Aside

I never know what other people are doing

She said,

Is it as cold and dark as you imagined?

I said,

Hi.

I think I took too much acid.

Actually I think probably I took the right amount for many situations

But I am alone in the Arctic

And want to make the right choices.

Itʼs funny how I can still operate this horrible hand machine that controls everything.

She said,

What kind of space are you in?

I said,

I don’t know.

What are the units.

She said,

Where actually are you

I said,

Narvik.

 

She said,

You are NORTH.

I said,

Yeah

I really should put on my clothes and go find the northern lights

Itʼs why Iʼm fucking here.

She said,

That would be good, and how?

I said,

I think climb a mountain and wait.

God this thing in my hands is a monster.

She said,

Are there other people around who are looking for lights?

I said,

Hard to say.

I never know what other people are doing.

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”

How will this work?

She said,

How will this work?

I said,

I’m trying to spend no money

Iʼll email this guy from college who was Zooey’s roommate our first year in Boston and now lives in Amsterdam

My former coworker Aliscia’s father’s family is in some remote Sicilian village

I remembered last night that a woman I went to kindergarten with married a Spaniard and moved to Sevilla

I’m feeling pretty thoroughly bananas.

What is helping me stay sane and away from that mentality whereby things arenʼt okay unless Iʼve worked out everything for the entirety of my life is imagining that Iʼll spend a few weeks at a stretch in a given place and in each place forge relationships and make discoveries to plan the next place.

Like any version of living, I guess, but in more motion.

She said,

I literally thought you were just going to show up and figure it out.

I said,

Like sit at the arrivals gate at CPH and ask people where they’re going and whether I can come?

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.

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