Sunday, December 26, 2021

Week in Seven Words #566

This covers the week of 11/22/20 - 11/28/20.

A letter from him is like a fingernail picking at a scab.

Vivid things will exist in my mind; if nowhere else, they will at least have come alive in my thoughts.

Politicians take the "quarantine for thee but not for me" approach to the holiday season. "Everybody stay home," they say, while traveling to see their own families and organizing dinners with cronies. "We're all in this together," they add.

We use our imagination to wish life into hollow spaces – the gap between the desk and the wall, an empty store with a "for rent" sign on it, an elevator that's out of order. We like to pretend the hollowness isn't real. The inhabitants (however fantastical) are there, and we may glimpse them from a certain angle or at a certain hour.

We talk on the phone while simultaneously playing a text-based, browser-based fantasy game. Our conversation switches between serious topics (work, pandemic) to thoughts about the vampire in the forest and the dwarf who has a garage and a farmhouse.

Recurrent conversation 1: "Remember when we used to [insert pleasant memory about things we used to do during the holiday season]." Recurrent conversation 2: "When do you think we'll be able to enjoy [normal activity that we used to take for granted]?"

"Remember how kids used to think of ways to cut class or skip school?" she says. Now, what you have to do is pretend your microphone isn't working. And look, your camera also isn't working, how awful.

Week in Seven Words #565

This covers the week of 11/15/20 - 11/21/20.

Leaves sink into mirror-like water.

When he serves us drinks in his home, he talks about his life in a torrent. The words have been pent up by too much time spent alone. Now, his mask muffles them as they pour out.

She's been overlooked for so long. That's the main reason she's looking for an effortless win.

She's been in a low mood all day. The only things that keep our conversation going are the conventional greetings and the well-wishes we've said many times. Hopefully, these good wishes have some power.

As I wait in line at the library to return a book, the lady behind me gasps and tells me she has that same book on reserve. It will be going from me to her. I don't tell her that I lost interest in it after 20 pages, because she's happy to see it, and maybe she'll like it more than I did.

Some find comfort in their routines. Others start to question the point of their routines.

"What's the special ingredient?" he asks, lingering over the dish, and she's tempted to hint at the raging pest problem in the city, the rats creeping into homes in higher numbers. Might as well put them to good use, right? But she figures he won't appreciate the joke.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Week in Seven Words #564

This covers the week of 11/8/20 - 11/14/20.

He's under the impression that his boredom makes him unique. He believes it's a sign of superior intelligence.

Quarantined at home, she wears an evening gown to her microwaved dinner.

Was it always going to happen this way? Could there have been another way? Another reminder to shift from what-ifs to what I have to do now.

There's enchantment in his voice when he points out the leaves whirling, settling on the sidewalk in a cascade of gold.

We Skype again, our voices subdued. I don't even think it's something we enjoy doing anymore, seeing each other's faces through a screen. There's something tiring and unreal about it.

As the sun sets, we stroll among dog sculptures made of plastic bags. They're cleverly done, colorful, a contrast to the loose bags and other bits of garbage along the street. Afterwards, we sit on a bench and talk for a while, until it gets too cold and dark.

The day is made better by changing leaves and weather that's cool, not cold.

Week in Seven Words #563

This covers the week of 11/1/20 - 11/7/20.

Some stores are getting boarded up again in the event that election results don't turn out as preferred. At least the bookstore is still open.

Today what engages her mind are the fissures in the rocks. She wonders about the creatures that live in them, real and fantastic.

Can't get much work done when there's a map of the U.S. to stare at.

"It's easier to forgive others than forgive yourself," she says. I wonder: Do I forgive others more easily because I know them less well, or is it because I see them more clearly than I see myself? 

The cramps are so painful that when I hear the kettle shrieking, I think the sound is coming from inside my own head.

Self-loathing can feel like a scratchy but familiar sweater. At some point, she forgot that she had the option to remove it. Now she tries to, but can't pull her arms out of the sleeves.

I hear a lot about "a return to normalcy" and "putting the adults back in charge." For many people, this means wanting to know less and think less about the effects of policies and the behavior of politicians. It means less bother and more apathy.