ON THE GROUND(s)

This week's prompt:
How do you find or build your communities?

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Friday, July 24

#34ebd8 Still no word from Yale Mental Health services...perhaps a dog?

Thursday, July 23

#44038f Contemplating the role of the voice in decolonizing the land. Have a strange experience where I can’t explain the connection between space and sound and politics to a friend. Another friend points out the connection between sound and thermal design.

#fa56ac A few years back I started collecting odd sleeping position pictures of my partner. He found out. Now he takes them of me every once and awhile. I got two more of him yesterday. Today I woke up to one of me looking like an actual corpse. I may have started this game off ahead, but that picture caught him up significantly.

Wednesday, July 22

#fa56ac I borrowed my partner’s phone to look something up on google. His last search: ‘why is French rap so good?’. I hope he found out.

#34ebd8 I still attend 6 on 7. Everyday. Cheers!

Friday, July 17

#0018a6 I’ve been trying to tip as generously as I can when I go for coffee. The barista effectively risks their life for a f*cking “essential” espresso, so it’s the least I can do. But how does one even quantify their risk—is a $6 tip really the going rate for playing COVID roulette everyday? Is that even enough? Is it better to support a local business or should I just kick my addiction already?

#34ebd8 Apizza is starting to taste better when paired with the scent of Lysol. Is this Stockholm Syndrome?

Monday, July 13

#01e805 The shower in my new apartment doesn’t have a curtain rod. I haven’t had a shower since Friday afternoon, and I can feel my skin encrusted with the grime and sweat of yesterday’s move. I imagine myself as the Popeyes fried chicken I had for lunch on Saturday, except instead of buttermilk ranch sauce dip me into a vat of bleach. I rush to IKEA, skip the showroom, head straight for the marketplace, grab the Hornen tension rod (3 out of 5 stars at ikea.com) and join one of only two check-out lines servicing the entire store. Across the aisle, an Asian family—mom, dad, and two teenage daughters—loudly bicker. They remind me of my own family, except the parents speak the fluid English of white folks or multi-generational Asian Americans. I am envious. But also strangely proud of this family for taking up so much public space and shamelessly airing their untelegenic pettiness, refusing to tuck themselves into the hollows of that special silence reserved for respectable minorities. 

#44038f I have never in my life been at the same time so tired and so alert.

Sunday, July 12

#01e805 Through bleary eyes, I watch from the check-out counter as a male Rite-Aid employee blocks a screaming female shoplifter from walking out with Gatorade, granola bar and pack of batteries. She is white and indignant, and he is Black and 'how dare he put his hands on her.' I am trying to purchase rubber kitchen gloves and extra strength, scented trash bags for my friends who have agreed to come over to help clean out my maggot-infested refrigerator, full of months’ worth of rotten food. Their overwhelming generosity and the supreme grossness of the ordeal bring tears to my eyes, as does the comedy unraveling in front of me.

#34ebd8 Propagated two Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng plants with my partner and used a q-tip to pollinate Jalapeño plants. Can we finally broaden the kinship, perhaps with a dog?

Saturday, July 11

#01e805 I reach my apartment in New Haven shortly before 9 AM. I open the door to my small studio and am pleasantly surprised to find it in decent shape. The hot, humid air smells a bit stale, exactly the way grandma’s apartment used to. The stench would cling to my clothes for days after each visit before loosening its grip, but not before I had made my way through the whole tin of Charms Sour Balls she’d shove into my hands as a parting gift. Stale sticky sweet. I can almost taste the cloudy, colored hardness of the candy on my tongue. 

#0018a6 One of my roommates has put us on to watching Avatar: The Last Airbender together each Saturday night. It’s an amazing show and I'm grateful she introduced it to us, but it’s still a funny experience. My roommate, who is white, is a die-hard fan who’s watched the show countless times. Am I mansplaining by calling out all the cultural references that I recognize on a show she’s grown up with? Or is it okay that I feel a personal obligation to note the little details that co-opt Asian histories—the unique regional schools of kung fu and tai chi that inspire their martial art forms, the structural similarities of the show’s story to Journey to the West, or the hanbok that some of the Earth kingdom villagers wear (suggesting that the Earth Kingdom is, like the antagonistic Fire Nation, actually a colonial power with multiple vassal states and minority subjects under its domain)? Am I ruining this? I'm ruining this.

#0018a6 I’ve been catching up on episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. My friend and I are going to read Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. A lot of dystopian-not-so-dystopian-more-like-reality vibes. I’m really looking forward to reading, watching, and escaping quarantine by entering alternate worlds. Perhaps some knowledge can be brought back from my journeys. 

Friday, July 10

#34ebd8 Zoom has turned us all into disembodied talking heads—which makes me wonder… Is Dean Berke’s wrist better?

#01e805 I arrive at my gate at the Delta Terminal of LAX for my red-eye. I find an empty seat as far away from another human as possible. If anyone so much as breathes on me I will scream, I say to myself. Instead, I mean mug a woman who gets too close, her small, rambunctious child rolling around on the nasty carpeted floor sans PPE. We board the plane back to front, slowly and in small groups, six feet apart. I pray that the woman and child are sitting nowhere near me as I nervously wipe down my seat and the side of the airplane with disinfectant wipes. When the boor in front of me jerks his seat back into my lap, I imagine roundhouse kicking him in the face. The thought makes me smile, and I fall into a deep, rage-induced sleep. 

Thursday, July 9

#01e805 It’s my last full day in California before flying back to New Haven. Quarantining with my parents for the past four months has been an emotional Drop Tower of anxiety-ridden ups and gut-churning downs. Cultural and language barriers make communicating around anything a Sisyphean task [low]. But today we celebrate with some edibles [high]. We each pop a watermelon flavored gummy and begin to lose our edges. I feel myself spreading in all directions, melting under the heat of the weed and the late afternoon sun. Imagine the cannabis-infused oil glazing the insides of our stomachs like Mom’s honey-coated mug of ginseng tea. 

#34ebd8 Accidentally touched the hand of the womxn bagging my groceries. It was intimate.

Wednesday, July 8

#34ebd8 Waiting to find Sunil’s cabin listed on Airbnb... I’ll trade for my “Cozy Private Room without a separate entrance.”