#359: Random Days

Glimpsing snow-covered conservatory through wintered wildflowers.
Belle Isle, Detroit, MI (Fuji C200)

Something’s changed over the last couple of weeks. Do you feel it too? I’ve become much more comfortable going out again, and gathering indoors with friends – at least boosted ones who aren’t also immunocompromised. Yesterday I had the first one of those random city days here in a long while.

You know the type. Met up at noon with friends at Ochre, a local bakery, where we picked up breads and beet sandwiches and tahini chocolate cake. Took them over to S and C’s place to eat and stayed till mid-afternoon, talking about hacked Sodastreams and cities where we used to live, about being unemployed or self-employed in our late twenties, about eavesdropping on tourists from upper-floor balconies. Then J and S (a different S) and I went thrifting in the burbs. I got a CD for my new old CD player. For dinner we scooped up fatoosh and koftas from Mr. Kabob, a restaurant attached to a gas station, on our way back to my place, where Julia had just finished a shift of remote work. J and S went home to feed their cat, then a couple of Julia’s old undergrad and nursing school friends (who we just discovered had moved into the neighborhood during pandemic) came over for drinks.

They tell you in story workshops that you’re supposed to avoid “and then”s, supposed to link one event to the next in a chain of causality – that way the story has momentum. Seems less random. But oh boy, sometimes I love random.

I’ve heard, as I imagine you have, about folks who thought they were extroverts and discovered over these last two years that they’d liked spending more time alone. For me, it’s been the opposite. I’d thought that my introverted self could weather the pandemic more easily than I have. I was already working from home, after all. But I’m learning, maybe only just now, how much I thrive on days like these, on being in public with friends. How much I relied on other people, strangers included, for support. Not every moment of every day, but more moments of more days than I’d realized.

It’s Sunday, February 13, 2022. This afternoon, I popped a roll of film into the developing tank, and my scanner is now purring along as I type this. The Super Bowl is on, the Olympics too, and Russia might invade Ukraine, and a trucking convoy is blockading the Ambassador Bridge. The news headlines read increasingly like the scrawl from Star Wars Episode One. It just snowed outside.

Something’s changed. Do you feel it too?