7:50pm – 8:07pm

A state of alertness

It’s 7:50pm as I start typing. A siren went by just now. I wasn’t planning to write anything. It’s Friday evening. I had written enough. The siren alerted me, though — not just to some pressing drama in the neighborhood, but to listening in general. Once the siren was gone, I was all the more attentive to what it had briefly masked with the shock of its noise. The siren was a short burst, confusing any sense of trajectory, of direction. Almost immediately after, a car sped by, and following so quickly as it did on the brief presence of an emergency vehicle, the car might itself have been part of the action, even though cars speed past all the time. Elsewhere at home there is typing, each sequential pair of keystrokes framing brief snippets of silence. The short snippets go by quickly. The longer ones are filled with some measure of consideration. When will the next key come? What is delaying its arrival? Presumably the majority of the pauses are between words, or sentences. As for the newfound relative silence, the post-emergency silence, it is all the more quiet because there is no music playing. I was listening earlier to a track on repeat, something from the latest Disquiet Junto project, and then I spent time with an album I wanted to write a bit about. Now it is just minor domestic activity after another long work week in what will be another long year, one whose trajectory is unclear, though newspaper headlines certainly suggest a state of alertness, if not of outright emergency, is underway. And now it is 8:07pm.

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