new year’s revelations

eric and i were in the back booth at red lobster on new year’s eve, early evening – we had what the two of us consider the best booth in any place, and the best seat for each of us at the table – he was in the godfather seat in the corner, back to the wall, facing out, seeing everyone coming going in out, i was facing three dead bushes full of swallows and thrushes, and a pinking skyline above a parking lot low enough to maintain my anonymity.

we were primed for people-watching.

the thing is, smartphones.

fuck smartphones.

i married an observer, and i am an observer, and we discreetly stare and discuss and assess, glance and turn and murmur, speculate and ruminate. little by little there is less behavior to observe…

people are at their most interesting when bored, waiting – slightly uncomfortable, almost where they want to be in time and space. how people fill the moments in between moments are what DEFINE them. chainsmoke and daydream. tilt against the car’s headrest and fold your lip between thumb and forefinger with an unaware scowl. shake a foot. pick at shoelaces. slyly watch others. OPENLY watch others. initiate or be drawn into small talk with strangers. blank, become lost in worlds behind their eyes. play piano on their kneecaps. hum. pace. anything. everything. nothing.

text. check facebook pages. google. thumbs thumbs thumbs. that’s it. stare at the palms of their hands, imprinting lifelines into the backs of their smartphones.

this of course has been long happening – it’s a progressive disease. observers have progressively been robbed of quiet time-wasting behavior to observe…

it really crystallized at the table: the thrushes had gone, across the aisle was another married couple (each with a smartphone in their hands), slightly below me was a row of cars. two were occupied, next to each other. a large white old lady van, a small and sleek black SVU. in the van was a woman in her late 50’s, cardigan, gold glasses. in the svu, a girl in her ealy 20’s, buddy holly glasses, severe ponytail, long thin cigarette. both glanced sporadically up and around, both waiting.

under (what i consider) normal circumstances, the similarities in behavior would end there, and any following similarities would be interesting anomalies. but those were normal circumstances 10 years ago. on new year’s eve 2010, these two women were locked in the exact same time-killing behavior: twiddling their thumbs over tiny keyboards, studying tiny screens.

disappointment is relative. the sky was pink, after all.

and as addicted to my palm as i am, or WE are (eric included), they stayed off the table during dinner. if the couple in the booth opposite had put their phones away, maybe they would have closed 2010 in a more interesting way –  impulsive wig buys, psycho beach party, nudity and debauchery and laughter.

my posts are usually pointless. i thought this one was especially time-relevant.

i am in mourning for boredom.

there. sealed in internet amber.

to all of you – in 2011,  look up from your mini-computers, lock eyes with the flesh closest to you – and make a stop at the lion’s den.



sleep revelations

i slept. like the dead, like a rock, like as close to sleeping and not ever waking up again that you can get – and still wake up. at 7 adam woke and i got up with him, and eric got out of bed and said i could go back to sleep. i threw off the worry of residual guilt and the inherent have-to-do-everything-or-suffer-guilt strings and just went back to bed.

for three and a half hours i was completely unconscious in the most meaningful way. i feel like that entire time, my subconscious was working through every little and big preoccupation i’ve avoided in waking and sleeping hours.

dreamt i was a spy, dreamt heather was living at my mom’s and answered the phone when i called, i wasn’t expecting it. dreamt a million other things i don’t remember. woke at ten-thirty, flat on my back, arms folded across my chest like in the coffin, and felt like i’d just been unplugged from whatever vein to the universe pumps in the feelings of smallness and significance and simplicity and general enlightenment that can only be garnered when licking the iceberg.

i can’t avoid missing my sister and feeling cheated and dumped by her, by trying to manage and maintain everyone else’s feelings and brains and moods and therefore avoiding thoughts about my own. i can’t control the chaos of the universe by creating order in housework – no one i love judges me by the state of my domestic self and i won’t feel anymore in control with a spotless house.

at some point i have to breathe.