February 9, 2019
I grabbed my phone and responded to one of the three messages that came through while I was offline, sleeping. And then I reached for the bedside table and picked up the novel I’d started reading the day before. I dipped right into it, and read a considerable portion of the book—Julie Otsuka’s When The Emperor Was Divine—by the time I decided to take a break.
After I put it down, I made a story about the book on my recently-created Instagram page. My Instagram story was an oversimplified overview: “compact and humanizing,” I tagged it.
I lounged in bed for a little while before getting up to go out to get some food, but also to take a stroll.
Almost midway through my walk, I put on a song in which the person sang about their fervent wish that they didn’t have a heart. I sang along. Two hundred and something steps later, I got a cut, somehow, right beneath my big toe, by a stone that lay in my path. I was bleeding profusely. I panicked for a quick second while I wondered: could it be my heart?
I put my thumb over the cut, hoping to cease the flow. After awhile it did stop, and then I wondered briefly whether to go back to the house without the food, or keep going. I decided to go with the latter; so, on I went, limping my way to the food place.
It began to drizzle. I said a compulsive prayer to the water gods: “I’m an Aquarius,” I pleaded, “and a pluviophile to boot. So you know I love you. Could you please hold on till I grab this food and get back to the house, and then you can unleash?”
The drizzling stopped a minute or so later. I limped my way along, bought my food and got on with my return journey.
I paused at the site of my injury and regarded the offending stone with no malice whatsoever. I took a photo of it. All the while, or maybe right afterwards, I was reminded of the title of the novel I was planning to read next: Cutting For Stone.
Some more limping and a lot more shuffling and I was back at the house. I treated the cut and fell into bed, diving back into my book. I read up until the last chapter, and thought it would be better to leave the bit for bedtime. I plunged into a nap, but I was woken less that twenty minutes later by an email notification. It was from a colleague to whom I’d sent a mix of music a few days earlier.
I got out of bed and pressed play on the mix. I ate while I listened, and both the food and the mix tasted good.
Later, I made an Instagram story of myself munching on a finger, while the voice in the background sang about a monkey eating banana. I spent an hour or two of scrolling through the socials, wasting and whiling away time in equal measure.
It became evening. I turned out the light in my room and put on a film. It was a western, which isn’t usually my thing, but I’d listened to a podcast where salsa musician and activist Rubèn Blades had said that the 1943 film, The Oxbow Incident, had changed him – or something to that effect. I thought it wasn’t a bad film, though I found it anticlimatic. I followed The Oxbow Incident with an unremarkable short film.
A movie marathon, then? I thought. And I thought: why not? So I went on with a film from 1992, Stompin’ at the Savoy. The overall thing was a pleasant viewing experience. In-between, I made Instagram stories with clips from the film that I found interesting, and went searching on Twitter for what other people might have said about them.
After my quasi-movie marathon, I googled Stompin’ at the Savoy and came across two or three reviews of the film. I read them all and shut my laptop down afterwards.
I returned to the last, awaiting chapter of When The Emperor Was Divine, and finished it up. And then I knobbed my lamp off and submitted, eagerly, to the darkness.