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Gmail

Everything seems vaguely normal, in that things seem predictably surreal, as you read sentences about Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning Gmail chatting about hamsters, until, after maybe two minutes, you realize you’ve been ignoring that there are tribal-tattoo patterns near the margins and in other places and that the text is glowing reddish-black and sometimes has a slightly 3D nature, like it’s projecting a holograph of itself an inch above the page.

More than other television shows, it yields to watching and rewatching, because it is a show about repetition and circularity. Though you own all three seasons of the show on DVD, you now open your internet browser and stream an episode over Netflix Instant, because this seems easier, somehow.

Half a decade into my inadvertent foray into reverse voyeurism, this is what I know. In America, we hope and dream and strive. We type colorfully, if not carefully, and in a variety of fonts — frequently oversized ones. We protect ourselves from violent crime. We ____ this weather! We keep you in our prayers and hope you can make it to our party.

Being considerate can be a powerful tool in your daily and long-term struggle to not become an angry, jealous, out-of-control, earnestly depressed person who feels frustrated and cheated all the time.

People who select “busy” as their GChat status, which turns the circle next to their name red, are not usually busy. When you type something to a “busy” contact, the program warns: “[Contact] is busy. You may be interrupting.” “May,” indeed. If they were busy, they’d be invisible.

All the while, of course, I’ve left my gmail window up and active, where I can just see the very top tab of the screen where it says: Gmail – Inbox (9). And my eyes are constantly, desperately shooting back to that parenthetic number, hoping, waiting, praying for it to change, as if, the instant that my 9 turns into a 10, it’s an irrefutable sign that someone loves me, someone needs me, someone’s thinking about me, that I’m good and worthwhile valuable…

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