Let’s say you need to put in a new light bulb in your apartment. Don’t worry, this is not going to be a joke.
Let’s say you need to put in a new light bulb in your apartment. Don’t worry, this is not going to be a joke. You drag a ladder out and even though it’s a very ordinary and not particularly attractive ladder, its presence makes everything look so new and different. There’s an immediate release of tension in your neck and shoulders that comes with such a tangible example of change. So you leave the ladder out, right in the middle of your kitchen, bumping into it a lot at first until your body starts automatically arcing around it. On the first day, you throw the tube of toothpaste you’ve been milking for all it’s worth into the trash. You write your name in gold ink on the slip under your buzzer. On the second, you send a cautiously sentimental note to someone you wronged. On the third, you get a dog. You switch careers. You are able to believe what your friends said about your last break-up not being your fault. Just keep cramming those changes in until the power wears off. When you start placing cans of food or stacks of freshly washed towels on the ladder, using it as a shelving system, that’s when you fold it back up and hide it from sight. And then wait for the next opportunity. It could come in any form, like taking off your sweater and tying it around your waist instead of tossing it in your bag. Suddenly you are the person who pulls that look off..
Starlee Kine is a contributor to the public radio program This American Life. She does stories about the world's slowest car chase, misunderstood ghosts and presidential library reenactments. She also wrote a torch song with the help of Phil Collins and designed a heartbreak cutting board designed specifally to cut tear-inducing onions on for THE THING Quarterly, to which she is a contributor at large.