Your Attention Please 🌱

Slow news

For most of the last few months, I’ve been bouncing around the Mojave Desert. It’s great.

There’s plenty of excellent, free camping. Also, I’ve got places to shower and work. I’m a bona fide regular at four different local libraries. I especially like the small ones, where everybody speaks Spanish.

I even have a gym, the community center in La Quinta. $5 day passes. Can’t beat that.

Here’s a picture of one of my favorite spots, on BLM land east of Mecca. Even after dark, I know how to plop down so that I can catch a perfect view of the morning sun as it rises up the canyon:

Read with me

Every few months, I return to one of my favorite short stories of all time: "Pet Milk" by Stuart Dybek. At this point, it’s lodged into my brain. I have Pet Milk moments constantly. Sometimes my whole life feels like a Pet Milk moment. Here’s an example:

Yesterday, I caught all three of my favorite country breakup songs — on one drive, back to back to back. It was surreal. One is a solo, but the other two are duets. That’s five different breakup stories, in total, and I deeply relate to all of them. I can sing the words of any part, man or woman, and it really feels like my soul is saying what it needs to say.

I was basically peaking on that last one, nice and loud, completely unaware of myself, my body, the road, the red light. I was just in it. And then I looked over at the car next to me and there were four teenage girls all with their mouths agape, completely transfixed by me.

Time stopped.

Everything got so slow so fast that it was almost as though I could see four little pieces of chewing gum sitting on four little sets of teeth. Not actually, but that’s how it looks in my memory.

And then the world revved back up again. The music was loud, the light was green, they were gone, that was that. The world was exactly as it was before the five of us collided.

And then, I thought: Oh yeah. This yellow truck. That music. Me. All of it.

Then, I thought: Pet Milk.

It doesn’t matter that the details are different — cars instead of trains, four girls instead of one boy. It’s the same exact experience. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we humans can really see each other. When it happens, it rules.

Even slower news

Here’s a weird thing I wrote in my journal:

I sliced a hard-boiled egg with one of those wire slicers. As I pressed down, I thought, “This — what the wires are doing to the egg — is what the black mirror does to our concept of time. So. Damn. Smooth.”

Sometimes, too much soma, and then I float away.