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  • Anna Schreibert

Ordinary is boredom, unordinary is weird.

I want to believe that I'm an ordinary person, but when I look around, I think it's a very subjective understanding of the ordinary.


Mine ordinarily is the ability to perceive, to find a miracle in the morning sun, squeezing boldly through the unsealed blinds of my bedroom’s windows.

I find ordinariness in my work that absorbs my days as Cookie Monster from Sesame Street swallows cookies. And that's my ordinary.


Children returning from school and suddenly, as if the whole house woke up, the sun breaks through the windows without knocking, the buzz from the street breaks inside. That's my ordinary.


Spring Saturday on an ocean beach overlooking New York City. I need water to live. I don't see anything unusual about it, each of us is made largely of water, so it seems natural to me to need to touch it sometimes. Go big or go home. So, I choose the ocean. That's my ordinary.


I observe the ordinariness of the people around me. the across street neighbor smokes weed on the stairs in the front of the house every time her husband is late, for a few days.

The neighbor next door takes out the cats on a leash when he argues with his wife. The wife buys the next cat.

When I lived in the South, I always suspected that all these perfect moms, faithful wives, had to have a dancing pole installed in the basement. After all, you must have an exit of your emotions. It is impossible to be constantly smiling, ready at any time for short conversations about the weather and all these successful children. I never proved it, but their ordinary life was incomprehensible to me, even extraordinary.

I was from New York, so everything related to me was weird for them: from my appearance or accent to the absurd inability to talk about anything.

From my point of view, my extreme hairstyle was much more boring than their usual collection of 22 pistols, 3 revolvers, 7 shotguns, and several knives, in case the shot didn't kill.


When I look at my black friends, it often surprises me with what is so ordinary for them: the ability to articulate or dance or sing the most secretive and loud emotions. When they're happy, you immediately know it, they dance, they scream louder than I've ever been allowed to, they laugh, they cry, they kiss, they throw each other in each other's arms. The word "euphoria" takes on a deeper dimension when I look at them. The word "jewelry" also kind of shines brighter. They love to shine – a lot and everything at once. That's their ordinary.


I try to understand this ordinary, but I do not understand. I respect, sometimes admire, sometimes it surprises me, but I certainly do not understand it. I love these people, but their ordinary is alien to me.

My ordinary and their ordinality are completely different ordinary.

You cannot compare it, even a few slowly, you can only observe without judging, without finding unnecessary analogies.



I look around and it reaches me that what is my ordinary and my own boredom is probably a complete weirdo for my neighbor. That’s good! At least I have a chance to understand in practice what "tolerance" means.

Because tolerance is nothing more than accepting and respecting someone's ordinary, especially when it's different from mine, and certainly when I don't understand it.

The longer I look at it, the happier I am with the inner feeling that if I have my ordinary, others have too.


So, I smile at the neighbor across the street, sitting on the stairs again. And she smiles back at me. I pet the neighbor's cats and ask what they're called only to hear that they've just grown a family with the next Purring.


Ordinary ordinality can surprise with its weirdness!

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