I'll tell you about me because I am here and you are distant
Listening to lyrics under lamp light, I bring an arm around the duvet spooning me graciously. The sheet is smooth, and I know the pillows are there because I feel them underneath me. The shop, bar and beach are places elsewhere to this. They're different somehow, some kind of blur I've no desire to put my finger on.
I need to be better acquainted with the inside of my eyelids. Time awake is no stranger, no stranger than the gentle lulling of soon. I'm tired of seeing, being seen, thinking and being thought of. What's to come will remind me what I even care about, which I love, because it's becoming easier to forget.
I love the contrast of an empty space that shows abundant signs of life. When I worked in a cafe, I'd often be alone after closing time, cleaning down silent surfaces and humbling humming machines with the flick of a switch. The purpose of everything around me, from the coffee machine to the marked walkways, lay dormant. Object outlines dominated the concourse, but their meaning was faded without the people who gave them life. I'd pad softly across the resting floor, no longer observing the energy of the day, but feeling it all around. I felt similarly the Saturday night I took my bike past the pubs and restaurants that had been ordered to close that day to prevent the spread of covid-19.
The evening streets would normally be full of taxis unloading frivolity into seas that vibrantly flow between drinking destinations. I'd be there amongst them, wearing jeans. That night I wore joggers as the usual commotion was replaced with only the motion of my nosy commuter bike. The would-be crowds were compartmentalised into suburbs and inner city flats, leaving me to peruse the hush they left behind. Like the peace I found in the cafe, the quiet was made beautiful by its close proximity to life. That night I viscerally felt the busyness that belonged there.
But as lockdown continues, the city seems less on pause, and more like it's crawling painfully as my romanticism fades. The streets move just enough to feign function and the missing bustle has become more like a fantasy than a memory. There's a sad litter-to-person ratio and the buses carry only their drivers. Posters show signs their lifespan has been exceeded by their tattiness and because they advertise mass gathering events, now illegal. Across Manchester, the side of some bus shelters have the big words Let's Get Together across a backdrop of a crowd of travellers. It's an advertisement for the very same train company that now frequently tweets: please avoid travelling by train unless it’s your only option. Those waiting for the bus don't look amused by the irony, they just look so alone.
Being bored to death is confronting life, said the concluding paragraph of my undergraduate dissertation. It continued: in boredom we get taken away from the trivialities of the world and towards whatever is important to us, which is why declarations of boredom often inadvertently answer questions such as
what am I doing?
why am I doing it?
what meaningful activities do I want to engage in?
True, feeling bored can be unpleasant. It can force us to stare at the clock and wish our time away. But the phenomenon of boredom transcends the experience itself. As Heidegger would argue, when we are bored we are made acutely conscious of the passing of time and therefore of the fleeting nature of life. It enables us to establish both where we are and where we want to be. Thus, it is through boredom that we are reminded of what it means to be alive.
When I was twenty-four or one of the other ages when some say you should choose who you are, again or for the first time, I was walking home with thoughts that went a little like this:
Wintered into action, sprung into flower. Passion for a season, lust for an hour. Hunger for a reason, but with every must I cower. No one is seeking me out to
Ask me how I am. The contradiction in description would be fiction not fire. Not tiny metal canisters saw my moonlight desire. I'm wild like the flame, but by twelve just a lier. Rested on request from empty streets I tire. I confess I forget to ask how you are...
If something I say, do or create can enter the vicinity of others, I will often overthink or underplay it for fear of lacking the required clout. You could characterise this as insecurity or, at more of a stretch, as perfectionism. My internal speech filter will sometimes sound like an officer of the law:
You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.
I'm slow to text back because it's hard without overthinking. I fear judgement of imperfect opinions, which can hinder friendships or potential relationships.
I believe perfection in romance can't be achieved anyway, at least not outside of hindsight, wine-sight and loveisblind-sight. Passion is controlled by blustering impulsive wind that doesn't keep direction or pace. The best thing to do is soar or battle towards functional loving relationships, but also understand that the effort to do so will never end. Although my love life will never reach perfection, as a romantic I will keep on striving towards it.
In business, perfection isn't the goal, so shiny things outdo clarity. I'm discovering that decisions are rarely made with rigour because of an abundance of pride and ego. It seems progression is easier to achieve by abusing context than through diligence. Rhetoric is easier to understand than a process, as long as deception is resonant the substance doesn't matter. I'd rather spend longer than necessary working on a report, satisfying a creative need to the detriment of cut-throat capital.
Blogging is a creative outlet with more freedom. When writing I'm in control, as I can fail and improve until there's something I can be happy with. Like in life, I don't know where to go until I've been there. Unlike in life, if nice phraseology is hidden in a mountain of crap, the crap has no reason to still exist. My process involves caressing up, addressing around and softly messing until the fruits of the moment become as fuzzy as the time between their conception and recreation.
Thanks for coming to my presentation
for those who don't know me
I'm distant and here
if you do
expect the expected to not be surprised
this session would be most beneficial if it was interactive
but it isn't
so buckle up, you turgid listeners
I put my repression in a slideshow
then presented a self to the town
It overran but so am I
with all your sneering would've thoughts
you look ugly when you hiss at me
and when you don't
imagine if I were any better
than dishwasher proof glassware claiming not to be
if smashed I'd be lucid to you