Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

One thing I like to do is set my iPod to ‘receive’, set the radius to ten meters, and just take a long walk.

Everyone on the street has their buds in. I walk through a group of teens. Track five from Linkin Park’s post-crash album ravages my headphones followed by the final strains of Cancer Seed’s classic debut, overlapping with Speed Coma’s new track Anthem.

Ever since New Year’s Eve of 2012 and Jenny’s famous walkout, I’ve been wallowing in self pity. I can’t shake it off. I’ve been trying but it’s her face that haunts my mind, the imagery of her laughing or specific moments of affection. That’s how I know that I’ve got it bad.

It’s raining out, a fine mist. There is footage up on the main square’s giant screens of the final troops coming home from Iraq. It’s been looping for days. There is a world-wide sigh of relief but a quiet unease for the future of energy. How Do We Keep the Lights On has become the new catchphrase for Obama’s second term. He’s up there on the screens, too, waving from his wheelchair, survivor of two attempted assassinations. Wu Tang 2.0 has dubbed him Teflon Black.

A gaggle of shoppers pass me with their buds gleaming white. Long, lithe women with that European air of lazy majesty. Flight attendants here on a layover, I guess. In my head, their Europop trickles in, all minimalist synth and languages I don’t recognize, layered as they pass around me. I hear what I guess is Scandinavian hip-hop fading into a German ballad as the last woman passes. She glances at me as I nod my head to her music and she grins.

It’s been raining for a year here. A new record every day. We’re at a higher elevation but the coastal cities have been in a state of emergency for months. Necessity is the mother of invention, though, and now that rich people’s estates are being threatened on both coasts, forward motion on Atmosphere Healing bills are being passed through the governmental law-making bodies at a regular pace. We are an entire planet of people that hope it’s not too late.

I’m walking past the art gallery now, past the drug dealers and the old people playing chess for money. Their headphones are big and waterproof, making the people look like ancient DJs or bugs. Strings of Mozart and Wagner trill through my headphones as I pass the chess tables, along with the slow reggae of Marley and the dubstep of RE-Shine from the dealers relaxing on the steps like the rain is sunshine.

It’s like spinning the dial on a radio tuner and every station has something different going on. I’m thinking of Jenny again but these walks always calm me down. I feel a kinship with the world, like we’ve both been hurt, like we’re both crying, but we’re getting better.


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