The Human Condition: A Short Read on a Long-Ass Subject

A date. A client. Fellow students. Scene partners in improv class. The guy sitting next to me on the bus. A cab driver.

Whenever I meet anyone, I try to remember one not so simple thing: everyone I meet is in the exact same place I am —

Stuck between the person they are and the person they’d like to become.

This morning, I was furiously cleaning my house before having to hop a plane to Denver (and all in the name of not having my pet sitter think I’m a complete slob). One of my scarves was on my dining room table. I grabbed it without a thought and walked it over to my snazzy new wall-mounted coat rack. As I lifted it to hang it up, I caught a scent. I lowered the scarf to my nose. Inhaled.

It smelled like him.

I stood there for a a few more moments than likely appropriate, just rolling around memories of the fun that had imprinted such a scent on my scarf. I smiled.

Today, as you go about doing whatever it is that needs doing, I hope you’ll catch a whiff. Steal a glance. Open a box that hasn’t been opened in quite some time. Maybe you’ll skip Buzzfeed and HuffPost and instead, dial the phone or write a note (complete with address and an actual motherfucking STAMP because there’s nothing old school about a sweet ass letter).

Maybe you’ll have a happy collision with the conflict of your Now and your Next. Each day, we’re surrounded by humans, each facing the same journey — all in the same condition. It’s lovely when someone’s path leaves an imprint on ours, as for a moment this morning I felt better for it. I didn’t find myself sad that a recent thing I thought was going so well imploded (Mac users can imagine the definitive POOF that happens when you drag an icon from your toolbar into the ether — you can imagine my heart being dragged with a similar goal of disposal). I just reminded myself that I met that man stuck smack dab between his Now and his Next.

And between you and me (and the internets, I guess), the scent that made me smile this morning wasn’t his, the dragger of heart icons into the ether. But sending him along his path towards his Next allowed me to collide with someone who has no idea he made my 6:45AM kind of Now a little sweeter.

The human condition — stuck between our Nows and our Will Bes. It’s funny what can come of an OCD-induced early morning cleaning fest and an unnatural kind of love for a wall-mounted coat rack.

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments
RoyRGomez
RoyRGomez

Very cool. Poetic even. This is my first time reading you, and I must say I like your style. 

KimReynolds
KimReynolds

Well said my dear...you have a way with words and a way with life that I admire. We miss you here in Chick-land...forever yours!

KimReynolds
KimReynolds

Well said my dear...you have a way with words and a way with life that I admire. We miss you here in Chick-land...forever yours!

CarolynHerfurth
CarolynHerfurth

Beautifully said, Erika. Keeping this in mind sure helps us go easier on ourselves AND others. 


And damn it, dating in NYC requires you to learn that lesson FAST! (Unless you're wiling to be miserable.)

cabocalla
cabocalla

With words like this, my stupid crush on you continues... I’m glad you are uniquely you, but it kinda sucks because I can’t ride bikes with you. I declare the Internets the best and worst thing ever invented.


xo

Ro Breehl
Ro Breehl

I've got to say ... I look forward to these!  Always insightful, always funny, always irreverent!  So ... Perfect!  Thanks, Erika


BTW, I just watch your TED Talk and I'd like to say that I am proud to be unpopular!  So, thanks  again.

xo

Erika Napoletano
Erika Napoletano moderator

@KimReynolds  Miss my Chicks, too, Kim! While Chicago's keeping me on ice this winter, there's still nothing quite like staring up at frozen, climbable beauty :) Love from the Midwest!