Paul Cézanne, Young Italian Woman at a Table, about 1895–1900

"Pandemics progress by such insignificant increments …"

I imagine myself trapped in a waiting room with time weighing heavily upon my soul, no real place to go, Weighting. C. S. Lewis might have imagined this place, every seat as hard as an old bench and none comfortable. I stand beside my possessions, which I've stuffed into an oddly-shaped knapsack, which seems a tad too heavy and awkward to handle. I'm weary of standing and cannot quite bring myself to sit. I want to wander over toward the newsstand, but I'd have to drag my knapsack along and I cannot quite face that chore. Besides, I know what I'll find at the newsstand: stale candy I wouldn't choose to buy if it was fresh, yesterday's headlines posing as news, a haze of cheap cigar smoke ringing the place. My train (or will it be a bus?) would be running way late if it was running on anything like a schedule. My destination unknowable, departure time up in the air, I could be waiting anywhere, but I seem to be Weighting nowhere at all.

I spent much of this writing week deferring, missing even my own meager deadlines.
I've been choking out essays through lightly gritted teeth, distracting myself with a stream of almost anonymous audio books, suspended in time and just above and slightly to one side of anyplace. I hoped nobody would notice my puttering, for my lack of forward momentum embarrasses me. I'd hoped that I might be made of stiffer stuff, that I would not fold quite as easily as I seem to have folded. I figure that I'm just disappointed in myself, or in whomever might have moved into the space my more easily recognizable self once lived. A stale mantra echoes within: If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, perhaps next week. If not next week, maybe next month. If not next month, perhaps next year. Everything seems held on hold here.

My vitality seems to have become a victim to indeterminacy. Embracing these new unknowables feels like hugging nothingness to an empty chest. How could I put my heart into any activity like that? I stopped counting Unique Page Views this week, though I still watch as the count grows each day, warmly recalling when those watching didn't feel so damned remote and far, far away. I wrote on my knees this week, groggy and moist.

After my
AskChewing a week ago, I've felt increasingly like a pariah in my neighborhood. Call it paranoia talking, but I sense that I've several times almost overheard the neighborhood gossip asking, "Have you heard what he did?" I have no defense.

I watch a disturbing hastening envelop me, as people perhaps less resilient than even I set to
HasteningQuickly, as if that might shorten their sequestration. I watch as some zoot out to resume their routines without observing what they seem to consider merely mythical precautions, as if real men (and women) didn't wear masks now.

I came to acknowledge that I'd grown out of practice of my usual awakening routine in
RustySpring. I don't seem to restart quite as crisply as I remember myself once doing.

I found myself not above a little constructive complaining in
Crow-Ding, where my natural aversion to the crush discovered a small reassurance.

Checking the map legend, I found considerable
NumberPunching there, as if the publishers had been conspiring to keep me dazed and disoriented throughout my slow passage here.

I'd hoped to find some comfort in this imposed ease, but noticed myself increasingly
IllAtEase as the week progressed.

I ended my writing week by acknowledging that the neighborhood grapevine had become clogged with petty controversy, grievance elevated to serve as purpose in
NoPlaceToChide. I decided to run and hide from the invitation to continue degrading myself. At least I'm still trying.

These weeks seem interminable. The Muse drags herself through eleven and a half hour work days while I do my part by assiduously trying to stay out of her way. I eyed that edited manuscript through the week, whispering to myself that I really should otta update the master soft copy with the few corrections. Gusty winds swirled in to reorder that dog-eared paper pile, the kittens chasing pages as they found the floor. I could not find purchase to finish that work, recognizing that finishing that one piece would queue up the next one wanting my fragmented attention. The world seems more disarrayed than my mis-sorted manuscript. A nap seems more attractive than any reawakening. Pandemics progress by such insignificant increments, moving like an echoing whimper through the population, WeightingHeavily upon the assembled souls who have no place left to go.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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