List of reasons not to complain

Inspired by Franny Choi’s “Selected Silences” 

The man sitting next to you on the train to Chicago has his laptop open. There’s a notification on his desktop that reads Are you into butt stuff? I’ve got something for you… check it out. 

Standing on a tight wire in a circus school doesn’t make your feet hurt nearly as much as you thought it would, and you were able to balance for roughly 2.5 seconds without someone holding your hand. 

For Halloween, he dressed up as a beer can. It was either this, or a breathalyzer. He laughed when you told him you would have preferred the breathalyzer. 

You watched a tarot card reading from afar and had a minute of clarity, though the girl participating didn’t seem to like her results.

Bourbon tastes better from a wine glass and he didn’t mind your lipstick stains.

The tight wire was only 3ft. from the ground.

When the breathalyzer showed up to the bar and paraded around the “blow tube” placed precisely near his crotch, you got to explain what phallocentric meant. 

There were cigarettes available, but you didn’t smoke any. Instead, you blew hot air between two fingers like you were holding a cigarette in a very “French” way and laughed a lot. 

You didn’t want anyone holding your hand on the tight wire, but you didn’t mind it in the back of the cab.

The train home is only 4 hours and there’s WIFI. 

You didn’t flinch when he slurred the word “convenient” at your expense. 

When choosing between a breathalyzer and a beer, you’d pick the beer despite the way it makes your already liquored-breath fog cab windows.

You didn’t mind that he tasted like Marlboro Reds.

The air mattress was more comfortable than it looked.

He meant it as a compliment.

Tayler Karinen lives in Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a MA in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her fiction has previously appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, The Roadrunner Review, Milk Candy Review, The Harpoon Review, and Cease, Cows. One day, she hopes to pursue a MFA, publish a collection of flash, and make her cats proud.

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