This week in my Writing for Artists class we read "A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey" by Robert Smithson. After reading, we were asked to write our own creative piece chronicling the signifiant things we observe in our daily lives. My essay is below. Enjoy.
I wake up to sunlight pouring in through my rectangular window. I can see one tree from the moment I open my eyes, but the tree count increases to 20 once I sit up. A dove dips down from the wooden planks outside. Against the cerulean sky, the distant leaves of a willow tree dance with the wind. I hear the soft hum of a lawn mower. I rub my eyes and stretch my arms towards the white ceiling above me. I tuck my Anthropologie bedding back into place and head downstairs to make myself breakfast.
I pause on the landing of the stairs beneath the skylight. After weeks of gloomy days, the natural light makes the pale yellow walls look orange and I squint.
In the kitchen, I take my blender out of the dishwasher. The dishes inside are dirty so I wash the blender and it’s lid in hot water with rosemary-mint soap. I look out the kitchen window, that takes up half the wall, out to my backyard. The view was once just rolling hills leading to the ocean in the west and the mountains to the east. Now, there are neighborhoods, parks, and golf courses to observe.
I peel a banana and break it in half before plopping it into the blender with frozen berries, cacao nibs, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a splash of almond milk. I place a mason jar next to the blender and set it on ‘Smoothie.’ As the blender goes through it’s programmed settings, I warm a piece of french bread.
The days that begin like this lead to afternoons stolen by homework. After hours working, I’m ready to leave my house. Barefoot, I enter the garage and get in my denim blue VW Beetle. I go to my current playlist and click shuffle. “Bags” by Clairo starts to play.
The music overflows from my open car windows like airy bubbles out of a bathtub. I reverse down the driveway and pull off onto the wide street. Every house in my neighborhood looks completely different. Mine is made of wood, some are made of stucco, and around the corner there’s a pink house with purple turrets, a bridge that allows you to walk over a miniature moat, and flags like a castle. It’s an eclectic neighborhood and it’s been home for as long as I can remember.
On the main road, I wait at a red light. The drive from La Costa Avenue towards Pacific Coast Highway is stunning. To the right, there’s a massive lagoon with egrets, herons, marsh, and wetland plants. To the left, there are green mountains. Straight ahead is the Pacific Ocean. I turn left and enter Encinitas. “Baby Blue” by Tigers in the Sky starts to play. Skip. “Ocean Breathes Salty” by Modest Mouse instead. There’s always one of those light up construction signs with the orange lights on the side of the road with a message about being conscientious of bikers. As I drive past at 40 mph, I see part of the message that reads:
SHOW BIKES THAT YOU CARE-O
I reach the red octagon that always makes me stop my car and my mind. If I turn right I’ll be at my childhood best friends house in less than a minute. If I look to the left, I can see my boyfriends house. I drive straight ahead.
A little bit down the road is my favorite café, Lofty Coffee. I go there to do work or catch up with my friends. I usually order an iced black lavender tea. “Dina” by Sports plays followed by “Wes Anderson” by Alex Lahey. It takes me a while to notice I’m singing along.
I pass through downtown Encinitas. I drive past the art gallery I work at. I drive past the bead store and Lotus Café. I pass the Self Realization Fellowship and think back to the time I snuck into the gardens before they had opened. An employee had put in the gate code and something compelled me to follow.
I reach Swami’s beach. “Striking” by Francis and the Lights is halfway through. Skip. “En nuit” by Videoclub. Skip. “So Now What - Flipped” by The Shins. Good. There’s a grassy lawn with a wooden Moai statue where I usually see a group of wandering bohemians participating in a drum circle or slacklining between two thick palm trees. The view from the parking lot is expansive. Looking over the wooden railings I feel like I can see the entire universe. The ocean and the sky merge together like a watercolor painting of the color blue.
By night, I’m back to that red octagon, but I’m headed in the opposite direction. Everything is flipped. My childhood best friends house is to my left, and my boyfriends house is to my right. I drive to the right. “Ivy” by Sales plays softly.
My boyfriend has to be up early for work in the morning at a French Bakery one beach town north. I lay in his bed for a while as he falls asleep. Each inhale is marked by a snore and every exhale is marked by a whistle. These two sounds are linked in some way because as the snores growl louder the whistles whisper more softly. I think to myself, all I want to do is write. His hand rests between my thighs, but my knees can’t get comfortable being stacked one on top of the other. Upon extending my legs, his fingers become displaced like the four last hot dogs without buns. I get back in my denim blue VW Beetle under the moonlight and hit shuffle. I wonder if he realizes he’s a character in my story even now. Maybe he’s too busy drawing to notice I’m doing the same, sketching with words. “Bags” by Clairo plays.
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