Until Further Notice: Non-Negotiable Instructions

Wake up when you have to.

Take as much air you need.

Examine trivial details, the bubbled foam on a just-used but not-yet-rinsed toothbrush.

Eat what you eat too often.

Swallow.

Have or dwell on the possibility of sex.

Envy things but realize it is not the things you desire so much as the comfort of envy itself, the notion that you might one day have more.

Consider not death but certain dead people.

Forget nonevents before they happen.

See that building you’ve been seeing every day, every day.

Periodically touch your genitals as if to assure yourself they have not grossly mutated since last you touched them.

Use words with two meanings.

Overhear conversations without intending to, then listen.

Inwardly criticize your own small talk.

Picture strangers naked or acknowledge their invented bodies, ferrying consciousness to and fro.

Make decisions that require no action.

Tolerate what is both intolerable and not changing anytime soon.

Pass through moods that are undoubtedly influenced by weather yet seem, on the contrary, to orchestrate it.

Doubt your memories.

Feel money folded in hand, coin edges geared on fingertips.

Cultivate and maintain a spectrum of habits, most harmless or idle.

Mistake loved ones.

Sometimes know that you are thirsty or have to pee and fail to do anything about it right away.

Sabotage your designs.

Suspect that even as you endure it, a person in the distant future is trying to conceive of life in this era—and failing.

Lack answers to anticipated questions.

Notice how animals cut through space, the upcurve made by a flock of birds.

Imagine what it’s like in countries you’ll never visit.

Perceive time, rather clumsily, as order, change, and infinite horizon.

Don’t always adjust.

Sleep when you can.



Previously:

Eleven Impossibilities

A Few Environments

24 Varieties of Silence

Miles Klee is the author of Ivyland. Photo by David Goehring.