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February 2019
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Caleb Goldberg

You gaze around the room, contemplating the possibility of an appropriate destination.
No one is inviting you to their little corner, which fails to particularly bother you because you’re already well accustomed to the feeling. You hold neither the knowledge nor the motivation to invite yourself to one of their tables; you fear rejection, and even if someone decides to humor you, you barely know them and what’s saying you’d even want to be around them, what if you end up hating them or at best mildly disliking them and you’re now forced to suffer their company, worse off than you were before…
You don’t really want to be alone either though. Something about sitting by yourself,
exposed at every angle to whatever and whoever happens to pass by, invites a certain degree of vulnerability that you don’t wish to surround yourself in. You don’t want to stand out, but come to think of it you’re expected nowhere and you’d stand out wherever you try to go anyway, and sitting by yourself is less work, so you determine that frightening sense of self-exposure is inevitable. Thus you sit down by yourself, then you open your laptop and fiddle with the keyboard so as to appear busy. You plant your eyes firmly on the screen, not daring to avert your sight to the outside world in fear of inviting attention; you feel incomplete in your solitude, but the last thing your mind needs in its paradoxical monotony-induced instability is something it can’t predict! You’d rather live another lonely, unremarkable, familiar day than make the gamble
of sending yourself into an outside world that could bring you much-needed purpose, or that could turn you even more confused than you already are.

You realize you’ve got some work to do, and it’s not like there’s anything else offering to take up your moments so you figure it’s a good enough time to meet your obligations. A document to do; you fill the screen with words you’ve never heard anyone say aloud but that are supposed to look good on paper for whatever reason. Mindless stuff really, the same sort of mindless stuff you’ve always done day after day and you expect to do day after day for the rest of your life. Which is all well and good the way you see it, because your mind doesn’t really want to assert itself right now, doesn’t really want to challenge itself, to pit itself against things it may not know what to make of. You’re used to an unremarkable existence, and you’re not ready to have to make your own remarks.
You keep on typing for the next several hours, taking a brief break to sit at an empty table to eat the same bland food you always eat, then you check your email and, oh, more work to do, well it’s not like you’ve got any other plans, so you might as well get started. You type and type and type a few more times, then you’re finally finished for the day so you send the papers in, making sure you select the right email address; all of them are practically identical save for a few letters here and there. You could spend the next few hours relaxing, but you have no one to relax with, nor does locking yourself in an empty room sound particularly relaxing so you decide to start getting ready for tomorrow. You take a shower, letting the warm water drip upon your head the same way it does every night and lathering your hair with the same stinky shampoo you’re accustomed to because you’ve never really felt the incentive to search for a more satisfactory scent. You select an outfit that looks not unlike the one you were wearing a few hours ago, as you anticipate another day.

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