Finding Something Real In The Digital World
Ahoy there digital world! How ’bout we spend the day together? Let’s get lost, huh? We could drive through skinny highways — get lost out in the Wired West. Stick ’em up where I can see ’em!
I want to grab a joystick and spend the night shooting you dead, up way way way too late with the acne-ridden boy who finally gets his chance to take control over something, murdering them men flashing before his eyes. Call me a n00b, baby — it’s all music to my ears.
I want to rub the shoulders of the temp entering sheaves of data into an Excel spreadsheet. She’s grinding her teeth under poor fluorescents. I want to give her a hug. I want to edit her book, clap for joy when she hits the send button and puts out that Young Adult Fantasy Novel manuscript for the world to consider. Vampires and werewolves? I can’t wait to read it. It’s going to be big. Bigger than ever. Anything. It all.
It’s going to be a par-tay! I want to hop in the chat room, join the convo between two 50-year-old men, both pretending to be 18, and young, and strong, and unhidden, one now a man, another a woman. Both can be men, too. Hell, both women.
We can be what we want to be here.
I’ll be the pizza delivery guy, entering screen right. You ladies need a hand? I’m here. This is beautiful. You are beautiful. Age sex location.
Where have all the chat rooms gone?
Let’s get on Twitter, a word that once meant one thing and now means another thing. What do birds do now? Chirp, I guess. My heart is a-twitter. A-flutter. Let’s get warm — wrap ourselves in blankets weaved of threads 140 characters or less. The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of frivolous things! Let’s write on each other’s wall. Scrawl out our true feelings.
(Wall-writing used to be saved for big occasions, “Marry Me” or “Red Rum,” usually done in red… but everyone gets to write on the wall in our world.)
Let’s get out there and emote! I want to hold the hand of every young girl in too thick eyeliner screaming into digital space that she is better off without him. You are, baby. Believe it or not, World. He’ll see it, too. And he’ll feel, well, whatever it is you want him to feel. Hurt. Regret. Whatever it is, he’s going to feel it. I want to click on the “Empathize” button but Facebook doesn’t have one. Not yet. For now I’ll “like” it. I like you.
I want to waltz into the conference room filled with white men in button-down Oxfords listening to the latest internet whiz entrepreneur. He wants them to work until midnight every night. He wants them to be their own boss. He wants them to kill it! And they’re going to — I just know it.
We’re all going to be big. Bigger than ever. Anything. It all.
I want to link hands across the country. I want to sing out that we are the motherfucking world! I want to walk into the homes of every lonely person sitting slack-jawed in front of a dim screen, arguing with another slack-jawed person in front of another screen. I want to watch over the great battle of the comment box. I think you’re winning. You definitely are.
He’ll see your point. He’ll change. I want to tell you that that asshole doesn’t know the real you. I want to know the real you. Fuck DeLillo, I know there’s one in there somewhere.
Give me your conspiracy theories. I think 9/11 was an inside job, too. Unless you don’t, of course. Poke me, baby, I’ll poke you right back. Show me cats leaping into boxes. Show me penguins dancing. Show me tsunamis crashing into places I’ll never go.
I want to Laugh Out Loud! Give me your status. Show me your pictures. Show me your black eye from when he hit you, covered up with foundation but still there, pixels flushed purple and blue. Your smile looks beautiful.
This is the foundation. The interconnection. Hit me back soon. You can move from state to state and still feel the same frothy emptiness in your gut.
You can fall in love on the internet.
Send her those pictures of you. Send her love, emails, poetry. Oh one oh one oh! Text her sex across amber waves of grain, intimacy scattered to the sky then reassembled in the breast of your lover, twittering Cyrano all a-tumble. I want to stop wanting so much. I need to get some fucking sun! It’s time for us to make something. Real. I want to be 16 again, don’t you?
Give me your status. Your links. Your missed connections.
I want to sit with the single father staring at the online pictures of his daughter’s friends, young and nubile and innocent, dressed up in clumsy rouge and jean skirts for the latest school dance. I want to tell him it’s okay to want. I want to take his shame. I want to set him up with a nice 47-year-old divorcée who laughs at his jokes and doesn’t mind the man he’s hardened into.
Match me baby. I want to get paired on seventeen different levels of compatibility. I need to make some fucking money! And don’t you worry; I’ll pass this on to at least 10 of my friends. I’m not going to break this chain.
I want to kneel down next to the online preacher, disseminating his Gospel to that digital flock. I want to type out Hallelujah! I want to hold his hand as he reads the responses in the comment box. The hate. I want to brew him a pot of tea as he deletes the posts, trying to hold down the rage, staring at swastikas drawn in backslashes.
I want to forgive the young man who drew those swastikas, sitting on his stepdad’s computer in a dark room he’s not supposed to be in. I want to tell him that the hate will go away. It’s going to get better. Soon.
Give me your playlists. Give me your nights out. Give me the things you hold dearest. Put them out for me to see. I want it all. Now. All at once. Can’t you see?
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