Snail Mail in Braille

Diary, Aug 31, 2021: Early morning. A car with no catalytic converter slowly parallel parks outside my window. The driver gets out and urinates right on the street, in plain view of everything. Only minutes later a teenage girl walks by. The car drives off, as loudly as it arrived. 

On my way out, I discover two people sprawled out on the floor of the lobby, nearly blocking the entrance. One is digging through a garbage bag, the other is picking her nose. “Good morning,” I say as I step around them. One grunts back, but neither look up at me. 

A few blocks away I happen upon a greeting card soaking wet on the ground near some mailboxes. It’s homemade. “Happy Birthday, Amber.” Amber’s friend wishes she could be there to celebrate. “Here are some cards to play drinking games with.” As I continue on I see another birthday note and an opened package on the ground. The gift remnants are scattered on the side of the street for the next couple blocks, and it becomes clear that a thief has stolen Amber’s mail, torn it open, and discarded what wasn’t of value to them. 

I get very sad. I think about how we’ve treated each other in the last couple years, and how close to cannibalism we are at this very moment. For a painful, terrifying moment, part of me wishes a real plague would come along and wipe us all off the planet, and do it quick before the billionaires have a chance to get to Mars. 

When I enter the woods, I encounter a beautiful little snail slowly making its way across the trail. A year ago, I would’ve transported the creature to safety so it wouldn’t get crushed by some oblivious jogger mom or manbun-wearing hiker bro. Sometimes, if it was a banana slug, I would stand by and wait ten minutes for it to safely cross. But today I leave it in the hands of God, or somebody like God.

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