Two months ago in an upstate diner


Tonight I miss sitting in diners and listening to people murmur and jive, scraping their forks and stirring their coffee. I miss the mumble of humanity punctuated by a stray phrase.

Maybe the magnolias.
Some kind of crazy.
What she doesn’t understand.
Ate too much.

I miss the sound of old men talking about trout and tackle, or a short-order cook bitching about the weather. I miss the energy of the third shift in some far-flung Waffle House when the night owls and long-haul truckers would arrive. The souls living by their own clocks, these men and women with tics and rituals drinking bottomless cups of coffee in front of personal chess sets and notebooks packed with manifestos and promises. Most of all, I miss sitting among strangers and feeling irritated and fascinated.

John Maus – The People Are Missing

From Screen Memories | Ribbon Music, 2017 | Bandcamp

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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