Sometimes you just have to hit something.
When my dad reached the age of 37, he quit the insurance company he’d been working for since graduating college to become an auctioneer. The whole thing was short-lived…he made it as an apprentice for about a month and a half before the owner of the auction house let him go because he developed a hernia from moving heavy couches.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
The Cooking Gene
The Orphan Master’s Son
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
Lincoln in the Bardo
The Black Wedding
Postcards from the edge
Wallflower at the Orgy
The Underground Railroad
The Hearts of Men
All over Creation
La Belle Sauvage
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
I have this deep feeling of depression somewhere below the pit of my stomach. Okay, let’s start by deconstructing the very concept of a pit of the stomach: what I really mean is that I feel like there’s a small anvil sitting in the bottom of my stomach, connected to the rest of my body by veins and arteries and such, and it’s pulsing and molten, and with each pulse the juices flowing around the bottom collect dread in the form of runoff.
The ocean is the same as my stomach. A few years ago, I heard a story about underwater waterfalls and lakes, where the salinity is so high that the water flows as its own entity, free of the lighterweight water above. Suddenly I wonder if the entire planet is soaking up dread the same way I am, feeling the dread that comes with knowledge.
I’m a twentieth-century person: I know that now. I like twentieth-century things. Record players, television, physical media, old movies, old clothes, long-dead actors and actresses that should be household names and aren’t. And I realize that my century was a perennially shitty one; filled with war, depression, disease, oppression–and that this century is shaping up to be more of the same. But there’s a cruelty now that wasn’t present before–a cruelty in even the most well-meaning people, as they pile on to every cause in a low-stakes competition between right and wrong that erupts into an empty orgasm of self-righteousness before putting its clothes back on and leaving the room without a word.
I don’t know what the answer is. I want this thing to work, I’m terrified that it won’t, that the earth, overcome with the physical burden of billions of people in the cloud will continue its long melt, trying to wipe its surfaces clean.
So, shit. How do I resolve this?
The older I get, the more I’m convinced of this song’s unquestionable genius.
The trenchcoat mafia has given up on reigns of terror to snapchat themselves vaping behind Rite Aid. They stand four parking spaces apart, silent and hunched over phones, attempting to get the best shot of themselves blowing fruit punch scented smoke. They reach social media climax simultanously, wordlessly shoving their phones into baggy pockets and slouching towards the subway. The greasier of the two pulls out a dull metal object and I take a quick glance around to see if there’s a convienient barrier I can duck behind if shit pops off. But no, I realize it’s just a flask of some special concoction of vape fluid that he’s clumsily pouring into his space-age e-hookah.
An Ashmont train pulls in and I sit down across from an anachronism whose age I’d place in the low sixties. Bolo tie and black leather vest compete with late-model bluetooth earpiece hooked to wraparound sunglasses. Drinking a diet coke from a coozie. Patriotic New Balances propped up on a hard shell suitcase screened with an American flag. I’m breathless.
Two labradoodles get on with a couple in tow.
Vaping outside the rite aid.