paradigm

you don’t HAVE to go

I said,

Some gross hippies with a snare and an electric guitar and a portable amp in my car of this R train from work made me cry just now

Playing Wagon Wheel, of all things

So I guess we’re entering that phase.

She said,

This is going to sound crazy but … you don’t HAVE to go. You know that, right? 

I said,

Have to go where?

If you’re about to say to Europe, don’t even

I feel angry imagining you saying that

It’s

Just

So wrong

She said,

I would like to know why the suggestion of not HAVING to go is so jarring

I said,

It’s about how I desperately want and need to get the fuck out of this life — want-want-want — not a shred of should — and how the way that I make such things happen for myself is to put some logistical thing in place that I believe to be the ultimate authority

I don’t *have* to do anything, ever

It’s why I languish

Because nothing has any authority

Boy oh boy

I have to go

Wow do I ever have to go

what if we could subvert the framework

I said,

What if we could subvert the framework?

Like what if the starting place is nothing

And everything you do that is not nothing is grounds for celebration?

I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s not the correct thing to *start* from the top of what’s possible and conceive of ourselves in terms of every way we’ve fallen short of that synthetic mark

I mean you’re not really anything other than a bunch of carbon in different configurations

“WOW DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT CARBON JUST DID”

Et cetera

Even the missteps are an accomplishment of sorts

“Man that carbon has so much AGENCY”

She said,

I just had to put my head inside of my sweater

I said,

That’s fine

Stay there as long as you feel like

“I went to grad school with some carbon that — get this — picks out its own sweaters”

I wrote to Tobin

i wrote to tobin to say hello and that my departure is getting near and everything is coming apart, mostly in a good way i think but i don’t know anything anymore.
she was — she reported — pinching ticks from her legs with tissues following a hairy romp through the spring fields of lincoln, flushing them away and marveling at her mother, who — she recalled — used to crush them between bare thumb and nail.
does anyone know anything? she wrote back.
because i also don’t know anything.
like i don’t even know that i hate ticks, per se.
they’re just trying to get by.

soon I will be at the airport

She said,

Are you packed?

I said,

I’m in the car with Ron, going to New Jersey with those of my most valuables that will shelter in place.

Having asked a few questions, he says no, I am not packed.

Soon I will go to the airport, and I will check in with one hopes little trouble — Dad called for a second time to tell me that probably it will be a problem that my ticket is missing the middle name on my passport — and then we — me and everyone else moving to Denmark — will get on the plane and, with luck, sleep all the way to the new day.

She said,

I have deep feelings of envy and pride for what you are doing

I said,

When will things feel normal again?

She said,

This is the new normal isn’t it.

I said,

It feels bad right now.

She said,

Oh well it will only feel like this for a very very short time, like less time than a transatlantic flight.

I said,

I didn’t do the dishes or make the beds or hang all the things on the wall so that it’s nice for the subletter.

She said,

Don’t forget to let all of it feel real good too.

almost-total solitude

I said,

Already Iʼve lapsed into the insanity of someone whoʼs gone from a too-social existence to almost-total solitude

The truth is I am terrified at all times, and to pretend that all I notice is the sunshine and beer and new friends is the only answer I know.

(Although maybe thatʼs exactly whatʼs at the root of such annoying manners at their most manifest, a vain effort to keep the demons of consciousness at bay?)

I slept so badly last night, mostly because of anxiety about getting up in time to do everything necessary in the apartment and be packed and make it to my bus on time, but also I think because Iʼve been on a cocktail of melatonin and some kind of over-the-counter antihistamine to get on this time zone but skipped them last night because I was afraid of oversleeping HOWEVER in the one good, tranquil, unworried hour of sleep I got, I was dreaming about us hiking in the Old World, and it was great.

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