Body and Mind
The kindness of strangers, the vicissitudes of life, the merry-go-round at the mall
In 2001 I was twenty-four years old and visiting Paris when I bought a really great pair of pants. They were red and silky and had dragons and Chinese symbols embossed on them and cost only sixty francs, which wasn’t a lot, about eleven dollars. I bought them on the street from some hippie Romanian woman. (I don’t actually know where she was from, but she seemed Romanian.)
My mother is a wood thrush, and my father is a great snipe. They aren’t my parents in this utopia. They’re birds who met once, then drifted apart, as birds do, so they could lead their own lives and become who they were meant to be. They have no children, bird or otherwise, tugging them in a different, boring direction.
There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.