Monday, April 25, 2016

The Hourglass

The sand in the hourglass isn't moving too quickly, but the levels on the top dips lower as each grain passes through. 

The room where the hourglass sits on the small side table in the corner is ornately furnished. The type of room where one would never lament a few hours spent in its company. 

The sand continues to fall in its inconspicuous and nearly silent way, but one doesn't mind its steady slowness. 

The room has several windows. Providing light and a lovely view. When the window is open, birds can be heard; wind, waves, and the whisper of a bigger, brighter world. 

The door is locked. But the sand in the hourglass isn't moving too quickly. And there are so many things in the room to do.

The library is vast and wonderful. Filled with books on every topic. There's beautiful artwork too. Stirring and emotional. Easy to spend time studying and learning. All for the sake of edification. Turn on the record player, listen to the melodies of whatever you wish.

Drown out the quiet fall of the sand. The sand isn't moving too quickly. But the door is locked. The view out the window unchanged.

You've read the library a hundred times through. You've stared at the paintings again and again. Memorized each record track by track. The room is beautiful. But you can only rearrange the furniture in so many ways. 

The view is lovely. But the sunshine beckons to you. It's no longer enough to hear the wind--you want to feel it. Feel it before the sand drains completely. 

The sand in the hourglass doesn't fall too quickly, but now there is plenty on the bottom piling up. The room is stifling. No longer is it enough to keep the window open. The room feels smaller. Each hour is spent in the same way. 

What's beyond the locked door?

These books are too familiar. There are permanent indentations in the frequently sat upon furniture. The sand in the hourglass isn't falling too quickly, but dammit, it's still falling.

The wind howls and beckons; the sun shines and like a siren it calls. If only you could feel the elements just once on your own skin. 

Every shelf has been dusted and cleaned. It's all been organized and reorganized. There's a well-worn favorite path about the room, but no square inch is unfamiliar. 

What's beyond the locked door?

Perhaps just another room. Perhaps just a little more access? Not a full egress to the outdoors. The unknown is tantalizing. 

The sand moves--not too quickly. But it is draining. Are these the only walls you'll ever see? The only books you'll ever read? It's a glorious room, but is this all there is ever going to be? 

How long can you enjoy the comforts and pleasantries of the only thing you'll ever experience before it becomes a cage? A cell. A sentence. Unbearable.

The sand isn't falling too quickly, but you resent it falling at all. Before you're ready. Before there is a chance at change.

The view remains the same. The walls still your prison. The weather is untouchable. Would that you could escape! The beyond is just out that window and heartbreakingly unreachable.

The door is still locked and the sand is still falling. What joy then from the delights of the room? This room is no more capable of providing happiness. Escape is the only solution.

The door must be unlocked. The key must be found! There has to be an exit. The sand will still fall, but at least behind the scenes.

It's isn't falling too quickly. But you'll be damned if you have to sit and watch it.



Friday, April 08, 2016

Catalog Dating

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person, who no longer wants to be single, will be asked, "Have you tried online dating/Tinder?" I remember when online dating became a thing. I was still in high school, but it was a scary practice whereupon you had to wade through profile after profile wondering if the person on the other side of the monitor was telling the truth about what they looked like, where they worked, and their criminal background. Everywhere you looked, people were counseling against it. Those that were the pioneers of this new technology were ridiculed or mocked. They came up with creative backstories because meeting online was not something to be proud of. Now, things are different. No one knows how to approach a stranger unless they have already swiped right, exchanged horrible back and forth meaningless text messages, and provided, at least, a headshot as a means of being able to recognize them at a lunch date. It's almost nothing to be propositioned by a complete stranger, just because there really is no risk for the person making the proposition. What's the worst you can do besides saying no? And while I'm sure there are scores of reasons to try online dating and/or Tinder (the first and foremost being that it really is the ONLY way to meet new people), it's created this phenomenon of Catalog Dating. The problem with Catalog Dating is that it doesn't really allow for human flaws and character. It's like flipping through a furniture website or a store catalog looking for a couch or a side table. If you were to see a couch in a catalog that was a little banged up-- maybe the legs were scratched or the upholstery torn, maybe you just didn't think one of the colors would tie into your table lamp--you would continue scrolling. You would never order something from a catalog that wasn't 100% in perfect condition. Why would you? You can't sit on the couch, or really visualize how it will fit into your space, complement your other furnishings. And if you can't do that, then it's best to keep looking until you find the one that you can visualize working out. And sometimes that is great. There are plenty of people that get some really amazing things off of online shopping. But other times, we find out that we didn't measure the size correctly or the color wasn't represented correctly on the screen. Sometimes there is just a problem with shipping. Maybe the construction or material quality is lower than what was represented on the site. The point is, online shopping for men or dates generates these expectations of perfection. And if we don't see perfection, then we move on to the next thing, which means that all of us are missing out on some probably really good options. Remember when dating was more like walking through a consignment shop? You're walking through this placed housed with things that have stories and histories and character. No, not everything is great. But every once and a while, you stumble on a table with so much character that it makes your pulse quicken. You can see easily how it will sit just so across from your fireplace and against your window. Sure, there's a few nicks and chips in the wood. It could probably stand to be repainted, too. The handle might be a little worn, and if you had found this in the catalog, you would have certainly ignored it. Instead, you're giddy and excited. This is just the thing you need to complete your space. So you take it home, give it a little TLC, and its a match in heaven. You don't demand perfection, because you don't expect perfection. You got it from a consignment shop, where you lose all expectations of perfection and are just looking for the thing with the most character and the thing that will fit in your home perfectly. The answer is yes. If a single person, who no longer wants to be single, is asked "Have you tried online dating/Tinder," they are inevitably going to say yes. We've all looked through the catalogs. We've all seen what is being offered. But sometimes it is just a lot more interesting and fun to try a little more organic method.

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