Routine is the quickest and most efficient way to death. Whenever things become so familiar that they can have their corners cut, when the intentions of long dialogues can be perceived well before their end. Worst of all, when someone’s actions and behaviors become predictable. Because that’s when you can start doing auto-skip in your mind. No one can be read like a book, but certain feelings and conflicts become so typical that people will start seeing you differently when you can short-circuit the whole conversation to its resolutions. If a conversation is a fist fight, then punching someone straight into a knockout leaves them only feeling angry and full of resentment as if they’re the only one who has learned anything through the entire exchange, and it forces them to accept defeat entirely on their own–to believe that they were wrong for even trying–rather than as a consequence of fighting for what they believed in. If you cannot find this realization, then you are just a tinkerer, a circuit bender who does not consider the weight of the details but their utilitarian implications and value as functions or tools in a means of achieving a desired end. Mastery of these circumstances, then, is to dwell in complacency. It is nothing more than a sign to get out and move onto something incomprehensible or unpredictable, lest you dismantle the heart and soul of everything in your path that was never meant to be dismantled after it came out of the factory. Do not take pride in being so efficient that you can forego all emotional barriers, because it’s never about the destination, as we all know, but about the time it took to get there. And no one is asking you to to pull punches or to stop seeing the patterns where you have been so gifted as to see them. But it is why you must leave this place and pit yourself against impossibly difficult circumstances. To be talented and complacent is to ensure that you discourage the essential growth of everything you come across. Before I knew this, I ran so quickly into the cave that I had never stuck around to even notice the solid black backdrop, punctuated by greenish-grey twinkles like stuck pixels, and the terrestrial scenery before the cave which seemed to take on properties entirely foreign to my own world but, relative to this planet, entirely logical, and I was determined to master this foreign logic. Hours and hours were spent mastering every corner and passage of the cave while we hurdled through 357 miles of space, and when it became too dark to see, I looked up to find we had entered an impenetrable wall of fog between us and the campsite, and it stayed indefinitely amidst the air of forgotten conversations. The campsite in the morning looked different than at night. Features seen at day vs night will reorient internal positioning systems. Landmarks unseen in the darkness become central reference point and perspectives are flipped instantaneously. Asphalt path in the daytime, leading to a muddy shore with Pokeballs bobbing in the water bringing no luck. “Canoodling” out to the center of the lake, parking at the shore of a small land mass. A black, scaly tail tucks under a rock with cinematic timing. At a high-up and slanted place, my line caught a trout on accident. Photograph of me on the fridge with the trout, with green hooded sweatshirt, rumpled jeans, brown boots. My dad hadn’t caught a fish himself in years, I think. Can we eat it? Yeah but you have to gut him and prepare him. Some nearby campers gladly took him instead and on the way home I delved back into the depths of the cave.