A static gloom covers the day, hours of gray.
The day is so without event, so without emotion, I know now this is what is called ordinary. I don’t know what to do with ordinary except to call it a suspension between sad and sunny.
I’m having a do-nothing day, I announce to another (but mostly to myself), and then stumble across this:
“The women . . . are interesting because they’re permitted to risk being boring, which feels somehow like a luxury. It’s a relief.”
“Boredom is often dismissed as a lack of imagination — this not true. Boredom is a signal that we are indeed imaginative creatures, and that the existential distress of being in a state of blah is often the mind readying itself for the epiphany," writes Nick Cave.
I’m not bored exactly, but I am not moved. Is this the blah before brilliance? It’s too much to wish because this creative stupor is a gray that has hovered for what feels like forever. Ordinary turns time inside-out, both enlarging its importance and diminishing your ability. In its lack of color and light, ordinary does absolutely nothing.
But what if ordinary is the lull that lets light in?
It happens so often now I don’t even notice. I’m chatting with a woman and in the course of our conversation she tells me of her husband's death. Her eyes soften and we talk slower and lower and time wells between us in a way that seals us in a moment quiet and safe.
“Intimacy is such a hushed and heartbreaking thing that I think it happens between strangers every bit as much as it does between lifelong lovers, sometimes even more so," writes Robert Vivian in The Least Cricket of Evening.
Lately, an elderly man and I exchange hellos and talk of the weather. Each day I learn a little more. He is quiet and proud but his eyes carry heartache. He apologizes — for emotion, for sharing, I do not know — and I will mew words that say nothing that matters. Still, each day we start again with hellos and smiles.
And this is ordinary. These moments of exchange.
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart), wrote e.e. cummings.
And so we carry secrets and stories, aches and tears — all of it so human and heartbreaking, so beautifully gray and ordinary.