Working from home is a bittersweet experience. While one may long to be able to awake two minutes before starting time, lift themselves slightly, and pull their laptop upon them, I find the existence, ahem, fucking depressing. Like apartments with curtains instead of doors and a hotplate instead of a stove.
I read an Amy Hempel book on an airplane from Seattle and a girl with long blonde hair and a Roxy bag said “hello” and sat next to me. I read:
“I would like to go for a ride with you, have you take me to stand before a river in the dark where hundreds of lightning bugs blink this code in sequence: right here, nowhere else! Right now, never again!”
And she reads Cosmo, or Seventeen or some other glossy magazine with a thin beauty on the front assuring you that you’re only four or seven or ten days away from the perfect ass and one quiz away from finding the perfect man.
Fat chance, I think, and keep reading:
“I know that homes burn and that you should think what to save before they start to. Not because, in the heat of it, everything looks as valuable as everything else. But, because nothing looks worth the bother, not even your life.”
Halfway home the plane hits turbulence, the pastel blue window turns solid white until eventually I can see the tops of mountains poking through the clouds. Or, something that looks like mountain peaks, but can’t figure out the logic.
“Mountains don’t rise 5,000 feet.”
I look again and I can swear it’s the peak of a mountain.
It doesn’t matter because I just got honey roasted peanuts from an Asian flight attendant who recited the safety features of the Boeing seven-fifty-something with a heavy yet happy accent, and I wonder if she’s married to the male Asian flight attendant and then remind myself that maybe that’s racist to assume that.
The girl with the long blonde hair immediately opens her peanuts with her mouth, which I notice and find odd and obnoxious then remind myself I was being unnecessarily judgmental. Though I rarely listen to music while I read, the thought of listening to the crunching of peanuts makes my stomach drop. If I were to explain it to you in person, over beers or a bottle of wine or at line in a grocery store I would say, “I don’t know, I have this thing about chewing.” As in, I don’t typically like the sound of it. I can’t accurately pinpoint the feeling I get from it. If I’m one or two days from my period, the feeling would be fuck-your-mother anger. If I’m not, it’s a simple grit-your-teeth-and-ignore-it kind of annoyance. I wasn’t about to start my period, but I still put my headphones on.
I listen to The Walkmen and read:
“A five-hour flight works out to three days and nights on land, by rail, from sea to shining sea. You can chalk off the hours on the back of the seat ahead. But seventy-some hours will not seem so long to you if you tell yourself first: This is where I am going to be for the rest of my natural life.”
The plane lands hard and I put all my items carefully into my bag. Actually, that’s a total lie, I stuff shit in fast and anxiously await the aisle to clear. The girl with the long blonde hair puts her peanut wrappers in her purse instead of in the trash bag that came roaming up and down the aisles before landing. She smiles at me before she exits into the aisle and I smile back but it feels sarcastic even though it’s not, like when I tell my brother three pairs of expensive sunglasses are unnecessary to own because children are starving all over the world.
I get home late, drink two beers, make sure my laptop is strategically placed close to me for my morning. I think about the trip I took, the work ahead, the travels I want to take, what a job away from the couch might do and why the fuck people think Chelsea Handler is so funny. I lift myself slightly, pull my laptop upon me, think about writing some bullshit similar to what you may or may not be reading now, decide against it, put my headphones on, pick up Amy Hempel and read:
“Just once in my life—oh, when have I ever wanted anything just once in my life?”