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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…

where are the lovely strawberries


When I fell asleep as a boy, it was to a Pete Seeger record. I can still remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of it skipping, the needle rubbing against the center of the disc. There was something welcome about that sound, that habit, the repeat of the repeating. 

Now, I wake up to these long distance calls to home. Well, the news. The stories, the comments, the rhetoric, the bubble, the gif, the joke version, the annoyed version, the simple version, the reshared version. The story is on repeat. The grinder turns, the meat comes out, the sausage filled, shipped, sold, cooked, inhaled, shit out and then all over again. 

Last week, I saw more friends check out. More people left the conversation, the platform, the circus. It reminded me of the exodus of expats from Moscow four years ago. If you could get out, you did and never looked back. 

I built a gas station last week. A middle of the night story. A woman, alone. An old black car. A motorcycle swings past in the distance. I made all of this inside a piece of software. A story built from pictures, fleshed out with lights and shadow, a camera drifting and focusing. It all happened in a corner of the living room, while meat roasted in the oven, while the baby was on the playground with my wife, while E was in school. One lonely gas station, and it took days but when it was done I found it to be profoundly satisfying. I watched it, over and again. 

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