Sincere eyes melt your tense
jaw into a smile.
Sincere words draw you closer
to the light.
Sincere hearts bow to the beating
wings of their own kind;
Time wanes, weaving
stories from threads
that fell to the floor.
grasp at the orange
It dances side to side,
a slippery fish,
while the stars
The poem too
will not decide to
rest and glow
behind my eyes.
To press snooze on a snow day still feels divine. All night the smell of burning garlic and onions wafted through the house, disturbing my sleep. Someone had put the slow cooker on high and I woke to find steaming black mush clinging to the side of the pot – the ground beef was suffocated of all its soft pinkness from the night before. I closed the lid. On the patio the snow towered clean and white like snow always does. I imagined heaving the burnt pile of beef and onions out the door to scatter across the milk-colored grass. Next door my neighbors’ shovels scraped the sidewalk diligently. How had they risen to face the cold so early? Did the snowflakes whirling on the other side of the glass door fall from the sky, or did they skate off of heavy branches to dance toward the ground one last time? I carried my first mug of coffee back to my room, closing the curtains before turning on the computer. The Word document glows a dirty white beneath fingerprint smudges and dust. It comforts me more than the icy layers that sparkle outside. I hide inside white walls as the tiny green buds must hide beneath the snow a few days more. We haven’t wings like the bold robins that will fearlessly cut through the last of the winter air. I don’t want to shovel snow today.
5. Calling multiple times in a row without leaving a voicemail or text.
Within reason, of course — I’m not talking about emergencies. Calling your friend every twelve minutes until you get a hold of them is a waste of time, and it adds a degree of urgency that is not necessary. Plus, I am 78% more likely to respond to a text than a series of missed calls. (If you are calling from a number I don’t recognize, forget it. I am guaranteed not to call back.)
4. Sending one word texts.
At least send two words. “Hey girl!” is better than “Hi”. Do not send “Hi”. I will not respond.
Okay, I will respond, because I would feel too guilty ignoring you. However, I’ll be responding with a deep grimace, unbeknownst to you.
3. Looking over someone’s shoulder at their phone.
Kindly keep your distance, and keep your eyes out of my inbox. And if you catch me texting about you, that’s your problem! Should’ve minded your business! Hmph!
Personal space: the most underrated value of modern time.
2. Sending a series of texts to convey one simple thought.
Yes, I understand most of us have phones that put our texts into message bubbles. Still, it’s the principle of the thing. I don’t want to feel my phone vibrate ten times waiting for you to make your point. I’m impatient. Life is short.
Sometimes it’s perfectly appropriate to send several texts. I enjoy text convos now and then. All I’m saying is don’t do this:
Text 1: H
Text 2: Hi*
*two minute pause*
Text 3: Sup?
Text 4: Omg
Text 5: Have u checked FB yet?
Text 6: lol
1. Using your phone the entire time you’re hanging out with friends or family.
I’m not innocent here. I find myself at restaurants, laughing and talking, one hand stuffing fries into my mouth, as the other hand stealthily begins to slip unnoticed into my purse, rummaging for my phone, opening the notifications, and next thing I know I am staring blurry eyed at the glowing screen, thinking of an answer to someone who’s texted me something non-urgent (“Hi”), ketchup smeared across my face, completely absent from whatever real conversation I was having moments before.
These days, getting coffee with a friend who gives you their full attention is a rare treat. We need each other’s quality time and attention.
It’s a handsome word – vocation. It tumbles off the tongue at its own pace. It summons the view of a white steeple on Sunday morning, or of a curved back blocking the view of a paint-speckled hand before a canvass. It’s never been clear whether one’s vocation is a fatalistic sentence, clear and static as a thumbprint, or whether it’s something you find after years of despair in career trial-and-error. Indeed, are we all blessed with our very own vocation?
Fortunately it’s okay to be unsure about what you’re going to do, before and during college that is. It’s normal. The options are endless. As graduation dances closer, you drink another glass of wine and wonder why you have yet to walk into an arch of dusky sunlight and mutter “Ah, yes. I’m supposed to be a – !” A what? A who?
Beware of loans. Get your graduate degree first. It’s worth the money. Get your graduate degree later. And don’t go unless you’re sure. Work first. Save up. Take risks. Follow your heart. (If possible, become a doctor. It would be really great to have a doctor in the family.)
What if the vocation that I think is my vocation is an imposter? What if I harbor a prodigious untapped talent in sculpture? What if I have two callings – or worse – my mission necessitates living somewhere other than New York City, San Francisco, or Seattle?
Maybe we construct our vocations in the same way that we construct knowledge and construct meaning and construct social constructs? Can I get a Ph.D. in Social Construction? You know, I’ve always wanted to work with my hands. After all these years tapping this keyboard my fingers are cramped. Therein lives true authenticity, real connection with one’s work. Marx was on to something. Is there a Neo-Marxist Association of America, and are they hiring? College has taught me to think critically. Critical thinking is absolutely critical in this day and age.
Jenny is lucky because she is working her dream job, which maybe translates into: she is actualizing her vocation. Jenny is fortunate in that her vocation pays her to peruse Facebook and look at puppies on Craig’s List for much of the day.
Am I in denial of my vocation, or is it in denial of me? Perhaps my vocation was hoping to reside in the soul of someone more charming.
One thing’s for sure, and that’s that the CIA is in denial of my usefulness as a secret agent. I envision my application somewhere in the “Not a Chance” shred pile, and I expect that’s because the CIA is expert at sniffing out secret agent vocational wannabes.
They say that those who can – do, and those who can’t – teach. What about those of us who can’t do anything about the fact that we can’t teach? Where’s our idiom?
Maybe I’m in denial that my vocation is hiding somewhere between my Motivation to Avoid Failure and my bills from Sallie Mae. She’s somewhere close all right, sighing and rolling her eyes.