January 4, 2019
Salt Lake City, Utah
The ground was too hard. I got up from the floor in my living room, where I’d slept the night before. I had needed a change of scenery after a few sleepless nights in my own room. This morning was too drafty and cold and bright: it was already a day of “toos.” I’d been off work for a few days, and now I was already too late.
I scrambled to throw on clothes and makeup and struggled to get to a level that would say, “professional but not trying too hard.” My hand twitched as I finished my slightly winged eyeliner, and I muttered as I thickened the other side to match. Now I would definitely look like I’d tried too hard. I didn’t know why I cared.
I got to the train station late, but thankfully, so did the train. A tinny voice came over the loudspeaker at the platform, announcing a delay. I realized I had forgotten to put on my gloves, and it was well below freezing. I shoved my hands in my coat pockets and squinted down the track. The train was nowhere in sight. I was too cold to check the transit tracker app on my phone.
A stranger approached, asked about the announcement, and mumbled something about the weather. Strangers always come up to me at train stations and stores and public places in general. I’ve been told I have a resting “please-come-talk-to-me” face, though I very rarely actually want strangers to talk to me. This day was no exception, and I was polite but short with them. The train finally came.
I got to work late. Late wake-up, late train, late to work, ugh. My friend who sits next to me caught onto my mood and made a casual remark about Daredevil, a TV show we both love. We talked, and other coworkers joined in, and soon we were all laughing and chatting and turning to our computers to start our workdays.
Lunch and meetings came and went. The day was full of conversation. Too much conversation, maybe, but it was nice and useful. We talked about our new team strategy, parents, the previous year’s performance, new projects, feminism, movies. Some parts of the day, such as my routine morning email-checking, moved too slowly, and I looked at the clock every two minutes. Other parts of the day, like lunchtime and brainstorming meetings, sailed by, and I felt myself wondering where the time had gone.
On the way home, I waited in the cold for the train again. Again, the train was delayed. I avoided eye contact with everyone at the station and any more conversation.
But when I got home, everyone wanted to talk, and loudly. There are seven people living in my house (I live with my parents and siblings), and everyone always has a lot to say. Usually I do too but today there was too much noise. I heard someone mention politics – something about the President’s latest inflammatory Tweet – and I knew that was going to be too intense for me tonight. I went to my own room and sat in the darkness alone for a bit. It helped, and after a few minutes I dragged myself back down the stairs to rejoin them. It seemed like the tension had resolved, and I slid easily into a conversation with my brother about the new season of Young Justice, which we’d been waiting for for years. My parents asked if I wanted to watch an episode of Catfish with them. It was, as usual, a dramatic episode, and we debated whether the episode was faked or not. We all agreed that no-nonsense co-host Max Joseph is the best part of the show and lamented his upcoming departure. Once again, I found myself laughing and chatting.
We ate dinner together and watched a few episodes of Designated Survivor, another of our “guilty pleasure” shows. It was good to finally have a series everyone in my house agreed to watch. That doesn’t happen often. I thought about doing some writing, but I had forgotten my laptop cord at work, and my battery was too low to do much writing anyway. I put it back in my bag and turned back to the TV. My mom said, “We’ve watched too much TV tonight.” We watched another episode anyway.
After one too many episodes, I found myself late once more, this time for bed. I took a shower that was slightly too long and tucked myself into bed. It was 2:30am — too late. But I was much too tired to care.
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