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Date: January 14th, 2020.

Time of Writing: 7:06 PM, but it took me a while, so it went up closer to 8:30 PM.

Weather: A pleasantly numbing cold.

Mood: Adventurous.

Day Overview: I woke up incredibly early today, woken up by my mother asking to borrow my train pass because she lost hers. I looked at the clock on my phone and saw that it was seven o'clock in the morning. This terrified me, as the reality that I hadn't gotten nearly enough sleep started to set in. I hadn't stayed up late last night on purpose. In fact, I spent a good hour and a half from around one in the morning until I eventually fell asleep at three thirty with my eyes shut and my mind paid towards relaxing my body and emptying my brain of thoughts. The problem with emptying one's mind, I have found, is that when it is empty of thoughts, compulsions set in, involuntary twitches and spasms that snap the meditator out of their relaxation state. I had essentially a back and forth with my body. My face fell asleep, but my legs would not stop twitching. This persisted until I caved and decided to stretch my legs by going to the bathroom - it took only half an hour to get to sleep after that.

Part of the reason that I was so terrified of my lack of sleep was because the day's activities were entirely composed of social interaction, one that I had entirely invited onto myself and was responsible for, and was even excited about, greatly, but feared that I would ruin on account of being not at all mentally awake enough for it. I was scheduled to meet with my friend Josee, from middle school. She transferred to the same school as me in eighth grade, and we became fast but unlikely friends after sitting together in Science class. She moved back to Florida afterwards, but we made it a point to hang out whenever she was back in town. Now, she's moved back up here for the long term, as she plans to go to school locally to get a mortician's certificate. We met downtown after I had to buy a ticket because the transit attendant was out of them and also on her break (which she decided to take inside the information booth, for some reason), and we settled on getting lunch at a local burger place that I absolutely spent too much at. We talked and caught up and thought about what we wanted to do for the day. I worried that given my lack of a train pass, our options would be sorely limited, but Josee brought it up that her car was parked in the garage at the station by my house, which opened up many possibilities. Additionally, she did not need to pick up her younger brother from school, since he stayed home sick, and her mother didn't need the car because she stayed home to watch him, so we could do with it as we pleased. Excited by this freedom (that I do not myself have, since I cannot drive) we took the train back to Alewife, found Josee's car, and got inside.

We still did not know where to go. Despite our newfound transport, we still had to go and find something to do, and I was sorely low on cash. Josee, having come only recently from Florida, was not used to the seasonal cold of the region, so I initially believed my usual fallback of let's go for a walk and just talk about stuff to be somewhat off the table. Going for a drive and just talking about stuff, now that was a possibility, but I hadn't seen Josee drive yet so having a strict destination sounded better to me. I thought of places I wanted to go, but hadn't been able to due to either time constraints or not being in the right mood or with the right people. Eventually, I settled on a destination that, in truth, had been haunting me for a long, long time. Something that had piqued my curiosity a while ago, but had also lingered in the background of several nightmares. We got on the highway and set out for the abandoned hospital where my ex-girlfriend spray painted my phone number.

A classic prank, really. Call (number) for a good time or whatever. On its own, without the context of the rest of the relationship, it would have been a pretty good burn. Unfortunately, it did not live in isolation. I dealt with the sporadic confused always male phone calls for a few months before I finally got the nerve to ask someone to cover it up or erase it in some way. We pulled up to the building, a mere fifty feet from a dog park and a couple hundred feet from a gated community of condominiums, and got out of the car. The entire exterior was covered in graffiti, as well as signs warning against trespassing and cautioning against asbestos in the walls. The building used to be a halfway house, a place for the mentally ill, before being overtaken by nature however many years ago. Josee thought the building was incredibly cool, but I was more hesitant about seriously investigating. Dogs barked and brayed in the distance, setting me on edge. We were in full view of the apartments, worsening things all that much more. I found a hole leading inside, and Josee wanted me to go in and look for where my number was, but I just couldn't do it. Not in broad daylight. After about twenty minutes we got back in the car and set off for a different destination. In my search for abandoned buildings in the area, I found a more distant abandoned hospital complex that looked more open air and easier to explore, if we could get in. We started the drive there - a much longer drive, as it was in a much less densely populated area of the state.

It was at this point that I had the realization that my number was not spray-painted in an abandoned hospital, but in an abandoned school. I didn't mention it, though. Even believing I was in proximity to the scrawling set my anxiety aflame - I wanted to put as much distance between myself and the memory, and the answer to that was in finding my own abandoned place. I've professed to be a hobbyist urban explorer for a while, but admittedly that was closer to posturing than anything, a lack of elaboration on a short burst of activity followed by a long silence. This was my chance to pick that back up and start anew, and to make good memories at the same time. We drove the long way to the abandoned facility, and as I looked at Google maps I was somewhat shocked to note that, at least to my notice, the abandoned building was on the edge of a place designated as a medical campus. It read like it was currently in use; the last thing I wanted was to accidentally intrude on a real hospital. We were already there by this point, though, the initial place it told us to stop being already full of cars. It looked like a construction site under survey or an area planned for development but only for a long time in the future. It was only as we pulled away that I saw something shocking; the point on Google maps designated one building as the site of the abandoned hospital, but in truth the entire campus had been abandoned! We found a secondary area to park in, looking for signs warning against trespassing and finding none. The car wound up parked next to an abandoned building, bricked off and boarded up like the many others nearby. It had a number on the front, as well as a sign saying not to enter inside. But there was no warning against trespassing. A woman walking her dog passed; Josee and I joked about dog park planners liking abandoned hospitals for some reason.

It was only after we walked around the grounds for some time and saw other dog walkers did we notice that the abandoned hospital was the dog park. Instead of being demolished, the space had been boarded up and left mostly as is, opened to the public. There were haikus written on several of the buildings, scattered around, as well as a series of other poems affixed to the side of a building in the center of the campus. As we walked around, greeting dog walkers and their dogs as we went, we kept track of all the haiku we found - I remarked on a resemblance to the old Slender Man game, which freaked Josee out. They had hung wreaths for the holidays on a church looking building with a clock tower and decorated a tree with ornaments as well. The ground had not been repaved and the buildings had not been repaired or repainted, so in many ways it was like stepping into the past. The purpose of each building was obscured by the boards and bricks overlayed on top of it, so I used other details, such as the general shape and the presence or absence of accessibility ramps. We spent about an hour just walking around and taking pictures of the buildings, and it was a lot of fun. Especially given that the space had a sort of communal vibe. It felt like the alleyway in my hometown that's been designated as a space for graffiti, everyone engaging in an act that is technically illegal but wholly accepted and practiced within a designated space. Except way cooler, because exploring is fun. We started to leave once it got dark, and that essentially wrapped up our day together.

On My Mind: I'm too tired to think. Tired in a good way, but all I want to do right now is to sit back and let someone else do the thinking. The democratic debate is on in less than an hour and I want to abandon my usual ritual of watching it without commentary to take in the material without bias and just let someone talk over it for me. The ritual is bullshit anyway. The way that the debate is prepared, set up, and packaged is inherently biased and there's nothing I can do about it anyway. I'm not at the stage where my mind can be changed on who to potentially support anymore, I've already locked in with a candidate, I just want to watch it for the owns, really. I'll save the Josee anecdote I have for when it becomes more relevant beyond here's another thing I did with my friend that I just spent several paragraphs talking about.


Produced: A good deal of posts of varying quality. Getting back into the swing of productivity, but I have to work on a second profile soon given the advancement of timetables I had entirely forgotten about. A writer's work is never done! Especially because they usually bring it on themselves!

Other Thoughts: Thank you for continuing to read the blog! I have a surprise planned for later in the week: it's something close to the top of my to-do list for this website. Stay tuned!