In My Ohio

On Big Words in Small Rooms

Darren C. Demaree
This is as small as a room can get.

My voice is confined to digital characters bent to wave through the electricity of whatever device you are currently latched on to, and once they work their way through from my mind to my fingertips and past several edits, there is nothing I can do to wiggle them for you any more so than I am now.

They will remain motionless, hoping for a handshake from your eyes, and the odds are that your eyes will be moving too fast to register any real or sincere connection with these words. You’re busy. You’re going to be busy all day. You will walk in and out of buildings and rooms. You will pass thousands of people in your car. You will move quickly into your house, and if you have any neighbors they will be moving just as quickly to get into their house. When you finally slow down enough to matter to yourself, almost nothing else will be able to approach your bubble. Even your dreams will hesitate to rattle you enough to be memorable.

What all of this accomplishes is beyond me at some points, but even when I am doing something as simple and lovely as putting my children to bed, I feel rushed to feel righteous and alone once again.

You want small things that make you happy. You want to experience that happiness in a way that offers no actual weight. That makes sense to me, but it makes sense to me from a place where happiness looks awfully sad.

Please know that when you hear your name you are hearing the name of an actual person, not just the character of yourself that you’ve been forced to play. Know that the person in front of you exists in the same sprint, and maybe just maybe they are sprinting because you’ve never given them a reason to slow down. Hell, you don’t want to slow down either. Why not?

It’s just you and me here, and these words are 1/10000 the size of your actual body. They’re not threatening, but what if they were? What if out of the fifty hours a week I am writing that I have chosen this moment to hit the only exposed nerve you have available? What if I didn’t hit? What if I held for you?

Any conversation where two people are listening to each other is an intimate act. We don’t listen to each other that much, because to actually do that is to sacrifice the time and concentration we don’t feel like giving up. It’s ours and you can’t have it.

I’m going to assume in the victory of all victories that you are listening to me right now. Whatever shape or font displayed before you appears to be steady and believable. This is as small as a room can get and if only for this moment I hope you are in an unmovable place. You can resume your scurrying wants and protective desires in a moment, I promise, but before you do, please know that it doesn’t matter to me that there is a screen between us. I want you to know that if you can’t find something meaningful to say to one person a day then you are missing everything. I don’t want you to miss anything, but I’ll be damned if you miss everything.

Make it simple again if you must, but it will be much easier to keep it complicated and find time to make a stand each day. Make your car the room and call someone to say thank you for something they did years ago. Make your office the room, and propose that your company be bold and honest and innovative and above all a place for positive efforts to take place. Make your home the room where being alone is something that happens only by happy coincidence.

It really doesn’t matter who you are and what you do, because if you can’t make a small room you are a part of something big enough to feel like freedom, then your path will end with the distinct pressures of loss and anxiety closing in around you.

So, walk into your next room with some sincerity and some gravitas. If we find ourselves in the same room, making an effort on the same day, something fantastic will be born before we move on to other things.