Illustration by Stacey Chen

Tree Chronicles

By Joey Martinez

9 a.m.
I have come unfortunately unprepared with no food, no water. Just a guy, his surroundings, and some books. Pretty sweet set up for a tree though so part of me believes this whole thing won’t be so bad. At least it’s nice out. It’s one of those days where we dance around 70 degrees. Very few people come through campus on a Friday morning and it’s still too early for much general life to be about. It's peaceful, so I think I’m going to start out by reading before the sun starts baking me later.

10 a.m.
Pretty simple first hour. Nothing’s changed. My butt doesn’t hurt so that’s a plus. You know Target sells lawn chairs for $40? Why would they do that when they also sell this $14 one that doesn’t entirely suck.

11 a.m.
It’s hitting me right now that I didn’t charge my phone last night and the little I did get to charge it before I left my dorm is only going to last me until maybe 1 or 2 p.m. if I keep using it. I don’t even think I can keep listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, the greatest producers of soul ever, anymore or else my 20% won’t last. Guess it's time to really start getting into the mindset of a tree soon.

1 p.m.
My editor in chief Andres Leon recognized me and we met in-person for the first time. I felt weird given the circumstances, that being that I'm running on maybe three or four hours of sleep. I’m getting seriously hungry and I couldn’t get up. Brutal lesson: Trees can’t dap people up.

2 p.m.
The sun has finally positioned itself so that it shines directly at me. I don’t know what it is, but direct sunlight like this just makes me super tired. I’m extremely comfortable in my chair too. That’s what sucks though. I could totally fall asleep right now and have the best nap of my life, but I can’t. I am moving in and out of sleep and the only thing keeping me up is the need to stay awake to make sure my stuff doesn’t get taken. I just gotta keep fighting it.

3 p.m.
This is stupid.

4 p.m.
This is the best and I am literally the luckiest guy ever. My phone was at 5% and I got a call from a job I applied for almost 2 months ago asking for an interview. A squirrel has also decided to eat and hang right by me for the better part of an hour. I’ve named him Paco. He’s a little dude who I heard rummaging behind me and when I put out my hand to him like you would to a cat he came up to me and looked at my palm as if I was going to feed him. Even though I had nothing for him though he’s still sticking around right by me.

5 p.m.
Everything is falling apart. Paco is gone and I don’t know where he went. No more funny squirrel munching sounds and watching him chase off other squirrel trespassers on his domain. My phone is completely dead so I’m going to have to rely on my laptop from here on. The chair has decided to give out because I kept resting my elbow and subsequently my entire upper body on one arm of the chair. I am now sitting on the ground for the rest of the time here with my only saving grace now being two friends of mine picking up food for me. Hopefully that sweet sweet Chick-Fil-A will keep me going.

6 p.m.
A friend of mine happened to have been walking by and grabbed one of the outdoor chairs between two buildings for me. Not as comfy as the lawn chair, but definitely an improvement above the ground. The food also came in. Awesome. Best part of this whole tree thing is the whole getting food without moving deal. But I guess trees don’t have to beg their friends to take their debit cards and pick up some sustenance.

7 p.m.
It has gotten really cold really fast over the last hour. This is the hardest the day has been and I think it’s only going to get worse. The warmth from my laptop as I write is the only thing helping my hands right now so I'm just going to keep typing. The weird thing about the last ten hours is how simultaneously I’ve talked to and interacted with no one, and how much I’ve gotten out of the select few conversations I've actually had. I think there's something very strange but valuable in the occasion of talking to someone then being forced to sit in complete silence while they get to go off and get distracted by the rest of their day.
I consider myself someone who finds a lot of value in the little interactions with people I talk to whether they are close friends or random strangers I'll never meet again. But sitting here, being forced to be subdued in thought of every interaction I've had because there’s nothing else to distract myself with anymore, has really been doing something to my head.
The way we communicate and give each other little information through the slightest actions is immensely undermined by the next distraction we give ourselves just a few seconds later.
Maybe this is the answer I’ve been looking for when wondering why people can be so dismissive of others' issues and flaws as something they can just go ahead and dislike them for rather than thinking for a moment that this person really, genuinely, doesn’t know any better and the signs that they don’t are clear.
Or maybe I'm just trying to keep my hands from freezing right now.

9 p.m.
I’m writing this ten minutes before nine so that I can just hurry up and get out of here. Everything was good and fine, the weather, the people, the seat. It’s just the last quarter that really made this horrible because for the last two hours, everything’s been gone. No sun, no people, the comfortable seat has been replaced by a metal chair getting just as cold as everything else.
I hope you’ve found some semblance of a lesson in all this. What I've found is don't be a tree.