A new sign in the canyon on her commute: Backyard
Movie Night. She thought of the person who would plant this in
someone’s yard, facing the street. Probably from a small town in the Midwest,
like her. She wondered who would attend, if anyone. More Midwesterners. It
sounded good to her, spreading a blanket on someone’s lawn and watching an old
film—Philadelphia Story?—project onto a white sheet, the spring breeze wrinkling
Katherine Hepburn. The sky turning purple, jasmine in the air, crickets…but
there were no crickets here, just cars.
She’d spent weeks waiting for a mummy head snow globe to
arrive from Manhattan. Ordered for her girlfriend from a store that specialized
in oddities. Her girlfriend’s birthday came and went: still no head. Should she
have ordered the muskrat skull, or the taxidermied piranha? Would they have
arrived faster than a mummy? Who knew about the small choices we make in life
that end up having major consequences. Sara vowed to write a scathing review on
yelp, but then he arrived, and she fell in love with the way snow gathered
along its ancient eyelids.
At 45, he was just discovering the xbox. Each DVD, a world
into which he could escape. He spent hours building a home, enchanting his glass
battleaxes, mixing invisibility potions and poisons, completing quests.
Sometimes a thought would enter his mind that he should spend this much energy
on his real life, his real home, and he knew it was true. But still he couldn’t
stop. The Dark Brotherhood was depending on him to kill the Emperor! The
Stormcloaks couldn’t possibly overthrow the Imperials without him! No one had
ever needed him so much; he had never felt so important.
Meredith began her day thinking about retirement. At the
absolute soonest, it would be in 10 years. She would be 55. She came from a
family of “early retirees,” so she didn’t feel guilty about only working for 40
years of her life and then stopping to enjoy it. Other people—Suze Orman, how
she hated to hear that woman’s advice on retirement—would say it was
impossible, that she needed to work until 65 or 70. But they were missing the point,
she thought: it wasn’t about how much money you should save, but how much of
In the elevator this morning, a co-worker offered her
a ride to the out-of-office meeting everyone was on their way to, and she declined. An awkward silence
followed, during which the co-worker glanced at their other colleagues with
an astonished expression. She knew she should have been polite
and said yes, even though she was not in the mood to talk this morning, or to
listen, or even to smile. She wanted to be alone, why was that always so
offensive to people? Still, she wished she thought more about her
actions; sometimes she shocked even herself.