These have been days of long walks through the city with friends before the weather forces us indoors. Our conversations loop and wander, fueled by the jittery energy produced by information overload. This line from Don DeLillo captures the gestalt: “Too much of everything from too narrow a source code.” From Battery Park to Herald Square. From Red Hook to the Brooklyn Bridge. These rare hours of in-person chatter are a sanity check. Are things going to be okay? Were they ever?

I often hear people say they feel as if reality is slipping away. But perhaps reality is becoming more evident. Disease and indifference. Institutional decay and mortality. These harsh facts might explain the increasing appetite for conspiracy, the nonsense that bleeds through our screens. More of us are inventing our own narratives, hunting for clear-cut villains and overarching themes. Meanwhile, there’s a very real morgue crisis in El Paso and new curfews in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

Tonight I watched a man on a crowded train, unmasked and defiantly eating a slice of pizza. He chewed at us like a dare. An hour later in the park, a woman harassed anyone within earshot if they weren’t wearing a mask, even if they were alone and far away, quietly looking at the city lights over the river.

Belong – A Walk

Common Era | Kranky, 2011 | 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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