End-to-end encryption

Over the years, they had developed something very close to a personal language. No amount of encryption could make their frequent electronic correspondence more impenetrable. Every conceivable (and some inconceivable) situation had its own richly elaborated metaphorical vocabulary to describe it, and any new development could immediately be conveyed by featuring one set of connotations over another. It had gotten to the point where outright saying things would be a flagrantly redundant act; merely gesturing towards the overall genre sufficed, message received

Thus this very gentle morning turned very hectic indeed when the message arrived, consisting solely in the words of ultimate and abject urgency:

Send dudes

Floored and tabled

They had moved boxes. They had moved furniture. They had moved paintings. They had moved more boxes. Everything that goes into a living space, they had moved. For a while, the sheer amount of things to be moved seemed endless. And then, suddenly, it ended. The last box, treated as if it were just another box in a long series of boxes, was loaded unto the truck, and then suddenly somehow there were no boxes. In surprised relief, they dared to breathe and sit down for a spell

And then it hit them

The basement, with its wide variety of unique and at times antique chairs. It, too, had to go

Heroic teaching

She was in a predicament. A situation. Something approaching a pickle. What had happened was that, in a moment of thoughtlessness, she had helped her uncle switch the background image on his computer. Not a tremendous feat, despite recent updates making it somewhat less than intuitive where to click for these things. Because of this small act of heroism, she had become the goto gal for everything computer-related. And by gosh were there a lot of everythings – every day brought a new one, it seemed. And so, when her cousin asked her to impart her computer wisdom, she jumped on the opportunity and became the most motivated teacher the digital world had ever seen

Observing the rules

She looked at the set of rules. They were many, varied and seemingly arbitrarily gathered together in a list. Some were repeated, as if saying something once didn’t count or have sufficient efficacy. Overall, however, they spun an intricate weave of guidelines sufficient to steer those involved toward the proper way to act, somehow without spelling it out in detail

This level of regulatory clarity seemed to her somewhat excessive with regards to its context, a set of communal picnic tables and assorted related utilities. But, then again, perhaps these things begin small and organically spread upwards by observation

Flow

It all happened very quickly. One moment, he was walking down the street, ambiently wondering what to do with this free afternoon. The next, he was being given very explicit instructions to carry things. Apparently, someone was moving house, prompting into being an inordinate number of boxes of varying weights and sizes. Boxes which had to be carried to and fro. Also, furniture. Lots of it

Not having in anything particular to do or get to, he joined in. Some glanced at him in surprise, but assumed he was some distant association brought in for the occasion. Only at the post-move pizza was his true predicament revealed; upon considering his heavy lifting, everyone concluded that this was as good a way to meet a new friend as any

I Ching sign: 2

Determination

Thunder rolled overhead. As approaching storms went, this was a big one. If the forecasts were correct, the storm would loom ever closer and continue its ponderous rumblings well into the night. Almost like in one of those novels where the manor on the moor got a surprise visitor on that one dark stormy night, who turned out to be implicated in an overly ornate plot whose slow unraveling somehow transpired at a sustained breakneck pace once it got going

Putting out her cigarette, she stopped pondering the storm, and closed the window. The play was about to start, and she had every intention of acing the opening line

I Ching sign: 1

The eternal return

In a flash of reminiscence, she suddenly remembered a dish that she used to eat all the time, then stopped for some reason. This memory, being both vivid and inspiring, prompted her to prepare it that very same day. Every step of the process – getting the ingredients, preparing everything, instinctively knowing which setting the stove had to be on – brought back a trickle of memories of those long past days, and the emotional resonances that moved things along. A culinary trip down memory lane, it was

That is, until she took the first bite, and suddenly – in a slightly longer flash of reminiscence – remembered just why she didn’t eat this any more

A later later

In an attempt to come to grips with the new year, she took a detour and read the things she’d written to come to terms with previous years. There turned out to be quite a lot of it – todo lists, wish lists, shopping lists, lists of friends to reconnect with, lists of friends to deconnect with. The latter two overlapped in interesting ways

More interesting, however, was the one word that always recurred. “Later”. There were no end to the things that could and probably should be done, but every year these things somehow delegated themselves into the next one. Perhaps, she thought, there would come a leap year, a year when all the laters would come to pass and save the world from its procrastinating self

Dancing with the times

The kids had gotten older. What had once impressed them now left them indifferent. What had once made them laugh in amazement was now a mere fact of life. The big, unanswerable questions had transformed into smaller, equally unanswerable questions. Everything changed, and the key to dealing with it was to accept the change at the pace at which it occurred

With this line of thought firmly in mind, he rhetorically asked if anyone wanted pancakes. Not one of the youngsters did. They had outgrown such childish foodstuffs. and wanted more sophisticated grub. These days it was waffles that dominated the menu, and thus he grabbed his spatula and set to work

Discourse as power as art

He looked at the object in amazement

On the one hand, it perfectly encapsulated everything about the organization and its aims. It even captured the emotional resonance that permeated its everyday praxis. It was a remarkable achievement

On the other hand, it was also utterly incomprehensible. All attempts to describe what it resembled resulted in a series of floundering nouns, none of which bore any similarity to each other. A rider on a horse, a spaceship, a parliament in session, a flock of birds, children at play – somehow, all of these incommensurate things at once

In short, it was perfect