My main priority for today was writing a card to a friend whose birthday is in two weeks. When I got to my desk in the morning I picked out a card, assembled my pens, selected some stickers, pulled up their address, and proceeded to stare at the blank card for the better part of ten minutes.
There are few things sadder than having everything you need to write and nothing to say, especially when the message is for a friend you don't see often anymore. You'd think that there'd be more to say for someone you haven't talked to for months, like fresh ideas to exchange or life updates to catch up on, but my brain is silent, as if forcing me to reckon with how the friendship has faded.
I could get a typical Hallmark birthday card and let it do the talking for me, but I hate those. Almost all my cards are blanks because I'm never at a loss for words. I could write a short message and call it a day like some of my friends do, but that feels like a sacrilegous waste of paper and postage. Writing lots of words is how I show my love.
My usual birthday cards are boring affairs. Thank you for being my friend, I appreciate your xyz, yadda yadda. But what is there to thank when you've shared nary a proper conversation in the last year?
One of my preferred procrastination techniques is to check the mail. I bound downstairs, out the front door, down the driveway to the mailbox. Never mind that the postal service comes at noon like clockwork every day. I check that mailbox without fail, early in the morning, after I've already gotten the mail, late at night. If I'm lucky I can catch the mailman stuffing Valpaks and bills in our mailbox and thank them. I don't know why I do it, but the compulsion reminds me of pulling down to refresh on my email inbox over and over again even when I know there's nothing there. I guess I'm just that desperate for something, anything, to break the monotony of my days.
I keep getting mail from my insurance company with free resources on how to manage my diabetes. It's a nice gesture, for sure, except for the small detail that I don't have diabetes. My guess is that they jumped to conclusions from the presence of one of my medications (commonly used to treat diabetes), which is understandable, but it still doesn't feel good to see your name and the word 'diabetes' share the same sentence in print like that, especially from an entity that has access to all your medical records. What do you know that I don't?
One of my favorite Bear-related pleasures is stumbling across personal blogs and getting a peek into the lives of strangers. Like sheilz's, for example, with their uncaptioned, candid photographs of life in Alaska. (Like, is that a fucking moose?! In a parking lot?)
There is a certain charm in the everyday lives of others, how it is normal to them but so foreign to me, and I think my affinity for that charm spills over into my travel philosophy. I'm not immune to being dazzled by the spectacular, but I'll always prefer the slower subtleties of the mundane. I want to see how you live, how life is like where you're from. Show me all the ways our lives differ, and in doing so we'll inevitably find how much we are all alike.
(I almost forgot to write today! These 500-odd words didn't come easy, but I did not come this far to give up.)