Confetti.

Late in the day on Wednesday, a loud pop distracted me from the job application I was trudging through. Sam and I were both in the living room squeezing the last moments of productivity from our respective days. Sam’s version of productivity involves numbers, schedules, research, and calls. My version of productivity involves writing, rewriting, procrastisnacking (a term I made up for when you choose to make elaborate snacks instead of doing a simple task), and staving off existential crises fueled by a crushing sense of failure.

At the window, I peeked out over the intersection in front of our house. It’s a popular spot for drug deals, loud u-turns, half-empty takeout containers, and loose dogs squatting in parking strips. But this time, there was none of that, instead I saw brightly colored, seemingly weightless strips of evenly cut paper spiraling through the air; Confetti. The evening winds caused the confetti to curlicue across the pavement. It looked like a piñata had been blown up.

I gasped with delight, so unaccustomed to seeing whimsy at the intersection. My gasp was immediately followed by a frown. It’s still trash, I thought, vivid, uniform, fanciful trash. I knew it was bound to blow into our yard and become snacking fodder for the stubborn puppy currently sleeping on the cool tile of our bathroom. I sighed.

A truck with balloons shaped like numbers and a hand-drawn birthday sign drove off. Sam saw it pass as he, too, got up to look out window. “One of those birthday parades, huh,” he said as the car disappeared down the street. Then he shifted his attention to the intersection.

“Hey! Confetti!” he exclaimed. “Ugh, what a mess.”

It was the same cycle I’d just silently gone through. We’d been circling through these types of emotions a lot lately. I laughed at our synchronicity.

“Feels symbolic,” I told him, “Like America is confetti; beautiful and fun in theory, but mostly chaotic and bad for the environment.”

“Ha, maybe,” he responded.

Sam watched the fluttering paper for a moment before getting back to his work. I returned my attention to the half-written cover letter on my screen. “In terms of what I could provide to you…” I typed and then stalled. The cursor impatiently blinked at me. “I am a skilled writer and editor who excels in concise messaging—” Blah. I deleted the sentence, shut my computer and walked over to the fridge.

“You want a snack?” I asked Sam.

“Always,” Sam replied.

I smiled and proceeded to delicately assemble a charcuterie plate made with an odd assortment of leftovers. It wasn’t the best, but it certainly felt like an accomplishment.