It was Earth Hour (I learned today, a few days ex post facto). During this hour, we were meant to turn off all our electric conveniences including the lights, television, and phone chargers (I am not sure if we could use phones or not... I did not read the rules yet). And somehow someone was supposed to count all the kilowatt hours we saved during this hour.
I just discovered, quite by accident, a little town in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, called Okay. Okay, OK, has 597 people and a population density of 737.3 people per square mile. By my calculation, that makes 597 humans and 140.3 ghosts in this posited square mile.
For reasons of confidentiality, I am unable to reveal the whereabouts of The Home. Suffice to say that it is a rather large and stately affair ensconced in a semi-rural area, detached from the rest of the world, where the residents live out normal lives far from the prying eyes and fingers of fans, paparazzi, and prosecutorial investigators.
And it has a very nice sound system, too. Oldies mostly.
There are certain times during the year in which the people of the White City are suddenly and inexplicably unavailable. Between Christmas and New Year is a flexible gap of weeks in which people phase in and out of our space-time continuum. Then we are all here until May when the Easter-May Day vortex consumes a good 30% of our acquaintances.
At the moment, the remnants of the citizenry who are in Belgrade are hiding from the sun. Meetings get put off, people on the other end of the phone sound like they just woke up from an afternoon nap (even in the morning), "lunches," which already begin late as far as my hunger cycles are concerned, begin to drift more and more toward the evening.
Unlike bears, we do not sleep through the winter months. Unless watching parliament on RTS counts. But now, as the weather begins to warm, we awaken like the bears from a state of hibernation. We take to the streets. We wear brighter colors, fewer layers, we check each other out. Eyes open.
As soon as the announcement came last month that foreigners were wanted in the new flip-flopped Serbian government, I was on alert. Surely the call would come from Aleksandar Vučić asking me to take over a few portfolios. Not too many, enough to keep me occupied a couple days a week.
But the call never came. I should get my phone serviced.
In Paracin for the weekend among in-laws and ancient ancestors, at one point we were at a loss for something to do that did not involve mounds of food, liters of rakija, and hours of nostalgia. Always the resourceful sort, I come up with a perfect plan for a Sunday night.
Let's go see a movie, I said.
Ever, however, is way too long. There are not any evers in life. Ever belongs to the church, to mythology, to fairy tales. Our world, the real and tangible and smokable world, is about increments of time. Time since my last cigarette. Time before my last cigarette. Time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Time I need to suck on my electronic cigarette to make up for the time it took to smoke my last cigarette.
Nearly exactly a year ago, at the tipping point between early- and mid-December, I forgot to go Christmas shopping. There must have been something good on TV.
Every year, faced with the prospect of engaging in pitched battle with my fellow shoppers throughout the month of December, I seem to make the resolution to do all the shopping in July, thus freeing myself from active duty and sparing myself more bloodshed.