Saturday, August 15, 2020


I had a resolution, just for today, to not look at the headlines and ignore the many beeping news updates that pop up on my phone, this in the belief that it would reduce whatever anger and anxiety might have been lending a foul mood to start of my day. You guessed it, I was a half hour into watching music videos when the old angst crept up even so and seemingly took the chair next to mine; not knowing what was going on during the last 24 hours and what people thought about was itself creating anxiety.

 So here I am again, arguing with the Fates,shaking my fist at the skyline, royally ticked off like a caged badger you've been poking with a stick. I told someone about this and and my friend suggested it was an acute attack of FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, a notion I wouldn't argue with. The good old days which is to mean the days before the internet, or at least before the internet became ubiquitous and PCs, laptops, cellphones and tablets became appliances no more exotic than wristwatches or coffee makers)  were a time when you had to wait for the newspapers to arrive on the doorstep but once every 24 hours, the magazines would come to the news stand or your physical mailbox on very specific dates, recent movies were in theaters only, and you had to go to your bank to make deposits, withdrawls or apply for a loan. 

Our current situation is one of short cuts, bookmarks, links of all sorts to all sorts of web destinations, less than half of them essential to our daily needs; they beckon to us, they have colonized our subconscious (to borrow a phrase from a Wim Wenders film) . Even when you close all the tabs and have your browser closed while your attempting to read , finally, that novel or magazine article at last and so symbolically resist the lure of the distractions that call to you, anxiety swells up slowly and boils over and before you know it the entire universe you might have been reconciled to just minutes before seems now a place of menacing organ music, slanted camera angles, deep dark corners of impenetrable blackness where curious things are going on, out of sight . The only manner to get rid of it, to quit fidgeting, to get a sense of relief and perhaps connection to the world again is to open browser, hit a book mark, see what your friends are posting, find a list of the greatest Hollywood movies about Ethiopian pizza parlors . 

Go ahead, the Id tells you,the bills, the novels,the phone calls to be returned can all wait. And then we start all over again, your method of relief soon becomes habit that provides neither relief nor joy, and after some months of feeling hallowed out and used up by the sheer force of the super highway, we try to starve ourselves, cold turkey, of our robotic mouse clicking. But that doesn't work . Ack!

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