46 tagged with #interactions

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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

library puzzle

when i walked to the library today, i saw a sign on the door: "computers and wifi are down today; sorry for the inconvenience!"

it's a day off for me, and i planned on soaking up library bandwidth while decompressing from my previous few days of attempting to be a human. but, then again, i don't need wifi for that to happen; this branch puts out a 1k piece puzzle regularly, and bucolic landscape scene for today had an obvious error. the collective strangers who assembled the border had shortened it by several pieces, forcing unmatched edges to press together, and cheating some of the interior elements.

i spent three hours untangling it gently, like working loose a ball of yarn that a cat had wrestled. i didn't want to speak to anyone else while doing this, but a stranger swung by and offered to help, mostly as a means of trying to make conversation. i almost felt bad about my sluggish, non-committal responses, but i had target-locked on the offending errors so much that i could not spare much energy to realize that someone giving me their name was in turn asking me for mine.

the upper left quadrant of this puzzle is a flat, blue sky, with several dozen pieces that all look alike. i'll leave that for someone else to worry about.

19 April 2018 15:30

find my phone

for a few hours, i didn't know where my phone was, and this was disorienting.

it's trendy to have phone vacations; it's trendy to have neurotic behaviors to modulate your neurotic relationship to your phone. but for an hour, i swept each room i'd been in over and over, describing my phone to everyone in sight, and finally gave up and went home, thinking i'd deal with it the next day. sometimes, my phone is in my way, and i'll just slot it into some out of the way location that is very clever in the moment and extremely unhelpful once i have forgotten that moment. of course that's what happened, i told myself. i'd find it the next day.

but hours later, i went back to my office and paced back and forth, retracing my steps desperately as my memories of retracing my steps slowly overrode my actual memories of the steps i was retracing.

i checked my email, though, with stashed credentials on my computer, and saw an email from someone who had picked up my phone and was happy to meet me to return it.

18 April 2018 22:31


a slow, pouring rain begins to drown out the ceiling fans. the vanguard spritzed me on my way down; i parked my bicycle at the innermost rack, almost completely covered by the awning. this is the benefit of arriving early: knowing that i can at least place my seat under cover.

there's a short window ledge in the widely spiraling staircase, facing a direction that brought in a serviceable amount of grey light. during the sunnier months, i can barely stand to walk through the glare, but today, it's the right amount for reading. i sit with my back to the window, legs crossed in front of me.

i'd overlooked the fact that everyone whose office is in the suite at the top of the stairs would walk past me, and almost felt embarrassed about my highly public choice of reading light.

'no one reads in a bar unless they're looking for attention,' a young lawyer in town for a conference once said to me at my regular watering hole, where i was churning through texts for a class on american political humor. 'besides, aren't you too young to know who lenny bruce is?'

i used to get in trouble at school for sneaking books under my shirt to recess. i used to get in trouble for checking out books from the sections marked for older grades. i used to get in trouble for doing my assigned summer reading while inclined on the couch.

i've read eighteen books this year, so far.

20 March 2018 21:24

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