I leave my office tired from work and numb about the solitary routines that will define my evening. I begin the two block march toward my car. I want to be invisible so that I can see without being seen.
Just a hundred yards from my office I startle at seeing an owl figurine that I mistake for a real owl. I chuckle at myself for how frequently I am fooled by a garden fixture that I pass hundreds of times per year.
I hear the sound of a tuneless singing voice and trace it to a middle aged woman across the street with disheveled blond hair and flower print yoga pants. I am touched by the fact that she does not seem to give a fuck about what others think of her. I feel slightly less numb.
A block away I see dry dead palm branches along the curb–victims of three windy days. I look up and feel sad for the palm trees that were displaced from their homes just to add to the illusion of paradise. I feel rage at the falseness of this narcissistic city. Yet it is fitting that I choose to live in a place where I feel Other.
I hear a person walking behind me. I pick up my pace but gain no ground. I imagine that this person is going to attack me and I squeeze my right hand tightly into a fist. The person passes me. They are handsome and wearing designer workout clothes. I realize that I manufactured a sense of danger in order to break the monotony of the evening. I feel a passing sense of shame at the privilege that allows me to invent danger for the sake of amusement.
I arrive at my car and drive home to the uninspired thought of turkey patties and broccoli for dinner. I beg myself not to binge eat after dinner; not to turn the numbness into acting out. Walking those two blocks is the high point of my day. “That’s not so bad,” I say to myself.