It’s not yoga, until it is.

It’s not yoga, until it is.

…big, deep breath in…an accepting exhale out…

And now, I will be the first to admit that I have been flexible all my life (after gymnastics through my childhood, I turned to ballet during adolescence and young adulthood), and I had to reckon with myself a while back that I’m not “just flexible;” I have had to continue to work to remain flexible. But with that said, I am coming to a new reckoning, one of which I am far less proud. Okay, I am going to say it now…I’ve been using yoga as a means to an end and then, simultaneously, wondering why I am not feeling satisfied with “yoga,” in general, and honestly, I have come to an awareness that is bringing up a lot of things for me, namely: frustration, anger, confusion, bitterness, jealousy, rejection, etc., etc., etc., and the only happy thing I used to feel about yoga was my “progress”…my physical progress. Especially since I have never been a fan of the “spiritual” realm of yoga, I find now that the spiritual is unavoidable.  

For starters, my entire relationship with yoga was stretching every day so that I could reach the “heights” of those crazy contortionist “poses,” and with the proliferation of yogis on social media, my approach seemed like the point—when following westerners who perform yoga. Even the yogi whom I followed for years preached a simple lesson through her social media that seemed to say something akin to … stretch, stretch, stretch, work, work, work, and you will become flexible, better, more capable simply by stretching. Now, I know this is completely the wrong focus. Yes, I could easily blame the yogis who proliferate a bastardization of yoga. Yes, I could easily dismiss the situation entirely and delude myself into believing that I had it all right, and so, it doesn’t matter that I used to do yoga the “wrong way.” But what I’m realizing now is that I had it all wrong from the beginning. 

Toward the end of my university days, I began taking yoga classes to stay limber (dancing full-time no longer challenged me intellectually enough), and I hated them all, and the classes birthed within me a sheer annoyance at the whole system, the whole process. It always felt so fake, so contrived. So, I moved online. I watched a few YouTube videos and meandered through the IG yoga community trying to figure out not only what yoga is but also, what yoga can be to me. Ten years later, I am finally beginning to figure it out, with the help of my newly-discovered yoga light, Angelica Marie Wilson. Of course, I had no idea Angelica existed a mere two weeks ago.

After the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is now a new lifestyle for me, I scrambled to ditch the white yogi who made no effort to amplify the voices of her fellow yogis in need. Unfortunately (in my mind at the time), Kino MacGregor, a yogi at the top of the online yogi-sphere, about whom I have had a lot of opinions, did her duty and amplified about half-a-dozen black yogis she thought appropriate for her followers to follow (she could still do more promoting, imho, but I understand that she feels she does enough simply by being herself, and I am beginning to agree). Thus, Angelica

And then, I did the thing I thought I’d never do…sign up for (a free thirty-day to test out the process) membership to Kino’s online yoga site, Omstars. Obviously, I’ve known about the site for years, but it’s Kino, and I am not a fan, thereby, not a supporter. She has always felt a bit opportunistic, enterprising, insincere, as if yoga were a means to a wealthy end. But what’s wrong with that? I’m opportunistic and enterprising and probably insincere at times, but it’s yoga, and yoga is supposed to be…what?…exactly. 

After two classes with Angelica, I am beginning to open in a way that I have not really connected to through yoga and through my interaction with black yogis on social media. I am about to paint with a broad brush here (and I am no expert in anything, not yoga, not nothing), and I hope that it doesn’t tinge too brightly of racism, but I feel I must say it, even if I’m wrong right now, in this moment—white yogis focus on results—black yogis focus on process. As superficial as this observation may seem, it is only that, a mere observation, as I do not know any of the yogis I follow online, personally, but I can see it in the pictures they (both white and black alike) post, the types of photos they take, the image that they contrive or convey, the postures they choose and the lighting that goes optimally with each. 

And so, I suppose I do not really know what to say except, “Thank you.” Thank you to you, Kino, for being the way that you are because who you are is one who builds, and upon that platform, you’ve built more opportunities for yoga. I do not have to understand you, nor do I have to believe you or even like you, but it is my choice to have faith that you teach for the reasons that you say, and that you do what you do out of the goodness of your heart, for you truly know that yoga can change a life. But mostly, thank you, Angelica, for being the light that you are. Two classes in, and you’ve transformed my yoga practice and by extension, my life. I cannot hope to come to any further awareness or insight than I have today (in the “Crystal Ball of the Present” —AMW), but I am aware of my gratitude for the yogis who are here to guide me through life through light and a focus on all that is meaningful…through the process, with each posture a mere reflection of the work I’ve done on my mat. Thank you.

‘Leily’

‘Leily’

It’s always the thing that will crush you, she thinks to herself. The scent of … of … butter hits her deep in the back of her throat. Everyone always focuses on the thing that could crush them under a weight they cannot bear, the thought continues, but what is the practical application of this fear? She follows her nose toward the awful scent released when butter and flour come together, rise and bake into the delicacies that are various pastries. He, she remembers and reminisces; He, always, tempted by the subliminal combination of fat and sugar, succumbed to the soft, baked goods. And then an odd realization befalls her: About whom are these thoughts?

A twinge, pang of emotional distress, no doubt, accompanies these thoughts that she, almost fully, cannot understand, and yet, there, a soft comfort promises to envelope her if she can withstand the turmoil. In front, now, of a place labeled “Bakery,” she stands, motionless, as if peering into the window, but, of course, she is not really there. Somewhere far away, in a land within her mind, she mulls the situation, debates whether or not she can, no, ought to consider the … the emotions. There, something sits and waits, but she cannot understand the thing. She cannot hear the words being spoken by a figure she cannot name. Warm. How now. The discomfort the heat impresses upon her becomes unbearable, but somehow, she decides that indeed, This is nothing. She cannot walk toward the unknown figure. The figure seems to recognize this and waves. She waves back. They exist together in a place nondescript, a space void of descriptive qualities, a zone wherein she can feel her hand rise to wave at the figure, but she cannot see the hand. The oddity is lost on her, of course. She feels much about much.

A whisper, You can see me. “Yes,” she responds. Do you know who I am? She waits for a moment until an answer reveals itself to her, “Yes, I feel as though I must, but simultaneously, I know I must not since a name I cannot put on you.” Where have you been? “But who are you?” I cannot unveil myself to you. You must know who I am. She takes another moment for an answer. A name. A small name. When the mist clears from the horizon, what’s left is what must have been there all along. Barely audible, she speaks the chalky fragments collecting in her mind, “Mox.” Yes. Still a bit unsure, she asks again, “But who are you?” Time will escort you through this abstraction. For now, just listen. She considers the situation, “Why?” There are things that you know that you do know that you know. Everyone wants to know what it is that you know, but until you know these things, you cannot know them. Thus, they cannot know what you know until you know what you know.

Twinkling, a cool blue light beckons her, and of course, the cool relief draws her nearer. Mox whispers into the void, You must go back so that the future may unfold. She understands these words as some sort of truth, but there, something continues to nag at the hems of her sleeves. The recognition of fear does not the banishment of that fear make. “Back to where?” she thinks aloud. I do not know. I’m just the messenger. Another voice enters, Excuse me. She looks around to find the owner of the disembodied voice. “Who is there?” she asks. You cannot stay here any longer, Mox shouts as the figure of him begins to fade, and continues, They will find me, and when they do, you will no longer be safe. Find him! “Who?” she wonders aloud. Him! He’s looking for you! He will search first in the place you need to remember. The figure of Mox disappears completely, and just as she begins to feel something she recognizes, a loud, large clap rings through her ears as the twinkling blue light turns green.

Inside the place labelled “Bakery,” a staff member whose name tag reads, “Leily” keeps a constant eye on the girl standing outside the shop. After ten minutes or so, Leily decides she will confront the girl to find out what is going on. “Excuse me,” Leily speaks to the girl standing outside the window. Rigid but still blinking, she [the girl] does not acknowledge her. “Uh, miss,” Leily attempts again as she places a hand on the girl. The girl crumples into Leily’s arms at her touch. “Oh my god! Miss, are you alright?” Leily shrieks as she gently lowers the girl onto the ground. “Help!” Leily shouts into the place labeled “Bakery.” “Someone come out here!” Leily further commands. Within a moment, however, the girl blinks and sits upright. Seemingly unscathed, she reaches into her backpack and pulls out a sandwich and begins to eat it. Still shocked and now a bit confused by the girl’s immediate recovery and follow-up action in eating a sandwich, Leily attempts to speak with the girl once again, “Miss, are you okay?” She sits for a moment and between bites of her sandwich, considers her responses, and for a moment more, she considers whether or not she feels as though she is “okay.” Determined, she responds, “Yes, I am quite fine. Thanks. Are you okay?” Leily looks flabbergasted and when the girl makes eye contact with her when she asks if Leily is okay, Leily feels a pang of recognition, “Are you …” “Yes,” she responds before Leily can complete the real question; “Yes, I’m fine” she states flatly between bites of her sandwich. “No, miss, I think that I know you,” Leily insists. The girl looks at Leily and sees no one she recognizes, “I’m sorry. I cannot see who you are.” Confused, Leily responds, “But you’re looking right at me.” “Oh yes, I can see what you look like, but I cannot see who you are,” she clarifies. “Oh,” Leily breathes out. The two remain seated on the ground outside the place labelled “Bakery,” the girl sits crossed legged, still facing the “Bakery,” eating her sandwich, while Leily sits on the heels of her feet, on her knees, on the right of the girl, facing her.

The girl begins to feel something. She stops eating. Leily notices, “What’s wrong?” The girl looks at her, “Leily.” “Yes, that’s my name. Do you remember me? I can’t quite remember where I met you or how I know you, though,” Leily responds excitedly. “No,” the girl begins, “I do not know why I know your name.” The conviction of the knowledge of this person named Leily does not resonate with the girl. Perhaps, she thinks, Leily means something, but what that is, she cannot know. Then, the girl looks at the name tag on Leily’s shirt that reads, “Leily.” A rush of sudden disappointment hits the girl hard and she feels frustrated. As soon as the frustration hits her, however, a feeling of sheer bafflement pours over her in a sort of disbelief at the notion of whatever to-be-frustrated means. She decides to stand. Leily reaches for her and helps her off the ground. “Thank you,” the girl acknowledges as she bows a slight bow of gratitude. “It’s no problem. Are you sure you’re alright?” Leily prods. She takes a moment to consider the truth, “Yes, I am feeling quite fine.” “Would you like a drink to go along with that sandwich?” Leily offers. She considers this again, and decides, “Yes, that sounds nice.” “Okay,” Leily smiles, “What would you like?” She considers this now and nothing reveals itself. She waits a moment more. Leily begins to look at her with a concerned face, the girl notices the change. She waits just the slightest bit longer and still, nothing. “How about some water or juice?” Leily presents after seeing the concerted effort the girl seems to be making to decide or determine what might sound nice. “Oh, yes. Water,” she responds. “Alright,” Leily smiles as both of their faces relax, “I’ll be right back.”

You cannot stay here, rings through her mind, insistent. She looks around herself to see from where the voice came. With no person within sight seeming to admit to the words, she remembers Mox’s words. A remembrance. Run!, the voice rings out urgent this time. Time will escort you through this abstraction, she reminds herself as she looks at the shoes upon her feet. Yes, I will run, she decides as she determines that the shoes will allow her to run at a quick pace. There, she feels is where she ought to go. Thus, within an instant, she’s gone, running toward a large, glass, bubble-like structure off in the distance with trees poking out the top. Leily returns from within the place labelled “Bakery,” to no waiting girl. Instead, Leily looks around and sees only the half-eaten sandwich upon the ground. A bit confused still but not surprised, Leily reaches down to throw the sandwich away, and just as Leily grabs the soft mess, an event unlike any other experienced in this orbital before manifests itself throughout a world content with contentment. 

20 May 2020

20 May 2020

All-in-all, I’m feeling pretty good. The yoga challenge is going well, although, I am more sore (sorer?) than I have been in the past. Perhaps this is not true. I remember how much pain my body was in after my first yoga challenge with @cyogalife many years ago, but for some reason, I guess I thought that I was in better shape. Why I thought this is beyond me, except to say that I was feeling pretty good about my yoga progress and so, took on this month’s #challenge, but the reality is that cyogalife is one bad bamf. The challenge matters less than the fact that I really want to do each of the month’s postures really really well, and this requires my full attention (while doing yoga) and full energy (to do the postures well). This is also probably why I have only accomplished a handful of challenges in a handful of years.

In other news, there’s nothing but irony floating and wafting its way through our social consciousness—meaning that those who voted for the sitting “morbidly obese” president are those who are being affected/harmed the most by these happy-coronavirus-times (read sarcasm).

In other thoughts, I am in the mood to read again (by mid-April, I basically refused to read books) and am thusly reading. I’m currently reading The Knowledge Illusion by Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, Shades in Shadow by N.K. Jemisin, Popular by Mitch Prinstein, and The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot. These are all ebooks, obviously, downloaded to a kindle that I’ve had to dust off after a few years of not needing it due to the recent (last year or so) proliferation/accessibility of library books in English, once we returned to These United States from Seoul. But now the kindle has become an essential aspect of these quarantine times. Oh, and I made fun of my favorite, kinda-dumb beauty influencer (cause they all are) who now has a book club by participating in an ig thinga-ma-bobby, wherein I basically called her stupid. I didn’t even feel bad.

In other randomness, I’ve been playing a lot of video games and trying to achieve some actual xbox achievements (gamertag: angstydaisy), since I have the time. Mostly I’m playing Geometry Wars 2 (yes, old, I know; we also have and play 3, but I don’t like it as much), Borderlands 3 (makin’ mayhem, man!), and Prominence Poker (cause I will destroy you).

And what remains the same? Pretty much everything else. Writing (as you can see), reading, cooking, eating, listening, watching, staying at home…still. I’m even more terrified to go out now than I was before because people (white people) are fucking nuts…just like I said. So, mostly, I am trying to mind my own business, wearing a mask every time I go outside (despite whether or not I think I will see people), leaving only to shop for food and take walks around a large, open park, and trying my best to stay afloat in this mindset of gratitude for the position I am in…for now, and desperately trying to stay optimistic about the future while also accepting that the past cannot come into this new future; we must leave the beforetimes where they belong, in the past.

바이!

The Earth-Man | Kevin

The Earth-Man | Kevin

The two begin to walk away from the stream leaving W on the side not yet crossed, with V and U on the side crossed already. “Where are we going, ma’am?” Kevin asks yet again. “But you already know,” the older woman responds. “Yea, I guess. I mean, I know you said a ‘hillside’ or something, but where is that?” Kevin extends. “A hillside is lost on you?” the older woman asks. “No. I know what a hillside is,” Kevin scoffs with a crinkle of his nose. Stopping for a moment now, the older woman turns to face Kevin who follows all-too-closely and asks, “Then what is your question, Kevin?” “I … I just … I guess I just … you know … like where is this hillside?” “Look into the future, if but only a few minutes,” the older woman responds. “Ma’am?” Kevin stands up straight almost in defiance but something else entirely; “I’m sorry, but what? No one can look into the future.” “Can you not?” the older woman chimes. “Uh, like, no, ma’am,” Kevin speaks indignantly. Amused, the older woman already decided that this Earth-man will know some truth and begins, “Well, in what direction are we headed?” Kevin thinks for a moment, then points, “That way.” Still amused, the older woman further prods, “Excellent. Is there a hillside in view over there?” Kevin looks again in the direction he pointed only moments ago, and then, something dawns on him. He looks directly at the older woman, “That is where we are going.” “Yes,” the older woman affirms. Feeling excited now, Kevin begins to understand a semblance of understanding, “And so, we’ll like, that’s like where we’ll be, you know, in like a little while or something!” The older woman determines that the Earth-man looks all too excited and refuses to participate in his excitement, and instead, the older woman responds with an air of disappointment, “Of course, dear.” Unaware of the older woman’s indifference to his newly acquired knowledge, Kevin still feels giddy and proud. Silently, they walk on toward the hillside.

A little while or something later, the two reach the edge of a thick forest of aspen trees. The older woman stops and turns again to face Kevin. “We’re here. We’ve made it to the hillside?” Kevin asks. The question inflicts such obviousness that the older woman ignores Kevin’s inquiry and instead quizzes, “Do you know what kind of trees these are?” “No, ma’am,” Kevin responds; “Honestly, you know, I have, well, I don’t know anyone who has seen the kinds of plants and trees and such here that I’ve seen over the past few days.” “What do you make of all of these plants and trees and such?” the older woman continues. “Well, sure, like they sure are beautiful. I just sort of wonder though, if I’m like dreaming or like where I am, you know?” Kevin responds. Feeling the depth of Kevin’s impishness, the older woman concedes, “Yes. And yet you have not once asked where it is that you are.” “No, ma’am,” Kevin insists; “I definitely know better than to find out.” Surprised by Kevin’s open stupidity in that he lacks the curiosity necessary for intelligence, the older woman sighs a deep breath of seeming futility. What the older woman feels, however, is anything but. The older woman begins, “These trees are called ‘aspen’ trees. Come, feel the unique smoothness of the trunk.” Kevin walks toward one of the trees and complies, “Ewe. What is this sh-, stuff, that’s like all on me?” The older woman continues, “As a small child, my family lived in the high mountains of a place on Earth with which you ought to be familiar.” “Oh yea, like where?” Kevin asks. The older woman ignores him, “On this mountain hillside, aspens grew like grass on a lawn and covered every square inch of the valley.” “Wow,” Kevin interjects; “That sounds really beautiful. Do you miss it? I mean, it must kind of look, like, you know, right, here, right?” The older woman continues to ignore him.

“One day, while walking through the bright forest, my father informed that the aspens are very unique plants, that essentially, there are only a handful of aspens in the entire world. He further explained how every tree that is seen above ground actually just represents a root that shot up through the ground again to reveal itself as a tree. So, if you touch one trunk of an aspen, you’re really just touching one limb of it. One aspen tree can grow to cover an entire hillside or mountainside, popping up every few meters to reveal itself again, in another place in space while all of its roots connect each tiny leaf to every other tiny leaf across an entire forest. The aspen’s greatest advantage, however, also reveals its greatest weakness. For if, on the surface, one tree becomes infected with some disease, all of the trees of a hillside, which is really one tree manifested all on that same hillside, become infected with that same disease. This means, of course, that one tiny event can wipe out an entire, seemingly multiple, population. What has happened, obviously, is that one aspen tree has died, but the effect of this one tree dying is that an entire forest has been lost.”

Somewhat bored, Kevin says, “Okay. That’s sad, I guess.” The older woman, of course, had been gazing longingly into the forest of fall-like aspens whose leaves have all turned a stunning, vibrant gold and flutter in the synthetic breeze. Upon hearing the words spoken by Kevin, the older woman blinked hard and realized that the decision that was made about him long ago would, in fact, be the fate that she would now have to seal. Kevin, now, indifferently looking into the forest before him, catches the eye of the older woman who looks sternly into his face. “You are meaningless in this realm. You had no meaning from the time when you came. You are nothing in the vastness of time,” the older woman begins. “What the fu-, hell, no, what the fuck?” Kevin responds, defiant. “If time is like these aspens, where do you belong?” “Ma’am? I don’t know what you’re getting at, but I matter. I matter a whole fu-, no fuck it, I matter a whole fucking more than you do. Who the fucking hell are you anyway?” Kevin shouts now. “It does not matter. Everything here and now matters not, to someone like you,” the older woman answers.

“I just like woke up, and I like don’t know, you know, like anything about what’s going on. I’m real sorry if I like saw something I wasn’t supposed to see or something, but really, lady, I haven’t got a fucking clue. I thought, and you know, I was like real excited that someone important wanted to finally talk to me cause I thought, like, you know, like, you would finally give me some answers or something, but instead, I’m just like told all these ridiculous stories or stuff that like, you know, what’s the word, it just doesn’t matter? Like you say that all the time. ‘Oh, Kevin, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. You don’t matter.’ How do you think that like makes a guy feel, you know? I’ll tell ya; it doesn’t make me feel good at all,” Kevin vents.

“Of course it does not feel good, but what good do your feelings do?” the older woman, unmoved by Kevin’s outburst, coolly responds. “It’s my feelings. It hurts, you know, like it hurts my feelings when you say I don’t matter. I matter!” Kevin yells. “How?” the older woman puts to him. Stepping back and away from the older woman now, feeling upset and hurt. Kevin, of course, cannot put into words his own worth or value. “I just do,” Kevin murmurs under his breath. “Proof to the contrary will be revealed,” the older woman states flatly; “There are people waiting back at the stream.” The older woman leaves Kevin in half sobs as the entirety of his worthless life flashes through his mind like small daggers that pierce the mind of the emotionally weak. For a moment, Kevin stares at the dirt path beneath his feet as he contemplates the words of the older woman. “I matter,” Kevin continues to whisper under his breath; “She can’t fucking know anything about me or my life. I matter. I’m good. I’m reliable. I do what I have to do. I show up to work on time. I work hard. I give my all.” Kevin hears the voice of the older woman whom he can no longer see as the older woman has passed beyond a small curve in the hillside, “Come along, dear. You do not have much time.” Kevin considers his options and then the voice of the older woman rings out again, “No, this is not actually the open wilderness. You know not where or when you are. Simply follow. Now.” Feeling hopeless and dredged slightly in sadness, Kevin relinquishes his resentment for the moment and walks in the direction of the older woman’s voice.

Some Fresh Air

Some Fresh Air

The distillation room distills water, not so much for drinking but rather, in the service of providing the synthetic rain within the orbital, which orbital researchers soon found to be not-synthetic rain at all. Being, essentially, a large-scale greenhouse, constructed almost entirely of glass and carbon-fiber-type materials, the orbitals, the researchers found, were actually quite proficient at condensing the moisture out of the air into a sort of mist. How to then turn that mist into rain as opposed to simply humidifying the place, Terraces were built with a sort of vacuum room to attract the moist air where the moisture would condense into a form that would then, ever so rarely, be cycled through the orbital as rain. Compared to the rest of the orbital and the Terraces themselves, the distillation rooms are quite noisy. Nevertheless, the room, if its function is unknown to a person, suggests nothing more than a storage closet, perhaps for a water heater or the system that waters and nourishes the foliage within the Terrace. The walls are of an opaque, frosted glass, where a person standing within the room could make out the shadow of a person standing outside the room, but the person standing outside would most likely not see the soft, grey cloud of a human form inside the room. And it is precisely within this type of room that the older woman stands and waits for [Staffer] and the Earth-man while the remaining three escorts, whose shadowy figures the older woman can see through the glass wall directly in front of her, stand in wait as well.

A gentle whirr of the distillation system rings within the older woman’s ears. The older woman, surprisingly, feels a slight discomfort from the sound and closes her eyes to focus the mind on the task ahead. What the older woman will speak to the Earth-man is already known well within her, of course, but no matter, the older woman considers a second option. The muffled voices of people speaking calls the older woman’s attention back into the space. A gentle knock. “Enter,” the older woman speaks aloud. The glass door puffs a puff of air as it glides off between the two panes of glass that make up the wall within which the door is framed. “Ma’am,” [Staffer] greets as he begins motions to introduce the Earth-man to the older woman. “Thank you,” the older woman cuts; “You may leave us [Staffer].” [Staffer] genially bows his head in recognition of an order. The Earth-man stands barely within the space. [Staffer] makes his way around the Earth-man and as the door slides to close the room off from the rest of the world, the Earth-man stumbles a step forward out of fear that he may be standing within the door’s way. Shy, a bit hunched, each hand clasping the other at about belly-button height, eyes darting throughout the room, slightly rocking back and forth from side to side on one foot then the other, the Earth-man looks certifiably uncomfortable.

“Relax,” the older woman suggests in the nicest voice possibly conjured for this moment. “I, ah, uh,” the Earth-man mumbles. “Hello, I am Kevin Voss,” the Earth-man speaks. “Yes, that is right, Kevin,” the older woman responds, and continues, “Am I pronouncing that correct? Keh-Vin Vah-Ss?” “Uh, yea, and you …” Kevin attempts to ask. “It doesn’t matter,” the older woman squints. Still obviously nervous, Kevin continues to rock from side to side. “Do you know why you are here?” the older woman begins. “Uh, I, I think so,” Kevin responds. “You think what, Kevin?” “I think I know why I’m here, but like, you know, it’s a little tough these days.” “Why is it that you are here then, Kevin?” “Well, I mean, I guess like, I thought that I was just like being asked about a really crazy thing that I saw happen, but now I think that I like definitely saw like something I shouldn’t have, like, you know, I saw something I shouldn’t have. You know?” Kevin blurts out a little anxious but with an overwhelming sense of confidence. This sense catches the older woman in a strange way that cannot be pinned down so easily. A whistle of a small wind. The older woman tilts her head slightly down and slowly closes her eyes to the sound. “Uh, Miss, or like Madam?” Kevin attempts again to ask. “Quiet,” the older woman conjures her nicest voice again, “Please.” Laughing. A warm breeze fills the tiny room. “Uh, wait, what is this?” frightened, Kevin asks; “Uh, Madam, or Ma’am, I really don’t like want to go through anything like weird or anything.” The older woman does not hear Kevin, of course. Instead, the sounds of a message ring through the older woman’s ears. When you live in the dark, there, much less is seen. The breeze ceases, Kevin, green in the face, about to vomit, begins to breathe heavily, one hand on each knee, bent in distress. “Please, Kevin. Calm down,” the older woman commands in a less-nice voice, albeit still pretty gentle. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, I just,” Kevin starts again. “Understood,” the older woman sternly responds. A strange moment goes by while Kevin suddenly appears to feel much better. “Yes,” the older woman speaks. “What was that?” Kevin asks. “It doesn’t matter,” the older woman informs. “What doesn’t matter?” Kevin asks again. “Your feelings, dear,” the older woman obliges.”But I feel fine,” confused, Kevin answers. “Excellent. Kevin,” the older woman calls; “Why don’t we take a little walk.” “Uh, okay,” Kevin agrees.

The two exit the distillation room, into the presence of the older woman’s three remaining escorts. To the escorts the older woman directs, “We will take a short walk through the hillside. Your accompaniment is unnecessary. However, please do follow us through the stream, and then wait for us there.” “Yes, ma’am,” escort V responds for all three. Kevin, feeling nervous again, states an awkward, “Uh, hello,” to the escorts who promptly ignore him. The five, now, walk through the arboretum toward the hillside-themed wildlife of Third Corridor’s Terrace. Silently, they make their way around a bustling group of facilitators who seem to be tending to an unruly bunch of vines that stalk an unwanting population of bamboo. Kevin seems in awe and asks, “Where the fuh-, uh, hell am I? I have, uh, like never seen any place like this before.” The escorts look at each other amongst themselves. The older woman, who leads the group, says nothing. Kevin, assuredly in awe now, continues to speak aloud, “Wow. Well, I’ll be. No, that can’t be. Is that a? Jeee-sus. Phew! What is that? This place is huge? How did that get here? Where did you find that?” For about fifteen minutes they walk through the arboretum until they reach a wide shallow stream, easily crossed upon stepping stones. U and W cross while Kevin follows. The older woman gently grasps the arm of W and instructs, “Kira ought to find you soon.” W understands this instruction and simply nods in acknowledgement. The older woman crosses the shallow stream to meet with the others.

On the other side now, the older woman instructs U and V to stay put, “After some time has passed, a return will be imminent.” “Where are we going?” Kevin interjects. “Up to the hillside,” the older woman entertains. “Why?” Kevin asks, a little indignant. “To get some fresh air. Doesn’t fresh air sound nice, Kevin?” the older woman placates. “Uh, I guess. Yea, sure,” Kevin resolves. “Excellent,” the older woman states with all her might to stay calm and pleasant while turning to begin the walk toward the hillside. “Ma’am,” V speaks aloud. “Yes?” the older woman replies while turning back toward the stream where Kevin, V and U still stand. “The path that breathes is the way that leads?” V asks. “Of course,” the older woman responds and then looks at Kevin; “Come along dear, you do not have all day.”

06 May 2020 | Petty Report

06 May 2020 | Petty Report

Settled now at my “desk” (at the, what is it? bar-height countertop area that open kitchens sorta have?) with a homebrewed iced coffee (cause reasons…duh), and I’ve decided on something like an update, but instead of talking about my ruminations, I will simply show you.

There’s little to nothing to be said about what I’m up to these days except that I’ve been making a ton of shit. Typically, I feel guilty when I focus all of my energies on seemingly unproductive (because they do not make me any money) hobbies. I do not ever wish to make money from my hobbies. There are far better ways to make money. I also am not very fond of making a shit ton of money for someone else while they doll out a pittance to me for “my time.” No thank you. And all of this makes me wonder about the nature of work these days and why people love their jobs just oh so much. Yea, I get it…money. But again, there are better ways to make money than essentially being a paid slave. Employment could be so much more, so much else, so much liberty.

These bootstraps are made of rubber

Anyhow, “the guy” came and replaced our refrigerator today. It’s been on a slow decline since about the beginning of Quarantine (for us). After lengthy updates about the status of the fridge, the fridge stopped keeping things cold yesterday, and so, a final email notification blasted into the webosphere, and then, we received a phone call yesterday afternoon and were notified that a replacement fridge would be installed tomorrow, BUT it’s from an apartment with the opposite layout, meaning the fridge door will open not into the kitchen. The “guy” had to actually confirm that this was okay with us. When I asked him why it would matter, he looked at me like I was crazy. “You’d be surprised,” he scoffed and then continued with a shake of the head, “the things people care about.” Obviously, I do not mind the eccentric nature of a fridge that doesn’t open the “right” way…especially if it’s a “thing” that people are really self-conscious about…ha!

*sigh

I made a picnic blanket by repurposing an old quilt my aunt made me many years ago. She has a salvageable portion of the quilt with her so that she may add it to a new quilt. The picnic blanket turned out well, and we took it for an indoor spin (#StayHome) just in time for the new orders here (#SaferHome) that will allow for us to enjoy the outdoors for means other than exercise or commuting. Yay.

I’m pretty bored today, actually. I will get some sun for maybe an hour, a little later today, but in the meantime, I am literally burning time by “writing.” I’ve been very motivated to do things, physically. But the mental activity of reading and writing is simply beyond me right now. I cannot focus long enough to make any sense of anything I read, and I am not fond of the idea of writing. Nevertheless, I am doing it today, but like I said, only cause I’m finally hella bored.

I’ve also crocheted two little yoga tops, and I’m doing a May yoga challenge. But the picture taking is the thing that has really helped to keep me sane. My brother sent me a new camera for my birthday last year, and it took me a few months to figure out how it would fit into my life. I already have a number of cameras with which I am very comfortable, so the prospect of getting to know a new camera was annoying. I even went so far as to not use the wifi function out of spite for loving it the “old way.” Pathetic, I know. No matter, I set up the damn thing with all its features and started playing around with it in early March. It’s basically an appendage now. I have a prime lens attached to it, and I am using the shit out of the flash, which is giving my photos an excellent vintage sort of film quality. And since the body is so much lighter and smaller than Kenneth, I carry it around with me all the time, which means, I take a lot more pictures, in general.

*sigh

We only recently moved into the apartment we are living in now, and then we’ve been quarantined inside it. I’ll admit that we made a good choice. This apartment has been incredibly comfortable, and I feel extremely grateful that we were able to move in when we did. It’s also been interesting to spend so much time in an apartment I truly enjoy.

I had to drop one of my prospective students. Another student whom I thought was done came to life and completed an incredible assignment. And so, plans for the biz and “school” have been halted dramatically as I have not been able to meet with anyone in person, and I’m an in-person kinda person. Basically, as soon as I stop seeing or speaking to you regularly, I just forget. Those most present in my life are the ones who get my attention. I am realizing (yea, I know, again, very pathetic) that I am a bit aloof, live mostly in my own world, and so, I pay really close attention to those in my proximity, those in my orbit. If you are not in my orbit, you basically have to enter my atmosphere to get my attention. Some people are really good at this. Others truly suck. Yes, I am a complete narcissist who never takes any time to think about anyone else. It’s all me. If you want or need me, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me?

*shrug

I’m sure there’s more, but the length of this thing is probably enough. But life is really making me think about life these days, and how I’m also realizing that most people really do not do anything other than go to their jobs and “socialize” (party) with their “friends” (from high school). And I suppose that this is plenty for the every-person. Nobody needs to strive for anything more than mere survival. BUT if you are of the ilk wherein you’ve got this “life thing” down pretty well—like everyday living doesn’t break you down to your core every day (and you’re a little bit privileged)—consider more for yourself, for your life. And I’m beginning to understand that it’s the doing of things that is the challenge. How is it that you do? How do you do?, now has a completely different connotation and “meaning” for me, cray.

Anyway, no worries, if you are at a loss, stuck in this nightmare of wanting to DO but not knowing where to start or HOW to DO, then fear not! You’re a person, just like everyone else. The difference between you and those you see doing is that you just don’t. It’s really that simple. Whatever the reason is behind why you DO NOT DO matters very little because the hardcore Truth is that you DO NOT DO. And yea, sure, you can give yourself all sorts of excuses like, “It’s a pandemic,” “This is a crazy stressful time,” “Nobody should be expected to be productive when all hell’s breaking loose,” but the bottom-of-the-pit reality is that you just DO NOT DO. Some people are being productive during this time of great stress, and sure, you can cut yourself some slack, but this is also a huge opportunity. Those who see that the glass will be half full again are the ones busting their butts right now, pressing on despite The Virus, and they will also be very far ahead of those who “took a break” during this time. The choice is yours, every single fucking day…Get up and do or don’t. But don’t make those who do feel bad for doing. You’re the loser (again, if you’re healthy, a little rich, bored, and your life has little to no consequence and yet you continue to do nothing more than eat, shit and work) not doing anything, not putting yourself out there to be seen doing (and I don’t mean sharing on social media, obviously, they’re just video games), not allowing the world to see your creations, not existing in beautiful vulnerability for judgment, lacking ideas for a life well lived.

On Terraces

On Terraces

The six escorts stand at attention while the older woman rises from her seat and all walk toward the curved wall directly behind the older woman’s chair. Forming two lines of three, since the older woman detests the “hovering,” as she calls it, of a person immediately behind her, the escorts flank the older woman just behind each of her shoulders. Easily, the older woman may gently glance behind a shoulder and address or look upon any of the six. The lack of importance shed upon the place order of the six reveals the lack of hierarchy among them. Nevertheless, the escort, W, poised just off the older woman’s left shoulder instigates the process of transportation.

For most inhabitants within this orbital, the cost of travel is time. The vast distance between the older woman’s private quarters and the Third Corridor cannot be walked in one day. The distance can be traveled in a day’s sunlit hours by above-ground vehicular transportation or in a few hours by below-ground rail. For a select, unknown to the general population, few, the distance can and may be traveled within a relative instant. Familiar terms such as teleportation, backdoors, wormholes, folding, etc., fail to describe the process accurately. Thus, a specific report of exactly how this method of transport and travel works lacks verification. The exclusivity, of course, accounts for the elusive explanation. Such as it is, the older woman, along with her six escorts stand at the ready in front of the portion of curved wall that sits directly behind the older woman, if she were sitting in her centered chair.

The process begins quickly as the escort W steps forward toward the wall, lifts her left hand. A dim light marks an outline of a door in the wall. The escort presses her hand against the wall within the outlined space, a small puff of air. Separating now from the wall, a door slides backward, away from the group of travelers, then easily slides to the left and opens into a dark passageway. The group, still led by escort W enters the passageway, and as the door closes behind them, the space fills with a soft, dark blue glow. As quickly as the group disappears behind the door, they arrive in a glow of red at the Third Corridor. Of course, still unseen despite their arrival, no one within the Third Corridor takes notice of them, but in another instant, a flash of green reveals the seven travelers to the facilitators as the group appears all at once in the doorway between a greenhouse and a tropical arboretum. Again, much of the arrival process goes unseen by the facilitators with one facilitator recognizing the instantaneous appearance but soon thereafter writing off the improbability of the situation as a moment of lapsed attention, who then immediately calls [Staffer] to notify him of the older woman’s arrival.

Within each of the six corridors resides a place where most inhabitants of this particular orbital give little to no attention. Most, of course, as usual, are unaware of such a facility. Few, not including those who work within the facility, ever visit. Built with the intention to provide solace for the humans now living within a drastically fabricated, synthetic world, the six Terraces house a multitude of former Earth-dwelling plants, trees, flowers and grasses that may be enjoyed by any orbital inhabitant at no cost. Of solid glass, the Terraces each take on the shape similar to that of soapy bubbles piled on a countertop. The tops of each seeming bubble, of course, opens out into the orbital itself, and in some places, the tops of the tallest trees poke out and peer into the orbital. Populated not only by a garden for edible plants, a greenhouse for decorative flowers, a nursery for environmental trees and foliage, a hydroponic garden for medicinal herbs, and a landscaped oasis, every Terrace also houses a specific, themed garden, such as tropical, woodlands, etc.

Each Terrace, obviously, serves a practical, physical purpose of filtering and cleansing the air within the orbital, but they also serve the practical, psychological purpose of filtering and cleansing the minds of the inhabitants. What the Terraces forego is the purpose of education. In a reality such as orbital living, one no longer practices the sort of tangible forms of hands-on learning as was once the standard in days of old. For the first few revolutions, orbital customs required that each inhabitant spend no less than one hour per week within a Terrace. Accessible and sizable, the Terraces can easily hold half of its respective corridor’s residents in spacious comfort all at once. In the case of an emergency, one supposes, every inhabitant within the orbital could reside within their corridor’s Terrace, if only with the slightest bit of personal space. The requirement seemed irrelevant to the mental health of the inhabitants, and so, over time, the compulsory visitation remained law but went unenforced. Soon thereafter, with each new generation pouring in and out of each orbital, the Terraces nearly vanished from human awareness. Nevertheless, for the practical purpose of breathable air, the Terraces continue to do their duty, and their constant, consistent vacancy makes them greatly appealing to the older woman.

The older woman directs herself into the arboretum where she stands at the edge of the bamboo that grows en masse along a path that leads toward a shallow stream, looking beyond the thick forest of ribbed shoots. The six escorts disperse themselves throughout the garden. A few moments pass as a gentle whisper blows by the ear of the older woman. “Who,” the gentle whisper asks, “can see the things for which she does not look?” The gentle whisper continues, “Who can know that which cannot be see?” Unnerved, the older woman calls for escorts X, Y, and Z, “Please, find Kira.” “What, then, would you like for us to tell Kira?” escort X asks. “Upon seeing you, Kira will know what to do.” “Yes, ma’am,” the three respond in unison as they exit the arboretum. Once the three are out of sight, [Staffer] appears in the doorway between the arboretum and the hydroponic systems facility and makes his way toward the older woman who immediately turns to acknowledge him. “My apologies, ma’am, for the wait” [Staffer] begins; “The Earth-man has proven difficult to awaken after the presumably stressful day, yesterday.” “Yes,” the older woman sharply responds. “Shall I take you to him, now?” [Staffer] asks. “No,” the older woman instructs, “bring him to me. I will wait in the distillation room.” [Staffer] nods and excuses himself, “Yes, ma’am.”

On Lingering

On Lingering

“Please, come in.”

“ …”

“Please, have a seat.”

“ …”

“You looked concerned. About what do you hold such grave concern?”

“Well, the last time you called, I was unceremoniously dismissed, at which point I was sure I would be exiled off this orbital or worse, killed.”

“The fragile feelings of your kind must be … daunting.”

“It wasn’t a matter of my feelings, ma’am. I have a job to do, and …”

“And what? You felt as though a deep, evil hindrance prevented you from performing admirably?”

“Never mind.”

“Never mind, what? You are the self-proclaimed user of words in order to tell the story, are you not? Then, by all means, use your words?”

“I’d rather not.”

“Oh, by virtue of not feeling like doing so?”

“No.”

“Understood. Have you eaten?”

“Yes.”

“Who fed you?”

“Kira and one other whose name I never learned.”

“That seems rude.”

“Does it?”

“Be sensical.”

“For what purpose?”

“Your own dignity, if for nothing else.”

“Fine. I suppose not knowing the name of one person who silently delivers a meal could be considered rude.”

“Yes. Did you sleep?”

“During the night, no, but yesterday?, yes.”

“How was the garden?”

“Comfortable.”

“Excellent.”

“Ma’am, what’s going on here?”

“Where?”

Here here. What’s happening. Why am I sitting here?”

“Oh, goodness. Your existence is something about which no one can really speak, confidently.”

“No. You misunderstand me.”

“Unlikely.”

“Fine. If this is how you want it. What happened … yesterday?”

“What do you think happened yesterday?”

“Whatever happened does not matter to me, nor does it affect me directly.”

“It did, however, affect you, did it not?”

“What do you mean?”

“You ceased to exist. If only temporarily.”

“No. I was sitting outside, in the garden, waiting.”

“Were you?”

“Yes.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Ma’am, I can’t.”

“What? Be sure? Please, elaborate.”

“I just can’t deal with all of this … with you … with …”

“How all of this makes you feel?”

“No.”

“Individual choices will most often times be made based solely on feeling.”

“I feel nothing.”

“As a result of your inexistence without the need or approval of others.”

“No.”

“That was not a question.”

“No, this, this is exactly what I cannot do with you.”

“Oh. What are we doing now?”

“Ma’am.”

“Please, illuminate the situation.”

“Ma’am, you called me.”

“Very well. Your services have deemed themselves necessary. Thus, please proceed.”

“With what?”

“Your story, of course.”

“Okay?”

“Now,” the older woman commands, in no fewer words, at the curious being to whom she starkly speaks, who sits directly across from her; “Excellent,” the older woman encourages. “Where is it that you would like for me to begin this next account?” the curious being asks. “Wherever pleases you, dear,” the older woman condescends, and upon hearing the description of her tone chuckles in a snide hiss that furthers the condescension.

For the past three biases, the older woman called into question every inhabitant within one klick (or one kilometer, or 1000 meters or .62 mile) radius of her private quarters. Hour after hour passed as dozens of people streamed in and out of the cylindrical chambers of the older woman’s office. “No, please begin again,” the older woman interrupts. “Sorry?” the curious being asks. “Begin again,” the older woman repeats. The curious being sighs a sigh of frustration peppered with a little disbelief at the situation at hand. Mulling the happenings of the day before, the curious being sits and waits for the words to precipitate above and condense into the rightness of a thing. “Ah, interesting,” the older woman interjects again between the curious being’s thoughts. “What?” the curious being inquires. “The day weighs heavy,” the older woman responds. “Perhaps, ma’am, this would be easier if I were left alone or allowed to leave.” Pretending to give the curious being’s request some thought, the older woman instructs, “Indeed that may be easier, but your work here is not finished. When you are finished, you will be dismissed and freed to go about your lingering.” Indeed, the day weighs heavy upon the minds of the inhabitants who live near the older woman. The curious being looks again to the older woman for guidance or approval. The older woman stares back equally curious. Heavy, indeed, the words begin to fall.

Amidst the mist of mild and grey, the day, cold and long, but no longer, for the morning brought about the orbital’s nearest star’s beams of shine. Through the one circled, ceiling window of the cylindrical room, the light shines through and casts a spell of warmth. A soothing respite from the incident of a Bias long passed. Seemingly calm, the orbital settles into the routine of ordinary life. In the air, no matter, a restlessness lingers as the older woman knows a truth about the overarching circumstance. An Earth-man, lost, resides within a time unknown to him. He lives in a past unreachable. Understanding much, the older woman understands that someone is to blame for this occurrence. There lingers, a question, the much larger question, of course.

Few know the full story behind the incident, and even fewer understand it. All, nevertheless, know of the incident. Those who know the full story have yet to make the full connection between the incident and the Earth-man himself. Those who understand the incident, however, understand the implication. To the many, “Perhaps the Earth-man brought himself here, with purpose, but that seems unlikely. The possibility still remains. One cannot dismiss the possible, especially since to travel through time is no longer fantastic,” goes the gossip. To the few, someone is responsible, but who?

The list, of course, is quite short. Nevertheless, unless the inhabitants demand an answer, the incident will no longer be discussed in a few short iterations, the older woman is sure of it. Of what the older woman, no doubt, is unsure reveals the gap in her knowledge, the gap that cannot ever be known. Thus, a search must commence. “Excellent,” the older woman interjects, yet again. “Now, that search must assuredly commence,” the older woman continues as a small fleet of three men and three women orderly enter the cylindrical room through the door directly to the right of the center of the room where the older woman sits, facing forward, to escort the transport of the older woman across the orbital to the Third Corridor where she will finally meet this man from Earth.

Kira’s (sounds like ‘ear’) Staffer

Kira’s (sounds like ‘ear’) Staffer

“Where have you sent him, Kira?”

“He sits in the garden.”

“Very well.”

“Ma’am?”

“Yes.”

“[Staffer] arrives with haste. Shall I send him in?”

“Of course.”

“ …”

“Please, be seated.”

“ …”

“A message is what you deliver?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Who sent you.”

“I sent myself.”

“How is it that you’ve come by this information?”

“I stumbled upon it myself.”

“By chance?”

“By circumstance.”

“Of course. Where is it that you are stationed?”

“The twelfth exit of the third corridor.”

“Excellent. And what do you make of your superior?”

“The favor that you show toward her must mean she is of the utmost competence.”

“Yes, Kira certainly has trained you well. And the superior of your superior?”

“I cannot honestly say.”

“Make an assumption.”

“ …”

“ …”

“Since I was allowed direct entry just now, when word of my message was made known, I assume that I am proficient.”

“Your name?”

“[Staffer].”

“Very well, [Staffer], please deliver your message.”

“Ma’am?”

“Yes.”

“I am in a place of confusion as to exactly what to say.”

“Ah, yes. Who intercepted you?”

“How did …”

“It does not matter.”

“I do not know him.”

“Very well. What did he say?”

“He requested that I not inform you, ma’am, of the information I acquired.”

“Understood. And the threat?”

“Ma’am?”

“This person must have threatened you, or else, there would be no need for your confusion in whether or not you ought to deliver your message, no?”

“No.”

“Ah. What did he tell you?”

“He told me …”

“Quiet.”

“Ma’am?”

“[Staffer], silence!”

“ …”

“ …”

“ …”

“ …”

“ …”

“Do you understand the options before you?”

“I believe so, however, would you, ma’am, be kind enough to shed light upon them.”

“No. You may ask one question, if you know what that question should be, and the truth will be spoken in return.”

“ …”

“ …”

“What is the likelihood that I will remember who I am?”

“Strong, most remember. You, however, are under completely different conditions. What needs to be done will be done, but if your messenger finds you first, there’s nothing to be done. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Very well. Have you decided?”

“Yes.”

“Excellent. What is it then, [Staffer], that you know?”

“A man has arrived within the Orbital via a displacement.”

“When is he?”

“The Numerical Years.”

“Earth?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“The station at Third Corridor.”

“There is no protocol for this, [Staffer]. How did you contain him?”

“Dream capture.”

“Did you wipe him?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Your reasoning for this?”

“The incident.”

“Excellent.”

“I’ve already questioned him, and he remembers much.”

“Yes. These conversations are known. Action has already been taken.”

“But ma’am …”

“You cannot know what cannot be known, [Staffer]. I, however, am not you.”

“Yes.”

“Do tell, nevertheless.”

“The last thing he remembers is watching someone disappear. He, allegedly, witnessed someone disappear on Earth. The next thing he knew, he was sitting in the station being questioned.”

“No, that is not all. Tell everything.”

“But ma’am, I thought you already know of this occurrence.”

“The occurrence is understood. Tell me the how.”

“Nobody knows how. The witness does not even know he is not from this world.”

“He still does not know.”

“Yes.”

“That was not a question.”

“I am sorry.”

“It doesn’t matter. When was this witness found?”

“Shortly after the last Bias.”

“You found him?”

“Yes. He was walking along the pathway that leads out of the twelfth exit, looking strange. I approached him and immediately knew he was not from now.”

“How did you come to this conclusion?”

“His clothing, the overall look to his face, and he, uh, he smelled of a certain, uh, uncleanliness.”

“Of course. Then what did you do?”

“I sent him into a dream and walked him toward Third Corridor’s station.”

“What was he like when he woke up.”

“Seemingly normal. He did not seem confused or unsure of where he was.”

“He sees only what he knows, of course.”

“Oh, yes.”

“What did you ask him?”

“I just had him talk about his day. He seemed a bit shaken about seeing someone disappear, but not worried about his current state of existence.”

“This is your message?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Please rephrase the entire thing and speak it in one concise package.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Begin.”

“This morning, shortly after the last Bias, I walked my routine rounds around the twelfth exit of the third corridor. While walking, I saw an unfamiliar-looking man who I instantly knew was not from this time or place. I knew this because he was dressed in unusual clothing and emanated a certain stench. Not knowing what the proper protocol is for this sort of situation, I enacted, what I thought to be, the safest mode of conscious suspension and dream captured the foreign man. Shortly thereafter, the foreign man was sleeping soundly in one of the Third Corridor’s station rooms. The foreign man did not seem bothered, nor did he seem as though anything was unusual to him. After an hour or so of questioning, I learned that the foreign man is indeed from the planet Earth sometime during the early Numerical Years. According to the Earth-man, the last thing he remembers is a man disappearing before his eyes. The Earth-man’s full account has been visually recorded and documented. The disappearance seemed to have lasted no longer than a few minutes, at which point, the Earth-man does not recall anything else about what happened next. The most recent thing that the Earth-man remembers is waking to our knocking on his door a few hours ago to wake him. That is when I questioned him and learned that he perceived of our knocking on his door as the knocking by friends back on Earth to remind him of work. I’m sorry, to remind him of his responsibilities to his employer. No one can account for the Earth-man’s time travel. So far no one has come forth as a witness to the Earth-man’s arrival on this orbital. It is possible that the Earth-man has been here for some time, unnoticed, but this is unlikely. My conclusion is that yesterday’s incident must be related to the arrival of a man from Earth’s past. I do not have any idea how this man could have arrived here. I also make no presumptions about why. I must then also conclude that there is a chance that this Earth-man arrived yesterday, having only been found today, but again, I do not think this is likely. Further action is recommended, but I do not know what that action should be. Thus, after concluding my initial round of questioning with this man, I made my way straight to you, ma’am, to deliver this message.”

“Understood, [Staffer]. Thank you for your efforts. Everything you say reveals truth and nothing more. You are dismissed.”

“Ma’am?”

“Yes.”

“I cannot help but wonder how it is that this man arrived here. Please, if you would be so kind, tell me what you know?”

“There is no possible way for you to know what is known by those who know the things that cannot be known. Kira!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Please escort [Staffer] through the door.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And [Staffer].”

“Ma’am?”

“Be careful.”

“Yes.”

“Kira, return to me when [Staffer] has safely departed.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“ …”

“Ma’am?”

“Bring the physicist from the Numerical Years here, immediately.”

“Which era?”

“The last upload.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Of Viruses & Opinions

Of Viruses & Opinions

In the beginning, the year that is 2020 ran through my body with a vengeance named who-knows-what because I did not go to the doctor, but I was quite sick for quite some time as we flew that last bit of distance around our dear sun. 2019 kicked my ass, and I was ready for a fresh new year, and then the year began in what could only be described as a rotted cherry atop a shitty shit sundae. 2019 wasn’t all bad, obviously. We researched and developed our business and I learned a lot managing a restaurant…even if I didn’t manage it long. I was able to spend a lot of time with my parents, and that was nice after half a decade on the other half of the planet. I missed them more than I realized (my dad bought me a gram of pot as a going away gift), but living that close was a little too close (my mom is adamantly against the use of pot). Eventually, I will drag them down here, and they will have to deal with it.

And then 2020 began to pick up steam in a way that I knew was simply unsustainable. I knew that I could not keep doing what I was doing through the month of January and early February. My professional life was expanding fast, with greater opportunity than I had initially anticipated when we were making our plans last year, and my social life was already unbearable with friends and weekends and weddings already booked through the middle of October!, and it was only the middle of February. I thought a lot about what I was going to do and/or if I could even do it. So, if I’m being really honest about how I felt in The Beforetimes, I may have brought all of this upon the world, but I am not so egocentric to actually think this. But then I began to acclimate a bit to my new life here in Longmont, and a routine began to form, and life was starting to make a lot of sense. The momentum that I had to catch up with due to being sick for so long through the new year finally felt like a comfortable pace. I was hitting my cruising speed, and then it seems like it all came to a standstill, but of course, this is not what actually happened. What happened was that it was a slow trickle as it took time to convince everyone to listen to and obey their phones.

I see only dread in not only the handling of The Virus but also, in The Aftertimes, if the smartest among us do not work harder than we’ve ever worked before to dismantle everything that’s crumbling now and then rebuild the world in which we want to live, in and for the future. The 20th-Century growth model needs to be buried in the 20th century. It, alone, is the reason why we are in this fucking mess, and the people responsible are the overwhelmingly ignoranant populus in the middle. They would not know what is good for them if it smacked them in the face. Yes, all of our individual ignorance contributed to the whole, of course. Nobody is free of blame or guilt. We brought this upon ourselves, and now we have to fix it. I can’t blame the Boomers because I’ve contributed immensely through my global lifestyle. I do not feel as though I am better than anyone. It is simply my job to point at the problem so that we may all see it more clearly. This does not mean that I am not part of the problem. It means that I can see it.

The first two weeks of quarantine announcements were interesting, at least on social media. People were sort of excited about the prospect of staying home, but the honeymoon only lasted a few days. Most people barely survived the first week, but now, by the end of the third week, a little more than two weeks after the official announcement, people have been seeming to settle in and realize that this is life now as The Aftertimes glimmers of hope in the weeks-long future. The reality revealed, however, that we all listen to and obey our phones. I got chills the moment I realized what was happening. Sure there are verifiable “in real life” sources to back up all of the stuff we’re seeing online as news and happening, but I cannot help but think that our collective behavior is fucking crazy. But perhaps it is not, though. We are in the 21st century, afterall. The handing over of the collective-control reigns seems more than plausible by this point. Hmm…but that’s it. This is how a society, a species transitions into the clean crisp future of our collective imagination…the objective, collective fear of germs. Wow, it really takes a long time for an intelligent species to “get it.” This also probably contributes to the overall difficulty of intelligent life (if there’s more out there) creating the opportunity to leave their own planets…germs.

The surprising thing is that around Longmont, it mostly seems as though people are obeying their phones, staying home and wearing masks in populated areas. Yes, there are a number of restaurants still open, and all of those employees are still spreading germs around, and so, that’s annoying. But in general, Colorado seems to care.

And so, it is within the here and now that I currently exist, and what I think has not changed all too much from my initial impressions once Colorado went on official quarantine order. I still see mostly dread due to the overwhelming incompetence of the “Administration,” and I still do not have much to make of the stimulus, yet. On the surface, sure, it seems like an obvious solution…give people money. The problem is that what the money is really doing is bailing out banks…again. There’s no way a bank is simply going to let you not pay your credit card bill, right? So, the “government” (I use quotes for obvious reasons) is sending bailout money to us, and then we will pay our bills, which means the banks always win. Super-honesty, I wish the money were closer to $2,000 each. Oh well. And I can’t even focus on the presidential election. Ugh, I was doing so great at getting all of my political writing done, and now I could not care less. Sorry, there is no knowing when there will be more of those.

I’ve not been feeling psychologically stable the past few days…a little down (but not as low as other lows, don’t worry) and burdened by my existential equation, probably mostly due to my lack of exercise. I know I need to exercise a lot to stay really sane, but now that you have to run with a face thing, the task seems even more unappealing. But I do yoga every day, and I walk around the park next to our apartment most days. And so, my days are filled with making shit. I’ve made so much stuff, I’m almost out of stuff to make stuff out of. I’m going to have to make an online order (gross) for yarn and paper and other stuff to make stuff with.

The boredom is not a problem. I am able to make a lot out of it, and that makes me happy. Whether or not I’m being productive is another issue entirely. But it’s hard to care about my productivity at a time like this, so I’m not stressing nor am I beating myself up about not getting some things done that should’ve been done by now. These are difficult times because people are not used to being prey. We, as a species, are not used to feeling hunted. But we have an “enemy” and it feels like it. It feels like there’s something out to get us, and that we’re the thing it wants. We’re prey. And we cannot even enact fight or flight cause we’re all trapped indoors. It’s a difficult, stressful position to exist within, and the existential nature of this threat makes people (Americans) a little crazy, a little dangerous. So, yes, my concerns are shifting as I feel that we are still weeks away from what this will really be…the impending disaster has still yet to come.

Time is moving fast, which is a strange speed for being trapped inside one’s house. I fear the disaster that this disaster will inevitably birth, and I fear the negative feedback loop of that disintegration. Everyone thinks this is bad? Just wait. The worst has yet to come, and then even after that, The Aftertimes will be even worse. I am not being pessimistic so much as I am trying to be realistic. The reality of a shattered economy is one that I do not want to experience, but the inevitability is looking inevitable. And of course, the poorest among us will suffer the most. Chances are that we will not even feel it, or it will be a small hiccup to our accounts. I could blindly be optimistic and look to a brighter future, but that ideology at a time like this is unhelpful. Optimism breeds nothing but hopes and prayers, and what people need right now are answers, solutions, a vision of the future. Now is the perfect opportunity for someone like, say, Elizabeth Warren to paint a picture of the future. If she could outline for all of the young people out there, the world of work, the opportunities of sustainability, the vision of a future that we can build, together. The world as we knew it in The Beforetimes is gone. And the world as we know it, right now, must fall.  And these are the times to which I am not looking forward, despite how necessary I understand these times to be.