I wonder what you are doing right now.
Besides reading this.
Whether you’re sitting in your car at your destination stealing a few minutes with your phone before you turn on real life, before you go inside. Or in the bathroom leaning against the sink with the door shut waiting a few more moments before you flush the toilet, which will announce to the house that you’re done. Or sitting at your desk on your couch in the rocker on the porch right now. While you read this.
I wonder if you’re wearing daytime clothes or pajama clothes. If you like the way your hair looks today. If you feel like you dressed too warm or too cool or just right for the weather. Whether you’re closer to breakfast or bedtime. Whether you’re moving fast or slow. Whether you’re alone or in a room with strangers or maybe sort of loosely surrounded by people you know. While you read this.
Maybe you’re at home. And you ate too much at whatever meal you ate last maybe it was lunch and you ate a lot of bread and a lot of butter and also a lot of guacamole and you’re stuffed. And now your child or your spouse or your friend wants your attention and you just want to be by yourself for a few minutes. While you read this.
Maybe you’re at work. And you already cycled through your work email and your Facebook page and your Instagram and your text messages and you just checked your personal email again and now you’re sitting kind of slumped in your office chair surrounded by pieces of paper and staring into your screen. While you read this.
Maybe you’re at the sidelines of your kid’s game. At the grocery store waiting in line. At the hair salon the park the doctor’s office. Across the world from me doing something I cannot picture because I have no frame of reference for it.
I wish I knew what you were thinking about before you started reading this. What you’re looking forward to today if you’re looking forward to anything. And what you wish to god you weren’t doing but you’re doing you’re still doing it because you know you’ll be glad you did.
Oh, man, and I wonder what questions you’re asking. Asking yourself. What are you asking yourself this week or this month or just lately? What are you wondering about even if it’s a wondering that you haven’t quite named that hasn’t quite bubbled to the surface? What do you wish you could figure out?
I am always and ever circling around what feels essential to me, and I always come back to the you—to the specifics of you. The specifics of human beings who are doing both the extraordinary and the mundane. What it feels like to be a specific person with her hand on a wall palm flat exhausted from an argument with a teenager. What it feels like to be a specific person with his hand down a drain trying to unclog things in his mother’s house. What it feels like to be a specific person walking through a door into a new place where she doesn’t know anyone and wishing she had worn a sweater.
I used to say that in college I spent 95% of my time on my theatre major and 5% percent on my sociology major. It only took me 22 years to realize that there is a good deal more overlap there than I thought. In both, I so highly value the moments of specificity, the uncovering of the essential.
I suppose I assume that you, too, want to know specifically about other people. That we all do. That those sorts of stories make us all feel a little more connected to one another, a little less alone. So when I write to you, for you, I aim for specificity about my life and about your life, even if I don’t actually know you.
I like that.
I’ve written to you, for you, on one broken teapot for 52 weeks in a row now without missing. I’m so excited about that. It’s an experiment I set for myself last year without telling anyone about it. I wanted to see what it was like. What would change. If I were really consistent. If I didn’t miss even when I was tired or didn’t feel like I could possibly come up with something to say. So many cool things happened because of it, and maybe I will tell you about that sometime soon.
But right now, I will tell you specifically: It is later than I have stayed up in many years. I am sitting in my office at home after two events, a meeting, a grant deadline, and I’m typing on this laptop with my eyes half-closed, surrounded by a half-empty bottle of grape juice, a banana peel, and a mostly empty bag of artisanal pork rinds. It’s been a packed stretch, and I was not about to miss number 52 in my 52-week goal. I am, however, about to go to bed.
And I will tell you specifically: In just over a week, my beloved husband will have kind of a big abdominal surgery. And he will be fine. But there will be upheaval and intensity and recovery.
So. As I celebrate a full year of writing to you, for you, I am stepping away from this space for a few weeks. And I will miss you, specifically. I’ll see you in June. I’m wondering what you’ll be doing then.
I love you.