Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

Like Pins Under A Rug

Originally posted to justin.revision8.com on in Cary, Illinois

Pointless as the timeshift may be, and though I’m glad to have an extra hour of afternoon, today was strange: like full-moon madness, or four-lane idiocy on a snowy morning. Like we collectively postponed April Fool’s Day.

The dog, who normally wakes at what is now 8 AM — independent of Jenn and I — showed no interest in going outside this morning, preferring instead to wrap herself in a blanket on the couch, third choice to a warm body or a radiator. She refused to help with her harness, grumbled when we got to the lawn, did her thing, took her treat, and returned to the blanket. No joke, dog. We’re off to work, groggy ourselves. Minor disruptions.

At work my workstation’s clock somehow jumped ahead another hour, so I left at four, or what would have been three last Friday. The commute was insane.

Halfway between work and Route 14, police blocked a stretch of the road and directed the crawling traffic eastward into a residential area. To the left, a grey sedan lay flipped and unmanned on the asphalt. My brief glimpse of the vehicle’s orientation was horrifying. First comes the sense that it is abnormal for the machine to rest like that. Second is an image of the bodies that once occupied it.

As the crawling parade turned left, to the north again, an idling mess of cars waited to move south. Deep in the stalled stream a minivan’s horn blared. It ceased when the driver caught my gaze. “No one’s courteous enough to let us go,” she complained. “Do you live in Barrington?!” I moved forward. The honking resumed.

No disruption is welcome. I understand her frustration. But it reminded me of the war protest in Chicago last year. Angry commuters who couldn’t leave their offices, from the masses marching down the city’s busiest roads, flooded the airwaves. Talk show hosts bitched for days about the right of citizens to assemble so long as it doesn’t affect me.

The things we’d prefer to sweep under a thick rug of memory stick like pins through its weave. To the world that urges us to forget and to move on, these anomalies — each one a death — collect and compound their effect. My sister’s killing — no mere accident — stuck a pin in me. I stick those who fail in their attempts to console me. Today’s flipped car was a pin in the foot of every stalled driver, not to mention those directly involved. The protest was a web of pins.

Each pin, each disruption is necessary. When we walk our feet begin to bleed: all is not well. We begin to consider our steps.