39 tagged with #interactions

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i miss the way southerners say certain words.

when i was getting a backcountry permit, the ranger asked me what kind of vehicle to register for trailhead parking.

'it's, uh, a honda cb500...'

he paused and looked up at me from the computer, an eyebrow raised. 'you rode your mow-der-sah-kull here? from pittsburgh?'


'what an edvaynchur,' he said, laughing as he punched in my license plate.

i once asked someone where he was from, and he said, 'booooone, nath kehlahnuh.'

it's a soft drawl i'll slip back into in certain contexts, like i'm pretending that the three years i spent after i was born in north georgia had any effect on my linguistic habits.

but i always say, 'hey, y'all,' when i'm addressing a room of people i hardly know.

19 June 2018 01:14


the local library branches lay out jigsaw puzzles for the general public. i hover over them, anxiously, at times; they are a heatsink for extraneous energy that needs to be rapidly dumped. sometimes, people stop and chat at me while i'm quietly sorting pieces, and i rarely want to chat back. sometimes, another silent pair of hands join me, and we each stake out our quadrant of the mat.

it irritates me greatly when i arrive at a partially-completed puzzle and prior participants have clearly haphazardly assembled pieces far out of position. the pieces align in a grid; my intuitive extrapolation of the image onto the grid is clearly not shared by all. but, i talk myself down from this, because the puzzle is a shared resource. the puzzle is not mine alone to complete.

sometimes i arrive at a bare mat, and instead of assembling pieces, i start sorting them and grouping pieces that will obviously join, leaving the satisfaction of clicking together the protrusions to the next person. their delight at having so many easy connections to make is contagious, and i feed on the sense that collectively we have done something good.

sometimes, i want to stay and finish the puzzle. sometimes, i cannot bear to walk away and leave gaps. sometimes, the notion of completing it breaks my heart, because i know that until a new puzzle arrives, subsequent contributors will have nothing to do.

12 June 2018 22:06


slog uphill, because that's how you earn the downhill flight. there's been inches and inches of rain; mud splashes up to my thighs. i pass a trail crew, taking a break from cutting ditches for fresh logs, holding their hands up while standing in a circle.

'run through, run through!' one of them shouts to me; i hold my hands up in the same positions, skipping through their circle, spinning in circles, laughing while i almost slip in the gravel.

'be careful,' the crew leader at the next worksite shouts, as i skip over mud pits and vault past tape they've tied across the trail between trees to mark off the next drainage ditch they want to carve. 'go through, be careful.'

11 June 2018 23:00


i waited with the crowd to cross the street. a grandmother spoke in wide vowels to a young girl, who impatiently lifted one leg after another in a mock demonstration of stepping off the curb before the traffic stopped. when the pedestrian crossing chirped its signal, we flowed diagonally and perpendicularly across the juncture.

"hey," cut in a friendly-sounding man, his tone curious. "was that german?"

the grandmother didn't stop walking, but turned over her shoulder to give him an incredulous stare. "hebrew."

"oh. i guess it was," he backpedaled, shame flushing his face as we all drifted closer to the jcc.

30 May 2018 22:41

earthsaver's club

they said, 'you can't fault someone for wanting to live a comfortable life,' defensively, in the middle of a discussion about our individual responsibilities as human participants in a system contributing to disproportionate damages to the world and its inhabitants.

no, i can't fault you for that. i can't fault your desires that come from expectations you've learned from your environment, from your baked in habits about how to live, from your assumed rights and powers. these are, of course, things outside your control.

but i can certainly fault you for decisions you make in spite of your knowledge, decisions you make to choose immediate convenience at the price of delayed, detached destruction. i can fault you for not even trying, i can fault you for making excuses for trying, i can fault you for refusing to move past denial.

and i can wait for you to break free from this trap so we can all move forward.

'you know,' my mother suggested casually, 'there are lots of groceries you can buy online fairly cheaply, and even places with free shipping.'

'oh, i can't really justify spending the gasoline on that if i can get it from the corner shop, mom.'

'no seriously, though, free shipping.'

'it might be free for my pocket, but it's fuel from, you know, the planet. everyone's planet. but if the gas has already been spent to move it to the shop, and i'm perfectly capable of walking down to the shop to pick it up, i'd rather not have it driven directly to my doorstep.'

'oh. oh! you're saving the planet! okay, i get you.'

24 April 2018 22:56

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