Suddenly you look up from your screen and it’s pitch black outside. 5pm. Already the weeks are so long and the days so similar, with less daylight this sense that life must be happening somewhere even though I’m missing it because I’m staying home has been replaced by this fear that life is no longer happening, anywhere. That the darkness has cut you off from… life, hope, whatever.
I decide (and make a big deal about telling friends about this decision) that we have to agree the darkness is happening, not just be re-angered by it every day. So: I block it off on my calendar. A walk outside every day between 4:15 and 4:45. Being outside to participate in the approaching darkness is better than just feeling oppressed by it having happened, I say. There’s something to it. The streets aroound Central Square are still pandemic quiet at that hour but I walk around, feel the dimming light, try to notice things, take pictures, breathe. Turn off my music and podcasts and listen to the silence inside my brain, maybe, a little, for once. I often end up at Graffiti Alley, a little splash of raw neon art every day, like a cup of coffee splashed into my eyes. Does it help? It doesn’t not help, how about that.
I make appointments with friends. Who has time to talk this weekend, like on the phone, like on the actual phone. No more video calls, please god. On video calls I can’t even hear, I’m just thinking about how I look, what the light is doing, look at the skin on my neck, how am I suddenly so old. On the phone I can just close my eyes and be present with you, hear you, listen, really see you. I’m with you. For once, I’m with you.
I write. I think about how I have 4 chapters left, 3 chapters left in my book and then I can move on to the next one. Always thinking ahead, never here. More time spent wondering when I’ll finish than actually finishing.
I logged out of twitter a few weeks ago and immediately stopped thinking about it.
I watch a lot of TV and movies and think about what I like and what I don’t like. What works and what doesn’t work. Meghan and I send texts back and forth, rewriting Ocean’s 12, pitching ideas for a gender-swapped reboot of the Bourne universe.
I’m sleeping a lot but I’m always a little tired and a little too awake.
I find myself taking a lot of screenshots of things people I follow on IG post to their stories. Something about the fleetingness. What if I want to see that picture again and I can’t, what if it’s gone forever in 24 hours. My phone fills with images I can’t quite place.
I have a bell on my phone that rings at random intervals throughout the day to pull me back to the present. I breathe for 10 seconds, then go back to whatever I was doing. I sit there and things happen or time passes or whatever. Low level infuriation, about everything.