If the memoir is a mirror you cracked it (for Alan Turing)

We bunker down between the bands of snow on the radar and the news cycles. The squares on the calendar pages where you get stuck waiting to roll again, to advance. A clipper is coming from the west, to meet a low off the Atlantic. The snow is a form of magic hard to predict, but you can feel it approaching, it changes the air. It makes people go funny when they’re inside too long.

The actor plays Alan Turing, the mathematician. The mathematician is a kind of magician but there are no lies with numbers.

The actor is a magician who can fool you to believe it’s real when it’s not, but the fooling part is the magic that makes you wonder. That we are all fools and I just saw something of myself in him. A photograph on the wall spoke to me in black and white.

I sit here next to Bob Dylan’s face on my phone Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. If you sit in a place long enough you can feel the ardor of it, you realize you are a part of it too. You can watch the hands move on the clock face, imagine the pictures on the wall have mouths with secrets, that secrets are better when you don’t know them. That the artist is in there, he gave his body in scraps taken apart and hung in dens and living rooms, packed in boxes, sold for a dollar.

The actor cries for the camera, goes deep inside himself to become someone new. We never would have known Alan Turing were it not for the writer, for the actor. Secrets inside of frames in boxes is all we are, waiting to be shown or taken down. The imitation game is not with machines, but the life we pretend to understand.

On faith and football and dreams

Ginger and I have been out corkscrewing hillsides in the Issaquah Alps, trying to lose track of time and find ourselves in the woods. I carry my notepad with me and stop to write, and she comes to collect me. The notes are a jumbled mess, a meteor shower of ideas shooting in different directions seen from the corner of your eye, make a wish. Stripping off layers of imperfection, our work is never done. We come back sore and dirty and more alive.

I ran out of paper in my notepad and had to go back looking for available space, making boxes around other notes, writing in the opposite direction so as to not confuse different entries, dog-earing pages, tying them to former ideas through footnotes and symbols. When found, it’s the scene from The Shining where they discover Jack Nicholson’s been writing gibberish all winter — ‘All Work And No Play…’

And on the trail there’s an unravelling through the fog as it fades, the switchbacks and sudden streams we come upon. A dream remembered of an IT project manager I worked with, who visited me like a ghost, a confrontation with him in my dream, with my former self.

How I felt such feelings of hate and admiration for him at the same time, for being so good at his job and being such a dick and knowing it, not caring.

The guy who fired off voice-recognition emails with faulty software that rendered implausible results, garble, which could make him look like an ass but he still didn’t care, he just fired them off like gunshots in a crowd and it didn’t matter because he always got the job done.

And part of me hated him because I knew that’s who I needed to be if I really wanted to be good too. And our team had to develop a really thought-through strategy to align on how to manage him. To have pre-meetings so he didn’t derail. To sometimes slam our fist down on the desk and go off and swear before responding to an email. To sit there and bitch about him behind closed doors and at the same time, give him his due.

Ginger and I have now scoured out most of the trails on the south side of the mountain. I forgot my cell phone and didn’t wear a watch, emptying myself and cleaning out the lines, you can’t mix the new fuel with the old. Belief my essence needs some digging out, what they do in therapy.

And I never thought I would become a sports fan, let alone mix writing with sports, but our city’s football team brought us to tears on Sunday — not because they won, but how they carried themselves. How the quarterback, after playing the worst game of his career, held himself up to pull it out in the last two minutes, and then just wept on his knees crossing himself, head down. To trust in the practice, focus and believe.

It’s like learning a new language, when you have to rely on your ears to listen, your heart to speak, and your head to interpret the two. There are people in our German 1 class who don’t believe they can do it, you can tell just as soon as they open their mouths, their chests collapse inwards.

The against-all-odds attitude to fight is not just against the other team, the bigger fight is with ourselves. To dig out and hold ourselves up and say, Here.

Anyone can learn German, can write, can start a fire in the wilderness, can come back with two minutes on the clock. Faith is the knowing without the proof. Trust in the practice, focus and believe.

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch celebrating the Super Bowl XLVIII victory in Seattle, 02.05.2014 - Wikimedia Commons

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch celebrating the Super Bowl XLVIII victory in Seattle, 02.05.2014 – Wikimedia Commons


Known outage report for Western Washington

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Which is true of anything (for DFW)

It started with the glassy-eyed couple at the lake. They had a dog too. They sounded like they used drugs or lived in Northern California, you could tell by the way they talked.

The guy said you can teach a dog around 100 words, they’ve done studies on it. He gave me a URL where you pay $19 and get an IQ assessment done on your dog. They’d done it and were surprised how smart Kenny was, they were proud. The woman smiled and agreed.

I said that sounds like one of those ideas after a night of heavy drinking and knee-slapping: an IQ assessment for dogs. Wouldn’t that be a hoax? And because you paid $19, you have to tell someone else to do it so you don’t feel dumb yourself. And this perpetuates into a viral Internet scheme. 

Once you start believing this kind of thing it’s easy to believe anything. That you can change your tolerance for the cold by wearing less clothes or taking all-cold showers. That if you don’t have anything to write about other than taking a cold shower, take a cold shower. That human sounds of pain and ecstasy are about the same. That drinking too much coffee will give you the shakes and alcoholics have to drink so they can stop shaking. That shaking actually warms the body which is why we shiver and you can raise the internal temperature of your tent by 10 degrees with just a small candle.

That your voice is truly unique but can sound staticky if you’re on the wrong station. That Neil Young can sing about anything and it will sound good because it’s Neil Young and although it’s not what many would call a “good voice,” it’s his voice.

That habits are defined as something we do without thinking, like checking your phone for new messages even when you don’t have any because you just checked.

That you need to know how the story is going to end before you can start telling it.

That men’s breasts really do sag like a woman’s and marijuana can make that worse.

That there are people who laugh as a reaction to pain when they don’t know what else to do or say. That your face looks different in the mirror than it does when other people look at you. That no one has ever gone mad from writing but might from not writing if that’s what they really need to do, which is true of anything.

That dogs have souls like people but they’re not people’s souls, they’re dog souls and there’s no difference between human souls and dog souls. And what goes into a soul? And is it possible there are people without them, who consume other people’s souls because they themselves are empty? And that you can tell this by looking into their eyes.

That there are two types of people, who either take or give. And that people can toggle between “take” and “give” depending on their motive and the time of day.

That you can get better at anything through practice and good habits are defined as things you do without thinking that actually add up to something, unlike masturbation or phone-checking.

That tinnitus will abate if you stop exposing yourself to sustained noise. That hearing loss from firing guns unprotected will affect the opposite ear of the hand holding the weapon.

That it’s true you can dream about something before it happens because time is a ruse.

That people can turn into dogs and vice versa and that magic is real if you believe in it, which is true of anything.

That we are all truly connected and Wi-Fi just makes it faster.

That just a few people can make all the difference in your life. That if people don’t show up at your funeral it doesn’t mean you weren’t important to them, maybe they didn’t get the announcement.

That you can smell the rain before it comes and fool yourself to believe the sound of traffic is the seashore.

That things happen for a reason even when you don’t like what happened. That we have control over our lives even when it seems we don’t. That control is an illusion and being “controlling” is never good. That if no one is controlling a project, the project is out of control. That life ends when you die.

That you can make money as a social media influencer. That people Follow you because they’re interested in getting to know you. That the phrase “making a living” means what you do to get paid. That definitions imply this is everything a word is not, by defining what it is. That fences work to keep things in and keep things out. That we are all here for a reason and may never know what.

That a dog’s mouth is cleaner than you think.

That some jeans really do make your ass look better.

That it’s possible to make things happen you might call divine just by believing in them wholly.

That the gifted and the mad are only a half click away. That our pain is universal because we are all connected and no one knows how to deliver us other than God.

That if someone believes they can fire laser beams from their fingers by concentrating really hard, stay away from them.

Life is the job interview you didn’t realize was a job interview

"Affreschi romani - airone e cobra - pompei" by Stefano Bolognini - Wikimedia Commons

“Affreschi romani – airone e cobra – pompei” by Stefano Bolognini, Wikimedia Commons (or, “Mitch Albom confronts his vapid self in Hades”)

We don’t preen here, the #2 guy says. He repeats himself because he likes the word preen, he puts it in italics. It forces the three of us to pause and think about our last jobs, because we all have that much in common: I’m being interviewed by two guys who left the same place I just left. There won’t be a real interview because no one likes interviews, this is just a conversation.

And my cat looks down at me from the sofa while I sit here writing. The cat’s been outside killing and is preening now, cleaning shit off its claws and back.

Cats don’t age the same way dogs do, they don’t have “cat years,” and that’s because cats are like fucking Tolkien elves, immortal, hard to kill, unclear how, you have to get them to fall in love with you which they won’t, and that’s why they live forever, they won’t allow themselves to love.

The cat is preening not because it has to clean itself but because it likes the sensation of killing and then covering it up. There is a smug, self-satisfied quality, a pride that says I’m SO-not-afraid-of-you just watch me sit here with my neck and stomach out and lick myself, why don’t you.

And the cat looks on disinterested and holds my stare but there’s nothing there in the eyes. Unlike a dog there’s no depth or soul, just the Timeless Expanse of Cat, bred by the Egyptians, spawned of asp.

To live forever requires you have no soul, you are a consumer of souls which is why you sometimes hear of old people dying with a cat bent over them, they’re trying to steal their last breath, the same with infants and cribs, cats are self-congratulatory soul-suckers killing for sport and creeping away to preen themselves and gloat.

I get down on the floor on my side behind Ginger and she fans the carpet with her claws while I strum her stomach, makes half- snow angels, looks like the 80s TV show character Alf, has this person-trapped-inside-a-furry-alien-TV character-quality that’s irresistible.

Which is why Ginger is embarrassed pooping around me and tries to be discreet, will only go in the pre-dawn/twilight hours in remote parts of the yard or deep in the bush when we’re out backpacking, sometimes in the dining room.

Ginger is embarrassed pooping because she’s self-conscious and to be that way, you have to have a self, a something to protect — unlike cats who don’t give a shit and just glare.

I can get Ginger to howl and sometimes when I do, I grab hold of her tongue and hold the tip of it so she can’t move her head. She will look at me sideways with that nervous Alf-look and when she does I say, Get out of my head Ginger there’s hardly enough room for one of us in here let alone you.

Self-reliance in the age of technology

There are no other dads at the elementary school drop-off corral, it’s a maze of mini-vans and stress-masks with encouraging signs near the choke point closest to the school reading “Synergize”: the sign says synergize. In other words, be nice people and it will all work out.

But people aren’t nice, they’re stupid. They slow down right in front of you to read and respond to a text message right away, or they’re using voice recognition apps with their phones and barking into them in that urgent but self-conscious way like a crime scene in Hill Street Blues.

I know what synergize means even though it’s not a real word, it’s one of those corporate words made up by some DB like Steven Covey, as our school has adopted the 7 Habits and carefully knitted them into the kids so they’re ready to start making checklists and serve on cross-functional teams, to perform.

The irony is that I should be able to get people to do things as a former project manager but just like at work, no one listens to me at home either. They require lists and regular stand-ups to review their progress. And when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do it’s your fault, the project manager.

What started out innocent enough with my free time — to get closer to my dog — is slipping into something different now, as I’ve been talking more and more to her and believe she really understands me, is starting to govern my thoughts.

Last night I ran a search, “man turns into dog” to see what would come up, and learned about Therianthropy. I also developed a rash on the small of my back which I assumed was from my backpack rubbing me raw there, but when I got back into a deep spinal twist to examine it and could just about reach it with my chin, I had the urge to bite it for some reason. It seemed the rash was alive, colonizing.

As I was getting into the hot tub, Dawn said she’s concerned about me and wishes I would put down the David Foster Wallace and pick up something nice and fluffy, like Mitch Albom.

But I worked on a Mitch Albom project at work, which catapulted me back to conference rooms and schedules, and a lot of eye-rolling and sighing from the over-taxed people who had to come together and support a Mitch Albom initiative, which was to carry books in Starbucks stores, host reading events, and make sure no one fucked anything up because we were spending PR money on it, or maybe Mitch was, and the goal was to sell books and keep the condiment bars clean which is near impossible, like living with kids.

But I gave him a chance and read the book about people you meet after you’re dead and it’s true: the book couldn’t offend anyone, so millions of people read it and it sure was easy reading alright, which can make you feel proud you’ve accomplished something, you finished the whole book with nary a need to look anything up, but can’t remember anything BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED.

And so for my days and my writing nothing is going to happen either, but you can be damn sure you’ll feel different after for better or for worse. Synergize.

Open your heart to the trees

The doormat can’t go askew but it does, and I have to straighten it each time I go by.

Cats act no different than people when they’re high on cat nip, on drugs: self-centered, prone to violent acts. Still I can’t get them to clean.

The dog has now developed an eyebrow thing with me, where she lets one eye hang down slack like it’s not looking (but of course it is), then raises the brow above the other and just holds it there locked, formulating commands, smiling as she does. I’m now convinced this means Touch Me which I do naturally, to break the lock.

Unfortunately the cats when high aren’t prone to compulsive sweeping or rearranging the art on the walls, as needs done.

There’s a painting in the foyer that no one likes but me, and I keep it there as a sign of dominance over the others.

The painting was done by Barry Blend, an English painter we met in France. It’s an abstract profile of a woman with a forlorn look, pale yellow discs for eyes and no iris imparting a possessed look, too many painkillers or not enough, it’s unclear. My mom had it in their house and was convinced it was an homage to John’s ex-wife Mary.

For me, I like it because it’s gloomy and reminds me there’s always someone feeling worse than you somewhere in the world, so get over it. A kind of morale-booster, that way.

But the painting is prone to hanging slack on one side because I never hung it right the first time and it requires extending the ladder out with everyone watching, saying be careful, don’t fall! So the painting needs straightened with the end of a broom from below, and then starts tilting again, Touch Me.

Now unemployed, it’s getting harder to do anything and I’ve realized that time is an abstract, hypothetical — but money is not.

Yet I can still find ways to put off taking down the exterior Christmas lights because, a.) Charlotte is sick again, up in bed, and could gag on her puke or something without me hearing, b.) I don’t feel like it, c.) no one else notices the lights but me anyway, d.) the weather is too good for taking down lights, or, e.) there are more important things I should be doing right now, but I don’t feel like doing those either.

I’m probably depressed because, a.) I’m out of a job, b.) the weather keeps changing, c.) I’m overdoing it with David Foster Wallace essays about depression that read like a kind of fortune cookie prophesy for his own life that he couldn’t crack open and interpret until he had to do himself in at last, and even though I’ve only read one, that’s overdoing it, or, d.) I have Geographic Tongue.

The doormat curls up on itself in the corner, and it’s unlikely anyone notices that or if they do, they feel compelled to address it. I can’t tell if it’s the unease or the satisfaction of fixing it I need to resolve.

We are learning German though, and Deutsch Ist Einfach (trust me). And just like childhood learners, adult learners put things off to the last moment, when it comes to homework or software updates.

The class is at a local community college in Building C, one of many small meeting rooms with placards outside telling you what’s going on inside.

On my way to German 1, I passed a class of people undergoing Project Management Practicum, and with a snapshot of their faces and guises, imagined who they were, what kind of project managers they were pretending to be, how it felt like pricking an exposed nerve sac in my tooth and made me shake at the thought of it, Project Management.

Sometimes the dog half-barks in her sleep, jerking and twitching, chasing something or being chased in some primordial dog dream, Squirrel-Chasing Up Forest Tree Dream Sequence #5.

And as we settle into the sounds of the house and the dream trees, the small tics and shifts and hums from the appliances run their timed loops and cycles, and day turns to night.

Familiarizing myself with the angle of the sun and which trees get touched in what sequence, trying to ascribe some unique quality to each tree I can use to differentiate them, to really appreciate them for the trees they are, that I never have time for and likely won’t again when I’m working. That perhaps there is some truth to the thought you can feel a tree if you open your heart and your palm and place it on its side, then sit there waiting to feel it. It will come, it always does.

Written as an homage to David Foster Wallace, trying to get some of his style out of my psyche like using a Neti bottle on the Internet, a good flush.

Geographic Tongue

I’m told it’s common, affecting 2-3% of the population, which doesn’t sound common, but intriguing still: Geographic Tongue.

I picked my hygienist because she seems genuinely passionate about oral health. When I ask for more information she gets excited talking about it, like there’s whole new galaxies of possibilities and stories to be told, right here in my mouth.

They’ve made it so comfortable in the dentist’s office now it’s a kind of meditation as I sit here with my mouth out and my hands folded on my lap. The radio is a bit staticky but it kind of suits the sound of the instruments hissing and buzzing in and out, pretty soon you can just disappear.

I used to have the other hygienist Randy, who handled me with a kind of gruff Let’s Get Through This Together machismo, like neither you nor I really want to be here buddy but it’s going to be OK, we’ll get you out of here.

I didn’t pay attention to which hygienist I had or which worked on what days, until I got the girl who gets excited talking about dentistry, the pockets between your gums and tissue line, subtleties of flossing, myth-busting.

She said the Geographic Tongue is not unusual, just a pattern of spots that appear inexplicably and migrate around, then disappear and come back again at random.

So naturally I looked it up online and you guessed it: Wikipedia has a full spread on people with Geographic Tongue, representing all kinds of cases with mouths and tongues hanging out like tattooed, uncooked meat. It gets its name from the shapes of the spots that resemble islands or land masses, may look like a map if you use your imagination.

The thing is, once you start looking too closely at your tongue (or any part of your body), it’s easy to start thinking it doesn’t look right, you could have anything.

Now unemployed, I can make a routine cleaning to the dentist office the centerpiece of my day and feel like I’ve still done something at the end of it, especially after blogging about it.

I got there early enough to thumb through a magazine with stories about traveling in 2015: Where Will You Go?

I flipped to the writer’s bio, wondering how much she made for the article and if I could see myself doing that, most interested in how far out she ran with the language, how far she could go on her own vs. how far they’d let her.

And when I got the referral for the oral surgeon to confirm if it really was Geographic Tongue or something else, surely more ominous, I critiqued the copy on the referral flyer that does its best to quickly assure you, your mouth is in good hands with us, nothing to worry about.

So perhaps the hardest thing about being unemployed is also the pitfall of being unemployed: learning how to enjoy it. And what a pity, to leave my job because I wasn’t enjoying it only to not enjoy unemployment either, thereby proving I haven’t learned a thing.

Hell-bent on savoring it, I took the dog back to the foothills, still convinced we’re starting to understand each other more through non-verbal cues, that she’s sending me signals by the way she looks at me, the possibility either I’m starting to read her mind or vice versa.

The days take on a flowy quality, where I can take my time deciding what to wear and it still doesn’t matter. And yet I want the satisfaction of figuring it all out, this life junction, to know what’s next and still have the patience and confidence to dangle myself in the wind, waiting. That there is something now to treasure, which is always true if we just saw it that way.

I thought it funny I’ve got the map in my mouth, it might know where to go, but when I checked it just now, it’s gone. The spots move like herds with some vague sense of where they’re going, unaware they’re making patterns other people are putting names to.



On wood-gathering and storytelling

The trail description said it gained 700 feet, but I didn’t remember it all happening in the first five minutes. I didn’t read the notices at the trailhead or carry a map because it’s just a canyon, one way in, one way out. It’s what happens when you have just enough experience, you start thinking you’re above common sense.

I had to coax Ginger to cross the scary suspension bridge by holding out cold pizza and walking backwards with my pack on as the bridge swayed and the river below looked green and deadly. Ginger’s been described as an unusually timid dog, perhaps due to an inverted vulva — something I’d never heard of, the kind of thing you learn about when you start having kids and dogs, you can’t take anything for granted.

The trail up the canyon crosses a creek a couple times, but the creek looked dry which didn’t make sense, this time of year. The memory plays tricks because memory is subjective, subject to change. I thought wouldn’t that be something, if I found myself in the wrong canyon, and pressed on.

There is a rule in the backcountry, if you don’t know where you are stop and go back to where you did. The trail was splintering off into game trails and although we passed a coyote carcass I read about online, it could have been any coyote carcass; I wasn’t even sure it was coyote.

I turned around to view the trail from the opposite direction, to remember that day in March I was last here and scan for a match, but nothing. So I turned around and we marched back.

Do "sensitive wildlife" like Belle and Sebastian?

Do “sensitive wildlife” like Belle and Sebastian?

When we got back to the trailhead we’d lost an hour and a half by going left instead of right. The fog hadn’t lifted and made everything look mystical, sage accented with frost. Before I left my job, my stylist and guru said I’d have to get into the cracks and crevices to figure things out, so here I was.

We made camp and set about gathering wood. Alone in a camp with a muddy, frosty patch to sleep on there’s not much else to do but gather wood and ration your beer. It was stamped in me from an early age when the cement was still wet, but I was wasting time wandering up dead-end canyons convinced I was going the right way, trying now to remember who I was when I believed I’d be someone else.

It’s painstaking, meticulous work gathering wood. Rummaging through the clutter of the forest floor, then breaking it all down into logical parts, stacking, drying it. I found a fallen tree in a stand of cottonwood and yanked it out like a lance, 12 feet long, feeling pretty butch. I then smashed the tree with a large rock bit by bit and organized it with the larger logs for later.

We put on the iPod shuffle Ouija board to consult with the living and the dead, both vie for your attention in the wilderness and deserve it.

All signs were pointing to a confrontation with coyote, either the corporeal or metaphysical. The fire got the wicked blue flame in it that makes it look fake, like it was turned on with a remote control. I sat there proud of my fire as the night fell and the fog held on, and the creatures came out and I knew it was only myself I had to fear, they would have to reckon with me too.

Trickster print on paper, author Bill Lewis, Wikimedia Commons

Trickster print on paper, author Bill Lewis, Wikimedia Commons

Fires aren’t much different fire to fire, and anyone can learn to start one with a little technique and patience. There’s an infinite number of ways to approach a story but stories aren’t much different story to story, unless you get scientific about it and start cutting them up.

I wiped the condensation off the flask, thought of my step-dad, toasted him, and settled into a corner of the tent with U2’s The Unforgettable Fire, the charmed quality of a band, stark and desperate. I got to thinking my dog was a wuss, cowering by me not for loyalty, but out of fear. She looked like a photo of an old lady wearing a bonnet.

In the morning we set out for what was left of the moon and my water was near frozen, but I got a fire going in the dark and made coffee, broke everything down and crossed the creek back up the mouth of the canyon, home.

"What's left of the moon" - Umtanum canyon, near Yakima, Washinton

“What’s left of the moon” – Umtanum canyon, near Yakima, Washington


The unabashed quality of the selfie

"This ain't no pic-nic"

“This ain’t no pic-nic”

It is inherently unabashed, the selfie. It has this I Don’t Care I’m Vain aspect I’ll Even Do It Publicly, then push it to my friends. And it’s true, once you embrace the vanity it can set you free to be your real, Vain Self.

Now unemployed and losing track of the days, getting closer to my dog and writing about it, today we set out mid-morning to the foothills to explore dark forest pockets, dramatic dew. I opened the sun roof to see if the fog would come inside the car and sure enough it did, it was the freezing kind of fog that can kill or transform you, so I turned up the heat. And three times I restarted the Dinosaur Jr. CD because the first song just KILLS, and each time I restarted it it got louder, until I caught myself leaning forward with my wrist wrapped around the wheel like a sea monkey, that’s what my hand looked like a hook, and when the chorus came up my head shot straight out of the sun roof through the open hole in the car and my eyes bugged out screaming, YAY-AH!, the revelry of punk anger at just the right timbre, the dog stares back not blinking.

The dog moves close to the ground, sniffing, an economy of diet and movement, sometimes smiling with her tongue when she lets it hang sideways, they really know how to sweat right, dogs, no body odor just scents, no need for perfumes or sticks. No need for shampoo either, and I’m well into a test with my own hair now to see how long I can go. I can finally get it to look like mid-80s Johnny Depp or Morrissey, like it’s exploded and froze suddenly mid-air, like I stepped on a land mine, unflappable.

And like the dog I push myself up the hill now hobbling, relentlessly curious, whittling away the layers to get right down to it, the essence of living and hiking and blogging, the more you carve away the more you’ll find.

The Volvo is now 25 years old and exempt from emissions testing, either an antique or a classic, but the Volvo is Hard On Brakes because it’s heavy and fast, and the brakes smell like burned popcorn after. I like singing and dancing in the Volvo when I’m driving because it’s like doing it publicly but not really: people only get a glimpse, which is why it’s safe picking your nose at high speeds or on quiet roads. The public practice can garner you some Likes or Comments, but most won’t even notice as they go about their well-trained route, thumbing their devices and bumping their Feed Bars for more juice.

And so the blog is like tuning your instrument but going so far as to record and distribute it, even expecting accolades, some chimed applause because that’s what we do now, we take pictures of ourselves and say look who I am, I just realized it.

Inspired by a scene from Dave Eggers’s first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, featuring the protagonist and his kid brother rocking out to a Journey song in their car alongside the cliffs near San Francisco, in the fog.