169 tagged with #daily

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team player

i think about the decades of my life that went by before i realized that i didn't recognize people by faces. the internet was a godsend to me in my pre-teen years; for once, i could converse with people and make lasting friendships and tie memories together to the proper identity, and i didn't know why, and didn't care to consider what was missing. but seeing people face to face was exhausting, confusing; i knew the names of all my classmates, but once we shuffled out of our desks and went outside for recess, i could no longer keep anyone straight.

i played goalie for soccer and street hockey games, because it removed the hardest hurdle of any team sport: deciding whether or not i should attack the player with control of a ball. it frustrated my teammates when i was cycled into more mobile positions; in casual games, with no uniforms, all someone had to do to get a ball from me was to ask for a pass, and i'd gladly give it up. when i realized this was working against me, i stopped passing the ball at all, and then got declared a ball hog.

in third grade, frequent fights about team balance forced our teachers to determine rosters themselves, rather than let us play the awful team-picking game every recess. the teams were rotated once a week, with the lists posted next to the soccer ball checkout station. i'd commit the lists to memory every day, but they were still useless to me on the field; zach looked like jake, who looked like gary.

i gave up and played goalie, and refused to be rotated out.

later in life, i joined the town's basketball league, and we were issued colored uniforms. i never made a bad pass again.

10 March 2018 18:07


i took my snack break on the steps outside of the library, facing a dirty brick wall that separated the walkway from a looming victorian house next door. shoveled snow piled around me, though the concrete was dry; cold seeped through the seat of my jeans quickly enough to dull the flesh, so i no longer minded it.

i bit into my apple while watching three teenagers saunter out the back door, one of them clutching a plastic bag of produce. 'habanero? you want a habanero?' the bag was offered to an old man on his way out.

'oh, no thanks,' he said, laughing.

'how bout you? need a habanero?'

i gave a little wave with the half-gnawed apple in my numb fingers. 'nah, i'm good, thanks.'

'good choice,' mumbled one of the other teens. they continued down the path, challenging each other to eat habaneros until they puked.

i was at least this weird as a teenager.

09 March 2018 16:39


thrown at the water
will break the surface
and sink to the bottom
other offerings
lost goods

water supports the buoyant
water fills all available space
left alone, water remains steady
but slowly stagnates

08 March 2018 21:56


one of the days i was at clingman's dome, listening, i overheard a couple of people discussing the signage that explained the perpetual haze as a result of air pollution from vehicle traffic. 'what do they expect is gonna happen?' one of them asked in frustration. 'we all drove our cars to get here. it's not like we can just not get back in them to go home.'

rarely do i find it worthwhile to confront people in this situation anymore, but my rehearsed responses stick to me. 'of course you have to drive home,' i'd say with understanding, while sitting on my motorcycle that i also clearly used to contribute to the toxic haze. 'drive home, but think about this when you get there. think about if you can carpool to work, or if you can walk to the store in your community, or if you can change your habits of idling in the parking lot while waiting for someone to run in for a gallon of milk.'

i think about my own suburban adolescence, where the middle school, half a mile from my house, banned me from walking because there was no crosswalk cutting through the busy throughway. 'vote in local officials who will prioritize safe walking infrastructure for your children,' i'd ask them. 'be a good example to your neighbors by driving safely.'

i can advocate for a lot of these things because i have the luxury of living within a few miles of where i work and play, i have the luxury of a body that can take me places without needing a device that burns oil or gas or coal, i have the luxury of possessing the willingness to engage with streets that are not quite optimized for my mode of travel. i also have access to a car, and a motorcycle, and the frequent offers of rides to faraway places or during inclement weather, but i cannot participate in using those without feeling a heavy guilt. leave that seat in the car for someone who cannot ride their bicycle to the store; let that cup of gasoline be burned for an urgent need, not my instantaneous comfort.

i don't know if anyone will listen to me, though, so i keep my mouth shut when i hear them complain about dirty hippies pressuring them to give up their cars. i don't want anyone to give up something that gives them freedom and happiness; i also don't want anyone making a regular decision that commits us to a path that seems to steadily narrow towards a destination choked with poison and riddled with dangerous travel.

07 March 2018 23:21

fortune favors

i saw a crumpled wad of bills on the ground; no one else was in the hallway. i stopped my bike and snatched it, feeling lucky, but the spectre of guilt brushed over my hand as i reached for it.

seven dollars, i tucked into my pocket. i don't need an extra seven dollars, but i'm not going to turn it down. should i have left it for someone who needed it more? how does one measure need?

one summer, when i didn't know how to take care of my needs properly, i found twenty dollars on the sidewalk. that summer, my roommate didn't ask me for any money for utilities, and occasionally made me dinner; of course, he'd see the stacks of ramen wrappers in the garbage, and notice that i often either slept all day or wasn't around at all. i spent twenty dollars on newcastle brown ale bottles in the basement lounge where i'd been trying to cut my teeth on poetry slams.

later this week, i might spend seven dollars on a mug of beer at the bar where i've been there so much they often don't bother charging me.

i'm okay with my habits, usually.

06 March 2018 23:41

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