At the age of 11, I started high school, two bus rides away into another world.
I was a fish scooped from his cozy bowl, poured into the ocean with its sharks and eels, currents and waves. None of this was friendly. I was Nemo lost.
Each day, I was trapped there from 8 until 4; no escape until the number 11 pulled away.
Thirty years later, I attended business seminars. Crowds of hundreds in a Hyatt, with their egos, stories and ambitions. Black coffee and pastries; loudness from Nashville and Asheville. Caffeine, sugar, small talk and names I’d never process.
I’d escape as soon as I could, behind the safety lock of my hotel room, ashamed of my exhaustion as they networked in the bar.
For introverted me, the Coronavirus lock-down isn’t so bad. My interactions now have edges: Zoom windows with mute buttons and camera off. The outside mediated through frames.
It’s a Hong Kong cityscape at night, lives stacked in condos, divided by walls. Noodles, pizza, TV and video-games.
There’s safety in the smallness. Protection in the barriers. Scary movies are easier to see when mediated through a finger lattice.
Here at home, the outside world is visible only through frames – removed and bounded.
But also very real. Instead of noisy talk and ambition, there’s branches waving in the breeze and a bird with a rasping, two-note song.
There’s melting ice and steaming trees, the taste of a raspberry yogurt.
Maybe this is life as it is. Small but seen. Framed and in focus.