Returning to the city, I felt a familiar drain on my attention as I drove down the FDR to ditch the rental car. I wasn’t distracted by the lights, traffic, or skyscrapers. No, those pieces of the city looked almost supernatural in the Friday night fog, like impressions from a dream. Rather, it was the sensation of returning to news and anxiety after two days of widescreen thinking. Maybe it’s because going away requires intention, whereas coming home implies routine. But why should I feel as though coming home requires me to monitor headlines and refresh my inbox? This doesn’t do anyone much good. These were my thoughts as I rode the subway back, half-watching an old man play scratch-off lotto and trying not to worry about the people not wearing masks.

I know I’m being romantic, but wouldn’t it be nice to be one of those lonely lights I saw last night on the horizon of the Atlantic, surrounded by the static of the sea rather than screens delivering news about spiking infections and perception hacking. Perhaps this image can be useful, even here in the overheated light of the city.


The Detroit Escalator Company – City Lights

Black Buildings | Peacefrog, 2001 | 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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