it to fall into traffic.

I got funny looks trying to dig a big red library hardcover out of my clothing while walking my bike through the building to my office.

11 February 2014 17:59

Tread Carefully

I saw the salt-encrusted red truck start to turn onto my road before he realized he wasn't going to get the turning radius he expected, and I tensed. In a moment, all I knew was the distance between myself and every escape route possible, but none of them seemed like a plausible option. I was ready to vault onto the hood as a last resort, and he saw me at the same time his wheels suddenly became nearly useless front-mounted rudders.

The sound of tires losing traction have been haunting me this entire winter, and every winter prior. It's the only thing I truly fear when I'm riding with traffic, that a driver will lose control of their car while our vehicles are on an unchangeable trajectory towards each other. I heard those wheels spinning under the heavy load, useless scraping against the ice for an entire heartbeat before becoming drowned out by a frantic honking of the horn. I squeezed down, knowing just how much pressure my brake levers could take without sending the bike sideways underneath of me, embedding my front tire into a snowbank.

I faced the truck, which had so much snow on the hood that I couldn't even feel heat rising from the engine that idled a foot away from my chest. Breath curled out from my balaclava, lit by the truck's headlamps. I couldn't see the driver inside the dark cab, and he probably couldn't see my face behind the light well of my headlamp. I threw a hand up in equal parts helpless despair and "the hell do you want from me" in response to the honk.

My right foot was buried past the ankle in the wall of snow built by passing plows, and it came free with a lurch as I dismounted to push my bike to a clearer path so I could move on with my ride.

10 February 2014 09:14


Heavy snow creeps up the way a good rain never can; I didn't notice it until the dawn broke and I coal make out the contrast between the blue light of morning and the orange glow of sodium vapor lamps. One confused and over-enthusiastic bird was rapidly silenced by the blanket of snow draped over the trees, and I only realized what had happened overnight when I noticed that I could not hear the usual stream of early morning traffic. The packed snow muffles the sound of tires slapping against pavement, and only the occasional crunch of chassis against a bank of ice gave me a sign of cars on my street.

I find the most fascinating questions about humanity lying along the edges of boundaries, examining the very existence of delineations and wondering why lines, sometimes seemingly arbitrary, are drawn in one place and not another. The lines are our way of asserting that something is known, that enough knowledge has been collected in order to justify the existence of that boundary. The lines give a sense of control, a demarcation from which we can proceed; the lines are a challenge, because I never feel as motivated to do something as when someone draws a line in the sand and dares me to cross it.

09 February 2014 19:21

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