I’ve tweaked the exercise a bit. Starting this week I’m giving myself a word limit rather than a time limit.
Five-hundred words, no more, no less. No contractions, no bon mots, but only words. Or there abouts, this isn’t Venetian law, here.
The current year will bring you much happiness.
878 days in. 217 left. Seven months, seven days. And then… what? Home, I guess, but what’s at home? What’s left to care about? When I left, no, when I was made to leave, get a job or get out, I couldn’t imagine three years away from home, from the city. From all that mattered on planet Earth. Most of the way through and I realize I was never a part of it. The only thing I’d really have missed was the internet and they have that here.
At three weeks it was the worst. After that it all just sort of slid back. No fondness grown from absence, just forget. I can’t even intellectually construct a reason for caring about what I’ve left behind, nothing more than old clothes from childhood or t.v. shows you used to watch religiously that now seem stilted and dim. Shedded skin.
When they came to pick me up I was frightened. Doing something new is always frightening, the worry that you won’t be able to do it right or that it’ll be too hard. Some stress spike convincing you a job is as bad as being chased by lions. All that worry building toward an early death, building toward a ring of fat around your middle, meanwhile I read that the zebras don’t even get ulcers. So what does that make us other than neurotic? Complex, I guess, but complexity’s overrated.
I learned simplicity here.
One pair boots.
Seven pairs underwear.
One pair shorts, one pair slacks.
Most of the time, most days, I don’t wear anything. Maybe just the shorts so I have pockets to keep tools or screws or the tiny disposable vials of vinyl sealant we seem to have in unending numbers. I hate them. I hate the wasteful packaging of them, of the space they take up, of having to grab hand after hand after handfuls of them just to do a single job. I hate knowing that when they’re gone that’s the end. I hate the sense of infinity while the numbers invisibly dwindle.
Glue doesn’t breed. In a year or ten or fifty they’ll run out and that could be the last adhesive sealant in all the world. Then the boat is on its own.
By then I’ll be home. Landlocked in Kansas, a million miles from even a puddle.
I’ve thought about getting a boat, about taking the money I’ve earned and selling all the shit at home and buying something, but I couldn’t afford anything that floats. Not without a loan and then I’m just as tethered to the ground as if I were plugged in, an extension cord running from my mom’s basement to the engine in an over-sized pool toy.
If I sell my stuff, there’s no collateral for a loan.
For now, I’m here. No stuff, no junk. No tethers. The years to come are on their own. For now, in this one, I am content.