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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

coming clean


There are handfuls of parables floating around the world, about knowing yourself. They fit neatly on a t-shirt or a coffee mug, maybe a meme superimposed over an image of a dark pool of water with one drop in it. The question, "Can man know anything, really?" it has been reduced to a parlor trick. Post-truth, the answers are all custom-fit.

I find myself thinking of the days when we had a rotary phone, and a party line. Waiting for the neighbors to be done talking and eavesdropping a little each time I lift the receiver. The tv was black and white, small in a corner of the living room. We only got one channel, so it was either on or off. I had to be told that the Incredible Hulk was green - to me he was gray.

Waking up feeling lost has become familiar. I'm not going to live in a tree or anything, but I feel like putting distance between the fire hydrant of news bytes and the rest of the world. There is actually an entire world out there beyond screens and paranoia, past the latest tragedy and the next one. I am beginning to take comfort in the fact that I know less than I would like to. It feels good to come clean.

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