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Tales of the Times

Tale of the Times – Claire Psarouthakis


An Inverse Relationship Hypothesis of an Intimate World

I submit the hypothesis that as my world shrinks, the intimacy with which I interact with it grows. I’ve never cared so gingerly for a potted plant until I could no longer walk along a garden. Nor understood the preciousness of fresh air, until I was breathing through a mask. With the shrinking of the geographic territory that had previously landscaped my days from roughly 2.5miles to 750sq ft, I have come to appreciate the subtle swaying of the lightrail on my morning commute, and the faces of the regulars on the 8:05am, westbound 7 bus in ways previously heretofore realized. Though somewhat fluent in the language of love, I have added the subtle dialect of a peaceful silence while puzzling or washing dish… after dish… after dish. In these times of chaos, my academic mind seeks to control, observe, and understand the world around me through an ever-changing prism of emotion.

This apartment has been the controlled environment in which I have conducted an observational study on domesticated feline behavior, an ethnography on the comparative coping mechanisms of an introvert and an extrovert within a queer cohabitation setting, and an epistemological pondering on singular grief during a globally shared tragedy. Though a political scientist by trade and training, I find the subject matter in which I could claim any amount of expertise, to be the one whose engagement most pains me in this moment. When in need of rest from this labor, a multivariate case study in zymology and oenology has been of particular academic delight to fill the gap.

I try and come to better comprehension of how my studies are tainted with the bias of my privilege; that truly all academic study comes only after basic survival needs are met. Becoming more intimate in the confines of my home requires a home to be confined to, and the energy for intimacy. The balance of this recognition, while practicing an internal grace to oneself is a level of psychological mastery that I have yet to fully grasp.

I will endeavor to continue to research as the timeline of my studies are elongated, with the goal to conclude something meaningful when my findings are completed. Should all of this prove for naught, may the intimacy of my shrinking world be enough today, and perhaps tomorrow; because I have never cared so gingerly for the world, until I could no longer walk throughout it.

~Claire Psarouthakis

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