1. It’s so hard when someone you care about is hurting. There’s only so much you can say (over and over again), only so many smiley emojis to send. You really can’t fully understand what they’re going through. You can be there for them, but how useful is that?
2. Stop filling time. You’re not supposed to be that person. Remember all that stuff you want to do? Why aren’t you doing it?
3. More and more I appreciate people who say offensive shit because people are becoming so SENSITIVE about EVERYTHING.
4. Do what it is you do.
5. People told me about Bob’s Burgers. They said I should watch it. Did I listen? Sort of. Did I listen soon enough? NO! It’s so good.
6. It doesn’t have to be your fault. Maybe it’s not anyone’s fault. Really.
7. “You’re so chill.” I am?! When did that happen? Huh.
8. When did everyone I talk to start using slang all the time? It’s like I no longer speak English! It’s like I’m old!
9. I should probably stop assuming every super awkward person I meet has Asperger’s. Oooops. I’m like a walking, very specific, WebMD!
10. I feel like not having a cell phone is going to add years onto my life, just in the amount of stress reduced alone from not having to wait between each text message.
1. Call someone on the phone and have a conversation.
2. Take a picture of something and don’t share it on Instagram.
3. Take a picture of yourself and don’t show it to anyone.
4. Find a quote you find meaningful and keep it to yourself.
5. Write a letter using your hand and a pencil and send it by mail.
6. Plant a garden from seeds.
7. Spend time with your friends, no technology allowed.
8. Go for a walk.
9. Watch the sunrise/sunset. Don’t take pictures.
10. Speak to someone you don’t know.
11. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers and put it in your house. Don’t take pictures, just smell it every time you walk by.
12. Ride your bike to a bookstore, buy a thick novel (in paper form), read it.
“She doesn’t like to spend time with me. Or anyone else. I annoy her. She wants to be alone. She wants to be with me, but she wants to be alone. She likes to be by herself. Other people make her anxious. She feels like she’s pretending all the time, she feels like she’s turning into someone she’s not. But she said she loves me. I think she still loves me. I have hope. Maybe she needs some space. She said she can’t see me, it would be too hard for her. That she would want to kiss me. I told her that she should, then. She said we should just be friends. I’m going to tell her I can’t do that. I can’t be her friend. I’m going to talk to her. I think it will be okay. I’m going to see her tomorrow.”
The dark, sad boy talks to me on the phone. It’s been a long time since anyone has ever called me to talk. People don’t do that anymore. People don’t have anything to say.
It all sounds like everything I’ve ever heard before. He wants to talk to me, he wants me to listen, and I want to help him. It’s not good. It’s not a good situation for him. But he’s young. He doesn’t really listen to me. He wants it to be okay. He wants people to be better than they are. He wants his solution to be simple.
I’m not very good at this. I stutter and mumble and he laughs at me. But he understands. He catches on. It’s all simple, really.
He says “fucking” a lot. He uses it as an adjective, all the time but still unexpectedly, and I wince. “Yeah, the fucking phone.” “My brother is a fucking asshole.” “This guy is fucking funny, fucking funny.” The cursing increases when he’s happy, and decreases when he’s sad, along with all of his other words.
I decide, during the phone call, that I like this about him. I like people who are different, people who have things to say, people who say things in their own way.
“I fucking love Mega Man.”
“What is Mega Man?”
“It’s a game. It’s fucking hard.”
We talk for a few hours. I look at the clock and the time is passing and he says, “Wow, it’s midnight already.” A button is pressed and we leave each other. I become alone. It is quiet and dark.
I think about him, and people. How easy it is to enter someone else’s life. How easy it is to affect them. To care about them. To worry about them. To help them. It’s simple, really.
“It’s going good, so far,” he says.
1. Holy sheeshing fudge crap! You must watch “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix! It’s really good. Which is weird, because it’s a t.v. show. But it is! It just came out this month, and every episode of the first season is available to watch. Thank gosh and his son jeepers we live in 2015 where no one has any patience and we all just want to binge watch 8 month’s worth of work in one sitting!
2. It’s almost spring. I went outside the other day and I wasn’t cold! I heard this weird noise and then I realized that it was a bird chirping! Wow. Spring.
3. This year I paid attention on St. Patrick’s day and I was terrified and embarrassed. Why are all these Americans pretending they like beer?! Also, no, you’re not Irish. Calm down. Also also, good job pulling out the iron to get the wrinkles out of that green shirt you keep in your closet to wear once a year. You yanks!!
4. Once an Irish person (like, a real one) called me a yank and I was like, “Uh-uh! Only my people get to use that word!”
5. Ok, we get it, you read Hemingway and Vonnegut! But like, really, what do you read?
6. Bukowski hated Shakespeare, too.
7. Did people share pictures of themselves in their bathroom mirrors before the internet? How did we all communicate before Facebook?! Remember telephone conversations? Yeah, me too! Weird.
8. It’s almost sidewalk chalk season. Also hopscotch. Also jump rope. Wait, we’re all still 8, right? Just kidding, these activities are ageless. For-all-ages. Let’s get chalky.
9. It’s so hard to motivate yourself when you have no motivation to motivate yourself.
10. Find a goal.
He went to Japan on vacation and brought back this greeting card with a cat on it that sang when you pulled a tab on the side. He recorded a video of himself showing off the card, and his eyes followed the tab as he pulled it, left to right. The video looped automatically and I watched his eyes move: back and forth, back and forth. It looked like he was staring at me, but he was staring at himself, watching himself. His brown eyes are seared into my memory along with the little pink Japanese singing cat. We all had high hopes for that year of our lives. We thought it would go well; that there might be another year after if we were happy. And we tried to be. But the months slowed down as we went, the days stretched out, and the mornings came earlier. The smog in the sky stayed put, blocking out the blue, even in the summer. We were all left to ourselves, by ourselves, recording little moments of time, trying to share them with others. But when we left, there was nothing left of it in us to share. There was no moral to our story. No punch line to the bad joke. Just a sort of gray smog covering strange hangul memories.
I am trapped in a store with a woman who touches everything she walks past. “Look how ugly these are!” She says. “Look at this! Who would wear this? It’s terrible!” “Feel how gross this fabric feels. Plus it’s ugly.” She also tells me how everything is a good deal because it’s on sale. “Look, 40% off! These towels are only $29.99! Originally $600.00! Wow, what a deal. I pretty much have to buy these. They’re on sale!” I want to tell her that it’s psychology, that nothing in this store is on sale even though every single thing is. There are hundreds of bright red SALE signs. She throws $2.00 shirts into her basket, glad to have the chance to pay 200% more. It’s not just her; she stops to talk about the great deals with other shoppers, and they agree. This is normal. People do this all the time. She can’t comprehend why I don’t want the name brand shoes. “You think about it,” she says. “Maybe you can come back next week with me and get them.” “You should see my closet,” she says. “I have way too much stuff.” She stands in the checkout line and scans the tiny shelf filled with more over-priced tiny gizmos and gadgets. “Only five dollars!” She says, snatching up a purple-colored pumice stone. “I love these!” She puts it into her basket, the innocent volcanic child. It came out of a volcano. It was free. It didn’t cost anyone five dollars. It was hot and beautiful and natural and now it’s purple and five dollars and in your basket.