In the razor thin moments of eye contact and courtesy around supermarkets, there seems to be a new etiquette that’s arrived this season.
The lines are long are but the stores are empty. The listless souls garding the doors hold their weapons with slacked hands, the temperature checkers appropriately shaped like guns. There’s a terrible boredom that hangs over them or maybe it’s more obvious than usual for some indiscernible reason.
There used to be some effort at distancing but no one cares now, the blocked off street near the store are passé. You shuffle slightly adjacent, while politely not reaching across to grab what you’re looking at. There’s an air of informality with shorts and smaller T-Shirts abound. All of them wearing their masks below the nose or suffering foggy glasses.
Ask while guesturing to an empty shelf and of course it isn’t there. It’s still necessary to ask, just as necessary as it is for the people who work there to shrug. Certainty fitting that a world rebuilt around plastic consumerism has left us empty shelves and gestures.
It remains better than the indignity of having some billion dollar delivery service insist that the livelihoods of their workers and some disaster funds depends on your generosity, so these little bits of theater are a welcome refuge. All the vulgarities of consumerism are reassuringly locked away in four walls no matter how often you must visit.
Je ne sais pas où je suis mais… Je suis dans la rue. Ce n’est pas sympa. Je veux quelque chois, mais je ne connais pas
Il n’y a pas de cadeaux d’anniversaire, je n’en veux pas. Mes amis sont loin, et qui peut célébrer ces mauvais jours?
J’espère que cette année, laisse-le tranquille.
I have habit of keeping the fan on when I sleep. Or maybe I should say I need the fan on while I try to sleep. The white noise is like a conditioned staple, as important and thoughtless as closing my eyes.
It’s also necessary to keep pesky mosquitoes away, power-cuts mean I awake to incessant drones of driving bombing blood suckers. I did notice that there weren’t so many of them this season and decided to try seeing if I could manage without the noise.
All too soon my ears drifted, suddenly attuned to all the noise of the neighborhood. The dim scenery began to sound out the faceless void around my house. The muffled murmurings on peoples T.V’s was, unfortunately, more clear than any gossip. The clanking, clattering and dings of vessels was surprising. It seems like my neighbors like to cook all the way to midnight.
There was a general pattern to it all, one voice would go out from one house and then another. The simple body of the night was marked with many faces before they fell into groups. It was tempting to believe it was some disjointed rehearsal, the chorus heralding the silence in my room being assembled into a living thing. When a bike zipped past, the curtain fell, the void magically deformed with applause.
I put the fan back on, because I wasn’t going to get any sleep with all that noise.
Clearing cobwebs, out from a treasure trove
by the alcove, while the day ebbs I catch reds
fireflies that dove, drawing threads,
making webs, against a lunar eclipse
before laying their eggs, wary of intruders
the moonless night grips, soothing blips
where it’s rumoured lies an apocalypse
I feel my eyes limbering, hesitant flourishes under my eyelids. There’s an unfortunate thought. I won’t be falling asleep anytime soon.
I try to bat it away, but it follows me. My eyes are unanchored now and I know I’ll never be back to sleep. I turn off the fan. Sometimes I think the white noise stops you from dreaming. There are crows, also too early.
There’s an Azaan ringing out, also too early. Or have I simply lost the time? I look around and the skin above my ears tingles for that familiar feel of glasses hung over them.
Why a prayer so early? I look out and it’s dark but only slightly, a thin shade over the morning. There’s nothing but crows here and empty ears to go with my insomnia.
Spring through the window!
My cat turns, curling
Asleep without a moment’s notice
It’s not an easy question to answer. I mean even beyond the stereotypical adolescent angst I think there comes a certain point once you’ve molded a personal history that you start chronicling in the way you see yourself.
Of course as an obsessive Freudian I can’t help but insist that your long lost days of innocence count a great deal towards your mental landscape. Yet, fixations aside, there’s certainly a point that arrives later on where you start to think you’ve become an individual, no longer grasping at the coattails of once intimidating heroes. They could be teachers, domineering friends or parents if you’re the type.
Eventually, or hopefully, people come to adopt an internal monologue that after steering widely to escape childhood inadequacies, or happiness for that matter, becomes that notion of self. A self portrait that you try to add on onto and where you conveniently paint over the missteps.
Of course one risks asking questions that you can never really answer but I can’t help but feel, that this birth of image also kicks off that slow end of all the time you had. Don’t you feel it too? You were once a child and the days stretched into grand tales and unbearable agonies that last a lifetime. Then one day you’ve looked back and see an alarming number of years seem to have been slipped into your life while you where busy.
There’s no one to blame, maybe the secret is to never stop growing but I feel that running away from an inevitable fate that always looms over you. Besides what can you learn if you’re running away?
That aside, I feel like I found a voice I liked somewhere in my second year of College. The phantoms of the past were sufficiently soothed by whatever revelations and greatly exaggerated self discoveries I insisted were enough. Though there were still cringe inducing missteps I feel like there’s a consistent personality that’s weathered any challenges to my idea of who I am.
I don’t think it’ll come crashing down anytime soon. I don’t even known if that adult transfiguration ever happens to any but the most exceptional of cases. I look forward to hearing other answers to the same question, do share.