Sharper to see

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They sit lightly on the bridge of my nose, arms clinging lightly to my temples. Through their lenses, the world rushes at me with greater clarity and richer dimension than ever before. They feel oddly sturdy for their thinness and absence of weight. I do not wish to test their durability. I prefer drinking in the details floating in the air around me, higher-resolution data I hadn’t realized I was missing from squinting at small screens or staring at landscape horizons hurtling suddenly closer. All this before I notice the built-in shade that I’d forgotten about requesting, and here it is, seeping in to shield me from the brightness all around.

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Words slide more easily across my eyes. Pages’ edges catch my fingertips and flip just that much more crisply. I can’t see all the way back into a rock legend’s life, but a look back at accounts of his formative years comes easily into focus for a little while this afternoon.

A bit of rain

I kept getting up to wander around the newsroom and looking out the windows onto Grand Avenue to see if the rain had started. When I decided to pack it in and tromped out to the car, I found the windshield and the roof wet with spray from nearby sprinklers.

I made it home and got to my bedroom’s desk and noticed the wind rising outside. Then a rush of noise came, spattering buildings’ roofs and slamming down onto the neighborhood park’s basketball court.

As keen as the region seemed for any help from overhead to beat back the recent wildfires and cleanse the air, I felt sure a lot of people wanted every individual raindrop for its own selfish reasons, and not just because gravity meant each was already predestined to fall.

And he will tell you the truth

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By mid-morning, my chest hurt when I breathed deeply. I fitfully sipped at my morning water and coffee. Dreading another day of stressful breathing, I went to the grocery store. Not even the usual store-playlist trainspotting could distract me: oh, huh, that’s Seal’s “Crazy” followed by The Beatles’ “Come Together” and a half-dozen false starts on The Emotions’ “Best Of My Love,” before settling on REM’s “Orange Crush.”

So I was pretty happy when I got the call back from the family-run chain hardware store in Jack London Square. True to their word, the owner’s son rung me just as we got to the checkout counter: their latest shipment of masks had just arrived. So we went over and I bought a box. Then I went home, read the instructions, and took their admonitions seriously enough to shave: goodbye, goatee!

Then I went to work, settled in at my desk and masked up. After several hours of breathing with reasonable levels of comfort, I ate lunch and thought about how odd it felt to wear this thing on my face. I’m not anywhere I can’t be mistaken for anyone else, I’m not hiding my identity, and I can still answer phone calls. I’m just breathing easier.

I have memories, but I can’t tell if they’re real

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It can take a long time for a proper future to get the showing it deserves, one both highly plausible and impeccably attached to an earlier vision. Tonight, it took almost three hours. But here A and I were, spending Cinemark XD money (unicorns and all) to see how things turn out and what more is still left to learn.

I was less spooked by the new characters as doppelgangers to earlier ones than I was by the cities and the climate, and the gaps that viewers are left to fill in, the history left to infer. That leaves at least three more videos to finish watching, as well as whatever useful video essays come down the assembly line.

Calvin’s the name (his latest frame)

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It was one of those most wonderful times of the year: the opthalmologist visit. It’s when I get to see what I’m going to look like for the next year or two or longer after picking out new frames. It’s also when I get a decent sense of how my eyes are holding up under the strain from all the tiny screens and bad lighting and poor information-consumption choices. Nice as the glasses look like they’re going to be when they’re ready in a little more than a week or so, it’s the contacts that are most exciting. I spent most of the day walking around in a trial pair and even with the left eye’s prescription seriously underpowered, my fit felt really comfortable.

Just think how long I’ve known you

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After I finished work, I swung around from one side of the lake into downtown and slipped into Bar 355 to wish a musician I know happy birthday. As it turned out, a guest of honor was at the bar: a veteran bartender from previous watering holes who had moved to Hawaii but was visiting. On top of that, it felt good to see a couple of the folks I’d hit it off with at other places last year while A. was out of town, like the DJ spinning tonight who put on Toto’s “Georgy Porgy.” Places pop up and go under, but I’m glad the bar and the people have stuck around. I guess I shouldn’t make it so long between visits.

To whoever just stole my bicycle

UntitledI had it for years. I’ve fallen off it hard and gotten right back up and kept going. I spent the last five months getting serious about tracking my trips. I was seeing more and more of my city. I had a way to get around that didn’t require gasoline, but balance and effort and sweat. I actually started losing weight and gaining strength. But you took it off my second-floor apartment’s porch in seconds. It was mine. It didn’t belong to you. You’ve made me feel safe where I live and less trusting of my neighbors. I hope somebody finds my bike and brings it back to me. I’m going to stop writing now before I actually say what I hope happens to you.

I have a penny for your thoughts

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My favorite DJ was spinning the Police, Steely Dan, Tom Petty and a few other sublime slow jams at a bar I hadn’t officially been to in four months. Then there was a burrito, just extra carnitas, beans, rice and cheese, and a really low-hanging, tiny swollen moon on the western horizon. Eventually there was sleep.

I woke up under too many blankets. They wouldn’t stay put in one place, so I folded them and propped them up on the rolling chair in front of my desk. I drank much more water than I usually do. I was much more grateful than I usually am to live in an apartment that gets no direct sunlight after 10:30 a.m..

At the end, there was a trip to the grocery store and an extra trip around the lake just for spending an extra fifteen minutes in air-conditioned sixty-five-degree comfort, followed by a falling-through of plans and a run-through of the album I expect to spend a lot of the autumn digging.

You can quote me on this

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I appreciate reporters. I still can’t believe I am one. I never feel more like one on days like today. Everyone is watching things happen and trying to make sense of things.

Some of us are cracking jokes. Some are waving notebooks around and apologizing for brushing politicians in passing. Some of us are trying to walk the line between observation and commentary. Some of us are just trying not to open their mouths until they know the shot.

Can I be trusted? Almost always. I don’t have much room to get it wrong about a dead body or a crashed car or a fire. Independently observable and occasionally natural phenomena offer their own proof. More often than not, it’s easy enough to get out of the way of people intent on arguing with reality.

There goes the neighborhood

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The bike share station that got installed a couple of blocks away from my apartment this week is not for me.

I have a bike. I have a car too. I use the bike mostly for exercise. The car is for driving to work and back and to run errands. Most of the time it’s parked in the space below my apartment. When I work, I park it in the next block or two over since the bike share station that arrived two weeks ago took out the parking outside the newsroom.

None of this should be skin off my nose, given that the newsroom is moving a mile or so away next month from our ground-floor former bank across the street from a Sears-turned-Uber-rehab site to a third-floor building suite with a lakeside view and even scarcer streetside parking (and a bike share station steps away).

As it turns out, I can walk to the new newsroom. I’ll still have to drive there in case I’m asked to go out to cover some stories in person. But it feels weird, and I feel weird about it feeling weird. It’s just more change, steady, inexorable and most likely uncomfortable.

The bikes are here. I didn’t choose them. They spook me because they’re not meant for me, not even if the mini-billboard next to them features a more handsome and helmet-less demographic doppelgänger. Maybe there’s a market, and the people who can actually afford the newer apartment rents or latest mortgage payments will take to them. It’s not like I have a lawn I can tell it to get off, right?

Who thinks about how a post-carbon future might look until it lands on the edge of their block and says there’s an app for that?

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