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I’m on a train headed into the city. It’s still dark out, but we’re driving toward the slowly brightening eastern horizon.

This section of seats is all but empty, and the few people in it are all asleep or feigning sleep well enough to keep away unwanted social interaction. Everyone here looks old this morning. I’m sure that I look old this morning too.

I can just hear the stops being announced over my headphones. This morning’s music mix is Adele and Wakey!Wakey! and Asobi Seksu, all punchy enough to keep me awake but not pop-saccharine or rap-aggressive.

I don’t remember the last time that I went into the city on my own. I’m always afraid that I’ll get lost, so I plan out every turn and intersection from points A to B to C to D. Big cities make me feel like a child in that way; everything is too big and blocking my view, so I always need some kind of map. At least in the country I can drive to the top of a hill and survey the landscape, find the natural monuments of stone and dirt and water and growing things.

I have a presentation to attend at the University today. I don’t know what I hope to get from it, but neither am I willing to impose my expectations on anything today. I can’t see where I’m going, and there are too many big, gray obstacles in the way to spot my next turn.

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