What is the point of a very long walk? It doesn’t generally count as exercise, or maybe it could but that’s usually not what it’s really about. A long meandering walk is almost the opposite of the way most of us work out—those carefully timed-out accumulations of moves meant to be as efficient as possible. Walking isn’t efficient. It’s slow, and unflashy, and either stolidly utilitarian or annoyingly whimsical. (A walk has also become, in pandemic-times, all there is to do — both great and not-great for Long Walks’ PR.) What, actually, is the point?
Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists are familiar with milestones: achievements by which to measure a child’s development, ensuring that any deviations from the norm are detected and addressed as early as possible. And while our culture saddles adults with our own milestones, these tend to focus more on how well we’re assimilating to cultural standards than on whether we’re minding our psychological and spiritual evolution.
Western checkpoints go something like this: Graduate. Partner. Career. Ring. Wedding. House. Kids. …
“When did you come out?” is a question I’ve been asked on numerous dates. (I’ve also asked it, usually when there’s not much else to say.) It’s a question that stands in for other questions: How well do you know yourself? How risk-averse are you? How liberal were your parents, your peers, your places of worship? Where would you situate your family, socioeconomically? Mostly, it’s a stand-in for: How new are you at this? And: Can I trust you?
Gays like me are conditioned to divide our lives in two: Before and After. Year Zero is the day we decide…
Recently I visited some old friends who moved, a few years ago, from New York City to Portland, Oregon. In New York, Brian and Lara had been the staying-at-homest people I knew, which made sense since they also had the nicest home of anyone I knew — a large apartment on the 45th floor in midtown, with a view of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. Our usual routine was: I’d go over to their place, we’d order takeout, have some wine, and watch something like Battlestar Galactica. But since moving to Portland, they have unexpectedly, at age 50, become…
Spend an afternoon at a senior center creating secret handshakes with all the residents.
Get every tattoo my ex has and never tell her.
Print and distribute 10,000 shirts with Peggy McIntosh’s white privilege essay printed on them.
Buy dozens of shower liners and offer one as a thank-you gift whenever I go to someone’s house.
Privately commit to donating a dollar for every like on my Instagram photos.
Die a martyr.
Abide by the Saturday Rules: 1) Brunch at least once, 2) Don’t rush anywhere, 3) Do everything you want to do.
Produce a documentary called 90-Minute…
In the life I walked away from, I am forever frozen midway through that moment between the last click of the drumstick count-in and the sweaty, cathartic bliss that is the crashing first note of the night’s final song.
My Jazz bass hovers, neck raised and ready for the wave of sound it will hold down, my pick poised over the string that will sing out the lowest frequencies.
The sweat won’t dry until our van is half an hour out of town. And we won’t stop for anything but gas until we pull up in front of the next…
Last week I was eating leftover enchiladas and then, a filling that fell out of my tooth. (Google says this is a normal thing to happen after fifteen years.) I called my dentist, who was on vacation, can you come in the 31st? I said of course, even though dental work is kinda off-brand for New Year’s Eve. (Then again, maybe numb and drooling was the proper way to send off 2016.)
It was raining in Los Angeles the day of my appointment, which is basically a push notification from nature like, you still haven’t watched the third season of…
A moment of silence.
“I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable — except for having just jumped,” Ken Baldwin had said.
The other day, a graduate student attending my alma mater fell from the twelfth story of the Science Library, a stark, grim-looking brick of a building. An all too familiar building where many of us have camped out, hours at a time, inside its sun-deprived labyrinth. An all too familiar walkway between the Center for Information Technology and the SciLi where I have hurried past…
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