Cement in the snow

I like the way the sidewalk dapples with the snow that blows in with the northerly storms. It’s like the snow is a painter and its trying to turn the landscape into a black and white watercolor.

The color is absent.

I was on the train and a girl followed me to the seat I chose and sat across from me. Not in a way I could talk to her, but more in a way that suggested she wanted me to look at her. Examine her.  Maybe she forgot who she was and she needs other people to scrutinize her. Maybe she’ll find me at some point and ask me what I thought. I could smell her long after she got off at the next stop. She carried a powerful scent of lotion, like Lubriderm or something.

I know what she’s feeling, though. The snow has this fantastic ability to make you forget your purpose. All else seems to pale in comparison to the onslaught of nature. The snow makes you remember that you’re small. The ice crystals that settle everywhere make you realize that the world is a larger system, and the storm is just doing its duty: taking the colder temperatures south, as it must. Everything moves forward.

What is it that I was doing? Was I progressing toward something?

The coffee that the cafeteria serves next to my dormitory tastes like soap. I can’t even drink it. I don’t think it’s even caffeinated, so forcing yourself to drink it is an exercise in futility. To combat this I buy my own. I force myself to go down to the shop that I always do. I see the regulars, the homeless people that scrounge to buy a cup of coffee to be able to sit in the warm building all day. The acoustic plucking in my headphones narrates the scene. It says something like “it’s not all that bad, you don’t have to know where you’re going as long as you find warmth somewhere.”

It made me quite angry that there are people in this world who care nothing for the past, who are able to compartmentalize other people’s tragedies and package them into neat boxes, hidden from the everyday. We watched a movie on the Nanking Massacre in class the other day and then discussed some of the literature surrounding the event. I left class feeling depressed and demoralized, having lost some faith in the ability of people to portray their history correctly or objectively. When I asked my friend, who was in class with me that day, what his impression of the Massacre discussion was, he told me that he thought the class was boring and that he dozed off during the movie. He also remarked that he hadn’t done any of the readings yet.

What is happening to my generation? Why is apathy so pervasive?


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