on wednesday, after a mere 20 inches of snow blanketed denver in the most glorious way, the storm broke, and as if by some deep and primal calling, we all emerged from our warm cocoons and into the wilds. i took out one of my all time favorite camera accessories: my lensbaby. true love.
the snow swirls, the tea steeps, and i’m wrapped in the cozy sounds of sinatra’s velvety croons emanating from my grandparents’ vinyl. i close my eyes and conjure up the joy of their 5 o’clock ritual. of husbands and wives and sisters and brothers gathered together and celebrating life. scotch splashing, ice cubes tinkling, as they glide merrily across their newly installed and oh-so-trendy linoleum floor with their highball glasses filled all-too-generously.
papa in his monogrammed golf shirt. gama, in her smart red nails and superbly chic polyester suit and pearls, carefully selects another cigarette from her case, and with a flick of her floral brass cloisonné bic, she inhales relief. tricks are won, tales are told, ivories are tickled, and everyone’s glasses and hearts and bellies remain generously full. they. are. living.
and with a drop of the needle, i’m living right here, right there with ‘em.
“perhaps all the snow in the world will fall, burying everything, such silence, and then i will come out of it in the spring, different, cleaner, not born again so much as built up.” -rick bass, winter
we’re being controlled
by a bunch of greedy suits
and the electronic idols
they dangle in front of us.
we spend twelve hours a day with media. twelve. that’s half of our daily allotment of life. not to mention that we’re subjected to over 5,000 ads and brand names during that time. preposterous.
are we but dimwitted mules trudging toward the carrot? habitually consuming virtual sustenance? looking for love and happiness and validation where it can never be found? living carefully curated online personas that are sleek and smooth—not messy and innocuous like our real ones.
it’s quite peculiar. this information age. feeding us mostly useless and false intelligence with plenty of illusions. of control. of intimacy. of knowledge.
it’s misleading, and we know it. the willed spontaneity, the feigned self-deprecating talk, the incessant need to justify oneself and one’s actions to the [virtual] world. (note: the very definition of virtual is “almost or nearly,” with its antonyms being actual, authentic, real.)
but it makes no difference whether or not our lives are as perfect beyond the screen as they are on it. what matters is how it makes us feel.
how it’s grasping our throats and tightening ever so gently. sneakily. so we won’t realize we’re asphyxiated until it’s too late.
don’t get me wrong. i have a lot of love for many aspects of [social] media. but, as a whole, it leaves me feeling somehow deflated. so many lovely and varied possible existences presenting themselves on a neverending reel. subtly planting the seed that i don’t have enough. am not enough.
and we’re trapped. in our minds and our devices. and we covet and resent and devalue.
we’re being conditioned.
to consume. to create patterns of habits and artificial reactions that allow us to be controlled. by the suits who build the things from which we need to escape.
but we’re in luck, because i know the antidote for the social-media-addicted-sick-man. it’s a little avocation called being alive. reading a real book with real pages. going to a real coffee shop made of real bricks and drinking real coffee with real friends. loafing through some real woods full of real trees producing real living, breathing oxygen.