- - - - - - - - - - - - -
It's during these slow times, when you wish you could get things done faster but couldn't, that you get existentialist flashes. You start to think about how the year went, what you've accomplished and what you failed to do. You look at how fortunate your peers are with their numerous accomplishments while you're stuck in the kitchen waiting on the crock pot and the low flame. The stew simmers in bullet time, and you indulge in a round of tabloid crossword, or Spore on your DS Lite, as the scent of tenderizing meat and mingling spices hypnotize you like an 80s ballad.
"In my time, I've never loved so much... and through each high and low, I've let my heart be touched..." You remember the words and the cradling notes, but you fail to recall the name of the singer, the wheelchair man looking straight at you. You wonder to whom the man was singing to, and rightfully count yourself out of the list, only because you can't recall the last time you fell in love. Or the last time somebody loved you in that strange, bloodshot way. Or even the last time you were painfully touched into rapturous bloom.
The patterned linoleum tablecloth has holes it in, in strategic spots near the fringes, the playground of the lonely and cautious roaches at night. You debate whether tablecloth made out of linoleum should rightly be called cloth at all, among other tangents involving snow white rice cakes and pig's blood during summer afternoons, or white people who prefer their Starbucks tall and strong like their colonizing forefathers. You imagine your ancestors disapproving your choices in life yet telling you with perfumed affection that you're still family, and that they would die for you again, the way they did for your country's right to elect corrupt politicians and talentless popstar wannabes. You turn the knob of the stove down, take a whiff of the stew with an accompanying stir while lowering the flame still, and conclude that everything--absolutely everything--has its place. Alpha and Omega, mythology and manufactured religion, jigsaw puzzle chaos theories in plain sight, conspiracies and healing miracles, ghosts and Area 51, chupacabras and coffee stains. All in their proper places, the way the world works.
Because that is the way of the Matrix. And you don't even believe in the Matrix.
You're just here for the stew. Your stew. The one only you can cook. The one you hope, one day, you'll be able to serve to those dear to you. As the sun paints the sky in rust and builds a pathway for the moon, you keep watch over the crock pot, noting the sputtering of the stew guided by climate-controlled devotion. And in a gesture noted of the impassioned cook, you test a taste, manage a smile and a wish, and realize why you have to take it slow.