The widening gyre

STRANGE NOISE UPDATE: After I posted yesterday, I went outside to have a look around Jackson's window to see if there was any evidence of foul play from the outside of the building. Here is what I found! 1. A slight vertical shadow of dirt or something on the ledge below his window, and a smudge of something above it that could have been created by some sort of impact:

2. And in the bushes across the sidewalk, this:

I don't know exactly what it's composed of, of course, but it wasn't like any other rock on the ground nearby. I took it in to work, just in case anyone knew anything about geology. My boss suggested putting it on the check-out counter with a little sign that said "Do you know what kind of rock this is?" but it got busy and I forgot. A Google image search for meteorites makes me think maybe I'm in the ballpark, but it's still pure speculation. Thank you, everyone, for your interesting explanations for the many things that go bump in the night, I think we all need to catch up on our sleep.

SECOND THING UPDATE: Now that the holidays are over and everyone's life sucks again, hardly anyone asked me "How are you?" at work yesterday, so when it did happen I was able to get closer to what exactly it is that bugs me about it. And then I did it to the guy checking my groceries at Vons! Oh my God, I was all, "HOW ARE YOU?" and he ducked his head and gave me this totally affectless "Fine, thanks" which clarified everything. My new theory is: "How are you?" is a totally bland, rote, inauthentic way of beginning an interaction with someone you don't know, which is fine except that it throws up a barrier to any real further exchange between you. It can actually establish a polite distance between you, as opposed to the possible intimacy of a companionable (or even a purely functional) silence. So if I ask the check-out guy at Vons how he is, I could be doing it because I really don't want to talk to him.

OR I might assume that he has hundreds of meaningless interactions during the day and (a) I think that must suck, or (b) I feel sympathy for my idea of a downtrodden, ignored check-out guy, even if that has nothing to do with who he is and is actually pretty patronizing, to assume he needs me to uplift his probably-fine existence, or (c) I don't want to be another face in the mooing herd of people buying beer all day long, or (d) I don't want to live through another thoughtless interaction with a stranger myself. And all this is going through my head, while the check-out guy at Vons is probably thinking, Organic produce is bullshit, or, I wonder if I'm going to get in trouble for coming back from my break ten minutes late? or This lady in front of me is smokin' hot, I sure do like middle-aged white women with frizzy, graying hair.

LAST THING: It's my birthday today, and if you're feeling at all depressed about slowly becoming old and decrepit, you need to go here. It's a long right-scrolling line of photos of white girls/ladies from the ages of 0 to 100. (The link for white boys/men is here.) If you start at 0 and watch as they all slowly fall apart, it can trigger some feelings of doom, BUT if you start at 100 and scroll left and watch everyone get younger, suddenly 70-year-olds look fucking fantastic. So being on the slippery slope to 50 feels A-OK today, folks.