Athazagoraphobia

You hit ‘submit’ and you wait and in this waiting words and meanings become echos and they fade and fade away. The half-life of a thought increases, written down, but without reading, repetition, rewording, it approaches almost never was.

The amount of energy it takes to be ignored does not have an upper limit, and the destruction of energy is possible: just take a billion or so individual pairs of eyes choosing either actively or passively to not care or not notice, respectively.

Five minutes since and still nothing — just the stinging feeling of personal betrayal as a gamified system fails over and over again moment after moment to keep its unspoken promise of instant gratification through which to temporarily pacify a restless mind.

You walk away and let another five minutes pass. There are chores and other busy work to help time become unstuck. You wait to relight a tiny screen, knowing, hoping, unconvincingly convincing yourself that you will return to still-increasing numbers in tiny red circles, if only you could wait.

It’s not the fear of life and trying, it’s the fear of a living death and dying unknown or under-appreciated or with a superinflated self-image that doesn’t match your mirror. It’s not the fear of criticism, it’s the fear of a lack there of: it’s a fear of being so insignificant that there is no need to respond.

You reread the words you wrote and edited and reread and reread already only to realize your worst fear — the only fear that is bigger than the fading and the wasted effort and the living death of obscurity: there is a typo.

interview

Think about the organization of the words into the question and what the position of each word says about that question’s true meaning in addition to the definition of the words themselves, individually, and in combination, and the sounds and tones and intentions, as they are assumed, as they, the words, pass over tongue and teeth to tickle thousands of tiny hairs in two pairs of ears, both the listener’s and the speaker’s. Think about the limitations of answering fully and with confidence or at least without stuttering in real time without one complete moment of pause for clarity in which to not only prepare, but to consider all possible options and pros and cons and potential misinterpretations, of both the listener and the speaker and vice versa and with roles reversed, before making noises in response to the previous noises (now gone and without echo), which were made within similar limitations, but with the upper hand of prior knowledge and punctuation. Think about the increasing density of air over time as a room of any and all volumes is filled to burst by complete/utter silence ticking on, ticking on, and taking on a life all its own. Think about that silence broken, not by answers, right or wrong, but by the friction of physical shifts in the position of a body seeking comfort, and think about the collection of those shifts circulating faster and faster and combining with the silence to form a constant aching drone that further increases the pressure the air in the volume exerts on both bodies, unequally, but reciprocally, each second by each single second by each tick by single tick tick tick tick. Think about the continuously circling hands of an endless clock slowing to an almost-stop. Think about action over inaction and instead of words and in response to the words already spoken. Think about the fight or flight response. Think about the Big Questions – Life and Death – and Their Importance, and the increasing size of This Question and Its Importance in relation to those Big Questions and to Life Itself and Death Itself individually and Individuality and Making a Statement and a Good Impression and erase all that you thought and all you thought you knew. With this fresh slate, in a state of forced calm, turn the table – ‘Can you-’

And it’s repeated.

aging in the information age

People used to eat pigeons, be wary of your trash. People used to live love longing, demand he has some spine. A bullet hole like a pinprick we minimize our time’s tragedies. It’s not so good it’s not so great it’s perfect perfect and isn’t it tragic? The freedom power perpecularity of time as it splinters and collapses on itself. As all of history is summarized in one single day. As all of history is forgotten for the future’s sake. As I sit here as I wait for the former latter to be forgotten for advancement to take over for the youth to surpass wisdom for condensation to drip drop fall forgotten off of one glass. Time is not ticking time is waiting for history to repeat itself. Time is not ticking time is waiting for new thoughts to obscure pass successes. We have learned about the fun of the past we have surpassed it we are getting passing grades. We have learned about history we remember what we are told we can improve we can replace we obscure obscure the obscurity of the lessons that are less than what is to be obeyed. I am not keeping up I am not proposing advancement. I am not keeping the pace of the minimization of time spent as it is perfected. One life lived in a sea of alternations: a splash produced by a single drop wave-adding to present-soon-forgotten situations. The future is our future is our present past tensed. Our future is supported by the wise resenting wrinkled flesh.

stream of consciousness ii

i don’t care i don’t care i don’t care i barely even try to care i barely even think about it except to respond to respond ever briefly with some words with little meaning to poke situations to bring emotions out of others out of others into situations where i feel where i offer where i emote none. No emotion no connection no deep meaning nothing none. I see it they don’t see it I see it they must see it they see it eventually and probably feel hurt or maybe betrayed or maybe tricked or maybe reciprocated nothings and I guess it is tricky but why did they try why did they care why did they bother why why why? I don’t know I can’t answer I can only say that I don’t try I barely try I rarely seldom if ever try because I don’t care and why would I care why would I try why should I be sad to see them go? Small interactions with tiny people people I keep tiny because I keep them far away I keep them far away because I don’t want them any closer I don’t feel a draw I don’t feel those feelings that I feel I would have to feel if I wanted to turn a nothing into a sweet something: the alchemy of love of mutual intrigue that turns strangers into lovers into more than that much more. But I don’t feel it I don’t feel it I don’t feel it I don’t care and I respond I put out words out there out of politeness – no out of boredom out of self-interested intrigue out of the fascination of poking bears out of a need to see what will happen when I feel nothing and they feel something but they feel something based on the nothing I put out if there’s something somewhere at all. It’s a trick of the mind of the interpretation of thinking that response means closeness and ignoring that availability means desperation and a means of passing time. I pass time I pass time I watch it pass me by, and I respond out of habit out of need out of ways to pass the time to pass the time just passing time just watching it float by. I feel nothing for no one for no ones I have kept at the distance of my phone just one small text away but so far from meaning so far from emotion so far from caring so far from me. Does that make me anyword? No. It makes them make believe a possibility that I did my part I played my part in by showing up by responding to by doing nothing more. I go out of my way none of the time and I ask for much of the same. There must be such a lack of human connection facing kids these days, that they would cling to a half extended hand and assume it’s charmed to meet them.

proof of concept

It still feels like 2016. It still feels like the most important year of my life. It still feels like the end of my childhood. It’s driving me mad it is it is it is. I still want to talk to him and I’m wondering why I am sitting here not talking to him and talking to this person and to that person and enjoying my life but still but still still weeks and months and security lost later still wanting to talk to him. Still thinking about him constantly. Consistently? Repeatedly. Reminded. Still wishing him well in my head in my head always in my head and waiting waiting waiting for him to tell me for him to reach out to me and tell me he’s doing well and tell me he felt my well wishes and tell me he held that feeling in a place in his heart until it warmed him until it cleared away cobwebs until it helped him realize he could be doing well because someone wants too much so much so badly so desperately for him to be alright – more than alright: wonderfully – because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am doing terrifically as I sit here sit here sit here and think always thinking always thinking about him and wondering what he’s doing and hoping it’s well – more than well: wonderfully. Because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am happy now but still so sad. So sad but happy with myself. So satisfied but wanting more. So conflicted but existing peacefully in so many states. I don’t know what I want right now because I want nothing I want something I want someone but I’m not as caught up in my emotions as I used to be. I let them flutter let them fall watching them as they crash to the floor like a teardrop like the loudest scream like the silence that rings out as time stops having meaning. I do miss the feeling of being passionately in love with a person who exists like a concept – like more than just an individual with individual problems and insecurities and interests and dislikes – both external and internal and expanding – expanding and filling the chest I leaned my head on and felt so very much in love with so very much in love with a person like a concept like a too-good-to-be-true like a Form. The chest with the message printed on it – the reminder to live the best life possible – the reminder that this will all end and you will see it in slow motion as it ends before your eyes and just out of the reaches of your grip – a reminder of a dream a twenty-two year old had and was fighting every day to turn into a reality to turn a concept to a proof.  The constant struggle of self-definition that is classified by experts as anxiety. The constant struggle of being too in a head too in a head too in a head where else does one go where else is there where else could I be? Explained external complaints becoming. I’ll hold them deeply and let them devour me. I’ll change the subject: I’ll make it all about me. He’ll hold them deeply and let them devour him. It’s all about me as I sit here and I think about what it’s like for it to be all about someone else for someone else who is making their own decisions based on all the information they are able to contain all that they can bear to bear witness to to carry to be burdened with. It is difficult to live with your eyes open. I’ve turned a blind one a few times a few times maybe too many but it’s all relative based on other outcomes of other choices that I will never be able to choose because time is linear and this is my path. I’ve turned blind eyes I’ve ignored what is obvious. It’s fear it’s all fear and I’m terrified and terrible and taking turns to shaded places where it’s too dark too dark far too dark to see. A blind eye in a dark room in the isolation of a mind a mind inside of a head that is too active too panicked too scared to believe that there is more outside. More than a concept in a head leaning on a dream written on a chest.

planning

The plan is to live in Chicago, then Denver, then San Francisco, and then Seattle, as a way to be both young professional and nomad through the remainder of my 20s. The plan is to move back to Philadelphia to reduce the stress of starting over in another new city. The plan is to stay at my current job and save as much money as possible so I have the freedom to start over someplace new sometime soon without having to find another job in my current field. The plan is to apply to jobs in my current field to give me a reason to move to a new place. The plan is to decorate my apartment so it feels like a home and not a temporary storage space. The plan is to get a part-time job that pays just enough to cover bills and gives me experiences to write about. The plan is to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible so that I can reasonably be unemployed and focus on writing or photography or starting a business or some other thing I feel too weighed down to take seriously as this point in my life. The plan is to quit drinking because drinking costs too much money and is not entertaining enough. The plan is to stay single and make friends and have fun with those friends. The plan is to go out and meet someone I can eventually marry and do the whole parenthood thing with. The plan is to take life day by day and see which changes come because changes will come, but they will not come all at once. The plan is made up of contradictions. The plan is a source of anxiety. The plan depends on only me.  

Saturday Mornings

It starts. I wake up with a blank day before me. I try to speed it up with caffeine. Green tea. A choice I make so many days in a row that it can hardly still be considered a choice, but an act of normalcy. An attempt to have a pattern, rather than chaos. An attempt at a plan, rather than the quenching of a thirst.  Water in a pot. Pot on a stove. A flame click click clicking on. A transfer of energy to heat the solution that will extract caffeine from leaves into a potable liquid for a second transfer of energy.  

I brush my teeth, likely too hard. I think about gum health. I think about losing my teeth. I hear it’s a common theme in dreams. It’s not for me, but one day it might happen in my waking life. Might. Possibly. A latent fear, and one I may be causing by combating by doing too much incorrectly. I’ve always been conscious of my dental hygiene, but I don’t think I have very healthy teeth regardless. I won’t know what I should have done my entire life until it’s too late.

Quincy is meowing. One of his eyes is half closed. He woke up when I did, and is confused about how to start his day as well. A series of morning meows is his pattern. It’s how he controls his life’s tiny chaos. I control mine by pouring boiling water into a cast iron tea pot. Teavana brand. It feels artificial to me. Some kind of modern interpretation of an object with a purpose. Some kind of modern interpretation of my life’s plight: everything is exactly as it appears, but nothing has any meaning. I put the lid on my teapot so that condensation collections and rains over the tea again, as a way of strengthening. As a way of putting my knowledge of chemical engineering to use.

I wait. I try to wait. I turn on my computer. Mad Men is already paused, also waiting. I click play. I watch for a minute. I click pause. The tea should be good enough. I fill the chamber with too many leaves so I don’t have to steep them as long. This is how extractions work, although this may not be how the perfect cup of tea is brewed. But this is Cleveland, and I’m not trying to impress the queen. I pour tea into a white mug stained on the inside with tea, and on the outside with paint. I wonder how many chemicals make their way into my body daily, and how they are slowly or quickly poisoning me. I won’t know this until it’s too late either. Old age feels like a series of failures that could be avoided, if only we could see the future. 

I walk back to the computer with tea in mug in hand. I light a joint. Puff puff, check my phone. No one’s ringing, but I’m answering. I sit in my chair incorrectly. I broke it not too long ago, but was able to repair it. I am now more aware of when I am sitting incorrectly in my chair, although my actual seated behavior has changed little if at all. I unpause Mad Men. I try to focus on the subtleties of the actors’ faces as they explain to me what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I will never know what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I sip my tea. I smoke my joint. I grow bored of the morning and all of its possibilities. I grow bored of 2017 and 1967 simultaneously: half a century reduced to banality in the eyes of a stoned 25 year old on a Saturday morning.

The sun is out. The cats meow to worship it. I open the back door, leaving the screen shut, so they can appreciate sun rays and a cool breeze from inside. Birds chirp. Cat eyes fueled by instinct follow. They meow understanding better than I do, how important it is to trust instinct. I don’t. I stay inside. Outside there are people. They might talk to me, or even worse, they might not. I stay inside. I check my phone. 9:15 am. No one’s there yet. Hours later, I assume I’ll hear from someone or someone else who has just waken up to see the start of the afternoon. That is not now. Now, we wait. We watch for chirping birds and think about how strong the desire is to pounce.