voices

This weekend, I started hearing voices.

Tiny, tinny voices in barely audible bursts, piping up periodically over a long evening alone while I searched them out in vain, and then again the next night.

At first, I thought maybe we were picking up some interference on our landline cordless phone, but that wasn’t it. I put my ear to the wall, thinking maybe it was trickling in from the apartment next door. I double-checked the old digital answering machine in case the recorder had corrupted and was playing smothered bits of garbled old messages.

I checked the volume on my laptop, then on The Fella’s laptop; maybe one of us had left a YouTube tab open and it was, I don’t know, buffering and playing a few seconds at a time. I even bent down and listened to the cable box, wifi router, and TV speakers, wondering if somehow they were sending out tiny blasts of static that my brain was translating into words.

Was it coming from outside the apartment? Maybe someone was doing laundry in the basement under our living room and listening to a staticky radio down there. Maybe someone on the neighbors’ porch was wearing a walkie-talkie. Or maybe a cable-company worker was up a pole somewhere I couldn’t see, with his walkie squawking quietly down to me.

But here’s the part that made me so eager to find a rational source for these tiny little voices: I recognized them.

Yeeeeah. I would have shrugged it off, but I knew these tiny voices, and knew them well. I found them weirdly familiar, comfortable, sympathetic.

After two days interrupted by brief searches for the source of these voices, I shrugged and gave up, perplexed and a little unsettled.

And then on Monday morning, I grabbed my iPod and discovered it had been sitting on the living room table playing RadioLab podcasts at a low volume… since Saturday. Instead of turning it off, I’d turned it down. Every so often, Jad Abumrad or Robert Krulwich would get excited about something and RAISE THEIR VOICES — their oh-so-familiar and friendly voices — which I would juuuuuust barely hear through the earbuds.

Phew.

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grarosaurus

Every so often, I get into a funk, the doldrums, a sad bad mood. Sometimes it passes off on its own. Sometimes the judicious application of self-care waves it away. Sometimes not. But I always try.

Until this week, I hadn’t noticed what an impressive array of bad-mood busters I’d accumulated in my repertoire. This week, I tried them all in various combinations:

– vigorous exercise
– dressing up
– dressing down in my schlumphiest pajamas
– one-minute dance party
– sunlight
– cheerful music
– meaningful work
– frivolous work
– cheerful idle chitchat
– earnest loving chitchat
– send out postcards (or any other small tangible act to brighten someone else’s day)
– eat and drink conspicuously healthily
– eat and drink delicious junk food
– a bit more caffeine
– a bit less caffeine
– make friends laugh
– analyze my feelings
– [redacted]
– make someone laugh
– laugh myself
– laugh at myself
– read a good book
– take a hot bath
– peel (and then, y’know, eat) citrus fruit
– bake bread
– practice gratitude

and the number-one all-time break-glass-in-case-of-emergency cheer-up method (which I secretly use all the time):

– pretend to be a mighty dinosaur by stomping around waving my arms and saying “GRAR.”

coupling

Me: Argh!
The Fella [hurrying solicitously from the next room because my back is bothering me today]: Whoa, what happened?
Me: No, nothing, nothing. I just did that thing — that thing where you bang something, y’know.
The Fella [louche and with a theatrical leer]: Roger that!
Me: Y’know, when you bang your —
The Fella: Copy that! I do know it. Ohhhhhhh yeeeeeah.
Me: I hit the ball of my ankle on the futon, is all.
The Fella: Cannnnnn dooooo.
Me: All you heard was “ball,” wasn’t it?
The Fella: Annnnny time.

everything

The Fella returns to the room from grabbing a beer. Before he sits, he reaches out, and strokes the top of my head.

Him: Oooh, your head is so nice.

Me: Thank you. It’s right at the top of my body. That’s where I keep it.

Him: I like everything about you.

No punchline, folks. No joke. I just wanted to document this moment so I won’t forget it. Because I like everything about him, too.

pet names

The Fella: Hi, burpington!
Elsa: Hi, babe. You’re awful nice.
The Fella: … did you just call me “baby hotbox”?
Elsa: What?
The Fella: Did you just say “Hi, baby hotbox?”
Elsa: “Hi. Babe. You’re. Awful. Nice.” But yes, from now on, I’m calling you “baby hotbox.”
Fella: That’s nice.

scrape

The scene: you’re sitting cozily under a blanket drinking your coffee on Sunday morning. Suddenly, you hear something scraping — repeatedly, insistently, roughly — against the ice and wooden planks of your front porch. Your mind fills in the blank by guessing:

A. the giant claws of some unknown, unseen beast that dares to venture out in the day only because it knows a warm and tender morsel is curled up inside the house, waiting helplessly.

B. It’s the guy they hired to shovel snow and ice, shoveling snow and ice.

If you chose B., carry on. You’re fine.

If you chose A., maybe lay off the Lovecraft for a while. And the caffeine. And get some sleep. But in the meantime, come sit over here by me. I’ll make coffee.

splat

Places I managed to drop bits of avocado from this sandwich:

– onto the countertop
– onto the cutting board
– onto the other-than-intended sandwich half
– onto the the plate
– onto the napkin
– onto the floor
– onto the MacBook trackpad
– into my cleavage
– down the front of my hoodie
– onto my chin
– I don’t know; I never found that bit. Uh-oh.

updated to add: I stopped typing, hit post, and went back to the second half of my sandwich, only to find a bit of avocado on the sofa next to the plate. And no, that was not the missing piece from the list.