Welcome to Moments of Pause aka MOPs, a monthly catalogue of whatever’s been needling you: a list of all the things so odd/pertinent/funny/serious/catchy/confusing that you just had to snatch an Eggo and eat it frozen cold! Food for thought… For our 1st edition of the year, here is a collage of the very important things that stuck in our illustrious contributors’ brains this past week, those shiver-inducing gag-reflexive oh-so-edifying moments of pause that define life (OR IS IT) in the 21st Century.
1. You vs. The Mop She Told You Not to Worry About – Janna Huang
2. Edgy – Emily Zhang
Last week I realized I didn’t have a hairbrush. I forgot to bring one in my suitcase. I forgot people used hairbrushes. I haven’t brushed my hair since the start of school.
I was just so surprised that I completely forgot about something so constant. I guess I never really needed a hairbrush. My hair is shortish like Lord Farquaad’s. How do you know when you need a hairbrush.
Last night I went to Kanye’s concert and then I dropped a pie on the side of the road. Then I ate it like a small furtive rat and realized I don’t really care!! Nothing is holy! I haven’t brushed my hair in two fucking months! Kanye sang Ultralight Beam and disappeared afterwards in a bunch of fog! The road was cold but content! I am content!!
3. La Vie En Rose – Ena Alvarado
Some days, I imagine everything green turned into pink. Avocados, tennis balls, grasshoppers, jealousy, and my sister’s best friend’s little cousin’s eyes generally benefit from the switch. Through my sister, I recently discovered Irish photographer Richard Mosse shares some of my brain’s loose screws, seeing as he projected this useless mental exercise onto reality a few years ago. In 2013, The Enclave ([en·clave]: n. “an area with people who are different in some way from the people in the areas around it”) premiered at the 55th Venice Biennale. The video installation documents humanitarian crises (still) taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mai-Mai militia gets ready for battle, and hapless civilians flee their hometowns. Meanwhile, trees look a hot pink.
Shot with a special camera developed by the U.S. military for World War II, the film allows for otherwise invisible-to-the-human-eye infrared light to pierce through. The resulting hues of light crimson and dark fuchsia are spectacularly haunting. An invisible conflict rendered in imperceptible colors.
4. Amends – Annabel Ostrow
This long form piece in The Washington Post made me spend my week thinking about the power of education and patience coupled with the terrifying political reality of our times. It’s simultaneously depressing, uplifting, and well worth a read.
5. 9 to 5 – Tess Michaelson
I’ve been wondering where progress comes from. If the world is changing, and moving forward, and all of this so-called history is taking place, where do these changes actually originate? Where does real work happen? I don’t think it happens during the day, I don’t think it happens in meetings, I don’t know if happens around white boards, or in blue books, around water coolers and under fluorescent lighting. If something is changing, where is it coming from, the honest work, the real ideas? So much of the time we are working around the edges of our work, too tired or lazy or uninspired to get inside. And it’s the same thing with words, so much of the time we are talking around what we actually mean, waiting for the dim hours of the day to open the doors to our own minds, dreaming of the words we might write.
I was amazed when I realized a couple of years ago that all the buildings in all of the cities are filled with people supposedly working – stories and stories of swivel chairs and office gossip and Rachel who is mad at Mike for not cc’ing her on the email. And I don’t know if it is work because it looks more like entering data, emailing your boyfriend, and reading your aunt’s racist Facebook statuses. Thinking, do mailmen deliver their own mail? Why are all of my coworkers dressed in the same “contemporary woman” garb? She seems sad today.
And I think, all these buildings and all these cities for the idea of work, not work itself.
Real work is rare, a few minutes out of an hour if you’re lucky, when an idea starts to speak more loudly than your own voice, when it consumes you. Mine is the kind that lays you out on the kitchen floor, that wakes you up in the middle of the night to write a few notes on your phone, the one that strikes you all of a sudden when you see an old couple talking quietly in the sun, or that slowly unveils itself from its den and you realize what it is that you’ve been trying to say. Ideas like animals that are wily and helpless and hungry. To be held captive by one, to work is a private affair, an affair that has nothing to do with you, or if the kitchen floor is dirty, or who think you are becoming by getting it done. It is ego-less, and solitary and made in the dark.
6. Dig In – Julia Espero, Multimedia Editor
I learned the other day that today’s youth take pleasure in watching videos of other people playing with toys on YouTube. At first I felt unsettled; and then I understood — sometimes I watch tiny food videos to relax. There is nothing more meditative than watching large hands make tiny fried chicken or flip a tiny pancake made just for the sake of making it.
7. Daily Mantras – Sophia Laurenzi, Performance Editor
It’s just till June.
This is a line from the play and movie Doubt, which has a very specific and serious meaning in that context. But since reading the play last week, that line has been stuck in my head. As graduation and “real life” approaches, everything going on right now, good, bad, and great, falls under that umbrella–it’s just till June.
8. The Useless Days Will Add Up to Something – Nikki Tran, Culture and Commentary Editor, advice column addict
I was inhaling my daily cup of coffee when I overheard a conversation I’m sure most are familiar with: a talk over summer internships, even though winter has not yet arrived, at those glossy places mentioned in Business Insider articles about our school–Facebook, Google, Twitter. I admire the two’s diligence, their determination, their devotion to productivity.
But I also like to think there’s something generative in doing nothing, value in unstructured, unplanned time: the morning minutes idled in bed, the time lost to the pedestrian detours we have to take. Case and point: Who would have thought that spending an absurd amount of hours, which turned into days, trying to track down a pair of block heeled sandals would have been the best prep camp for my current job? No, I didn’t get the shoes, but, yes, I will hold! Twenty minutes of Clair de Lune on repeat will not faze me! I will eventually speak to a human representative, mark my words!
You can’t put it anywhere on a resume, but give yourself a break some time. Put down the caffeine. What happens might just surprise you.
9. Haunted – Katie Nesser, Editor-in-Chief
Can I go as my 13 year-old self for Halloween?