The Chat Box Will See You Now

What’s so funny? Why are you laughing?


Why are you laughing?


I was still asleep. Russ leaned over, kissing me goodbye. He found me chuckling under the covers.

What’s so funny?

I…I…I don’t know…

Were you laughing at your own joke in your sleep?

Earlier that day I informed my boss we had basketball tickets in the corporate suite. Life is reopening its doors. He furrowed his brows and thought about it for minute. 

Hmm, that’s the Golden State Warriors. Do you know who they are, Jenn?

We’re talking basketball, right?

He smiled and sighed. He’s a total sports guy. My ineptitude still surprises him four years later.


Las Vegas?

He leaned in with the same smile on his face.

Jenn. Golden? State? Like the Golden Gate bridge?

Ok, yeah, yeah, California.

There ya go!

In my defense, Las Vegas’ hockey team is the Golden Knights. I wasn’t totally out in left field. Anyway, it seems this conversation was just as funny the second time around. 

Last night I started my second writing class. It’s called “Crafting Fantastic and Imaginative Worlds.” I don’t remember signing up for a course with that name. I wonder if I clicked the wrong box checking out. It’s about writing speculative fiction. Whaaat? It becomes clear I don’t know what that is and the other students do. It’s like walking into the high school Chess Club when you thought you joined the Poker team at the local bar. They speak a language I do not understand, like Sheldon Cooper speaking Klingon with his physicist friends. They are the Star Trek fans of Fantasy writing. I cringe every time I hear the phrase “speculative fiction.” The first word elicits images of a cold metal depressor, not unlike what horse dentists use to keep the long, flat pickets of teeth from clamping down on their arms. It’s a necessary instrument, but barbaric in appearance. The horses are bewildered by their inability to shut their mouths. Chomping at the metal device, their eyes roll back in their heads while their tongues flail about, pink lizards tethered by their tails. Instinctively, I cross my legs and squeeze them together. 

Hearing the word “speculative,” I can’t help but picture a bespectacled man looking speculatively at the speculum found held in his hand. Of course it’s a man because that completes the “ick” factor.  I never understood why a man would choose to stare at the birthing orifice of a woman day in and day out. There are so many other body parts to earn a speciality degree in, but yet, they choose that? Is it is the possibility of what might come out of the female cavern (a baby, for all you dirty birds!) that entices interest from both genders?

So it seems I signed up for a class I hadn’t intended to sign up for, but I thought to myself last night, “This is going to be so good for you!” Naturally creative I am not. I’m more of a “super perplexed observer of the world” than any kind of artistic, imaginative writer. But I know from riding and from yoga, doing what’s easy or what you love doing the most, will not improve your skills whatsoever. Growth comes from practicing what is hard to do. For my riding, this meant practicing dressage, and in yoga this meant practicing backbends, such as Camel and Wheel. When one repeats what isn’t natural to them over and over, the difficulty starts to fade, and instead, one begins to look forward to the challenge. With enough sweat, weaknesses can evolve into strengths. This class will challenge every fiber in my writing frock. I’m a fish who has found herself beached on the surrounding shore. This class will require growing some legs and developing lungs.

In addition, class is led via chat-box. You heard that right. It’s like a giant text thread with eleven people in it. The chat box will see you now. Someone asked if class would ever be held on Zoom, and the instructor messaged that many people preferred the chat-box to “Zoom fatigue,” but I can attest I’d rather look at a variety of interesting mugs on a screen than a steady stream of black words like worker ants marching across the blank screen. I fear chat-box fatigue already. The chosen platform for delivery compounds the challenge I am already facing.  I am, unfortunately, well adept at surfing two or three screens simultaneously, thereby lacking any real attention to a single one. Multi-tasking is made exponentially worse when it comes to technology. I’ve used so many new ones this past year. “Crafting Fantastic and Imaginative Worlds” is held on Campfire. My previous writing class was held on Canvas. I’ve also worked on Slack, Basecamp, Notion, Calendly, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, just to name a few.

They. Just. Keep. Showing. Up. 

That’s all there is today for Cracker. My first assignment is due in three days and I don’t think procrastination will do anything in my struggle to concoct a supernatural, futuristic writing piece. 

Shit. Is. About. To. Get. Unreal. 

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