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box dwelling

“Box shopping?” she queried the little fat man.

“Indeed,” he replied. “One size fits most,” he went on.

The fat little man was the proprietor of the only box shop in America. A cousin of that notoriously lanky and clean-cut Sam. In fact, the fat little man used his cousin extensively for advertising. “In a box!” He would hand write on the front of those iconic pointy posters. It was a sleazy marketing scheme, but the proprietor certainly had no qualms with being sleazy.

His shop was littered with boxes, some of them hardly extracted from their packaging. The boxes came in a standardized shape that vaguely resembled a coffin, but sported myriad accessories and customizations. Some were gold and silver plated, others had diamond-studded seams, sun roofs were optional, and the color was completely customizable. Many people opted to have their names engraved on the inside, apparently fearful that they may forget themselves once inside. Special requests were permissible, even encouraged…. anything to get you into a box.

Box shopping, you see, had become a kind of adolescent right-of-passage. You’d go alone, but when you left, you were part of a worldwide community of box-dwellers. It was an important time for all young people. A potentially life-long commitment to a certain way of life. It was expected, most often desired, and generally acknowledged as something to be content with.

Now, amidst all this discussion of form, I’d not like you to believe, even for an instant, that the boxes merely served as some consumerist fad. Quite the opposite, in fact, these boxes were timeless classics, remnants of antiquity. History stood as some makeshift testament to the fact that it was wise to dwell within a box.

Besides, the boxes always had real functions… important functions. They were basically required for networking, coming standard with the necessary fibers that comprised the world’s networks. the boxes were also required for high-rise apartments and skyscraper offices. Indeed, many were required… the ones at top needed something to rest upon.

Boxes always offered potential; the possibility to take advantage of reorganizations and move up in the world. They were the building blocks for society’s most admired landscapes. You needed one before you could even consider taking part.

So, it was mildly startling to the fat little conformity-peddler when the young lady asked about box shopping. She was supposed to know all about it at her age.

“Well, now, tell me what you’re looking for in a box,” he squealed.

“One with infinite volume, limitless area, and invisible walls,” the girl said as she stared into space.

“I’ve got a spacious enclosure right here, it sports an all-glass construction with four slide-out sections and all the latest technology,” he said as he pointed to the shimmering box. “It’s probably as close as your going to get to you dream-box,” the man said rather sternly.

“Unless, of course, I just leave,” the girl quickly replied.

“Take a look at this government brochure, or this corporate statement,” the man yelled, “only a fool would deny the benefits of a box!”

It was then that the little lady walked right out on the chubby fellow.

The next youngster eagerly walked right on in. Box sales were steady. The advertising and brochures remained the same. There is no doubt that the shareholders, the box endorsers, and the fat little man went on with their routines… albeit with one fewer box beneath each of their own.

And the girl? Well, it’s always harder to know exactly what becomes of those that choose to live outside of a box.

[audio:http://www.andrewdanderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/boxed.mp3|titles=boxed]

walking away

As I peer into your eyes
Full of dismal, dark, suprise

I wonder what road you’ve walked
To what odd men you’ve surely talked

I contemplate just how you came to be
A person so much worse than me

Set in stone by some chance combination?
Determined by adolescent recreation?

Whom to blame for what you are?
By what fate you’ve come so far?

To cross my path and make me see
Just how miserable a life can be

I stare into your abyss of a soul
Grab my walking stick and off I go

Each step widens the gap between
What I can see and what I have seen

Some place down the road I may recall
You weren’t really so bad after all

Déjà vu…

Well, now, where to start? Last time I wrote I was in the midst of mountains and forests in beautiful Northern Idaho. The weather was blissful, the scenery was soothing, my uncle was tolerable… I almost felt like I was having a good enough time to justify the ~2k mile trip out there.

Two weeks of the good life passed and my other uncle called. Two days later my two uncles and I were in Chicago. Me, back in Chicago. I haven’t been gone long enough to feel nostalgic about my return… or to mentally prepare myself for another bout with the nearly-intolerable weather here.

There’s really no telling how long I’ll stick around the midwest, but I’ll try to keep updating. At least mobile internet works well here.