You have been taught that the world is unsafe and unnavigable without a phone, but generations of people before you went on road trips and camp-outs and semesters in Europe and they all somehow found their way back home relatively unscathed. There just wasn’t enough time on the evening news, or in the local paper, to recount each tragedy that occurred daily, each brutal rape, each heartbreaking kidnapping, each terrible accident, each senseless murder–and thank God for that, really thank God. She’s had a very adventurous life for someone her age, and she’s lived a lot of places in the last couple of years. ” It seemed absurd to me that in this day and age a person would travel hither and yon and the only way you could reach her was through an e-mail. “I didn’t want everybody to know about me, and what I was doing.” She sounded almost wistful.
I’m settled down for now, so I like keeping up with her travels through her facebook page. “I didn’t like that I would tell somebody about where I was and they’d say they already saw the pictures on Facebook.
There’s a difference between a myth and a lie, even if you make it up yourself.You tell a lie about yourself to pull one over on somebody, to avoid responsibility.But a myth is an aspiration, and you make a myth of your life story so you can achieve something superhuman.And as I’ve discussed in my (few) previous posts, part of the reason is that I am not sure that there is anything that I must impart to the world, despite the fact that I ruminate deeply on a variety of subjects and often write about them, but rarely post them. Lists are about organizing thoughts or tasks into manageable chunks. My thoughts dance in the margins and ramble onto the back of cocktail napkins and spill over to the palms of my hands and make everything messy, inky.But you’re only reading this because you wanted to see a list. My thoughts like freedom, they do not like to stand in line.You can’t do what my friend Diana did at her 10 high school reunion.She was feeling bad about grinding away as a writer and working as a receptionist at a law firm, so she concocted an elaborate fantasy wherein her best (gay) friend Matthew posed as her husband.The real me wouldn’t have known what to do, but Jordan Lister kissed the convict with willful abandon, and then confidently declared a “cease and desist” when he tried to take it too far. It was easy to pretend I was somebody else back then. It meant I called home once a week from the payphone in the dorm lobby, dropping extra quarters into the slot if the call went over 3 minutes, which it hardly ever did because what did I have to say anyway that I didn’t already say in my letter?It meant that if I had a few days off from classes and some money in my pocket I could go somewhere and not tell anybody—and nobody would ever even have to know, anyway.I have clicked on some really dumbass lists–lists of things I didn’t even care about, like “15 celebrities who have aged badly” or “10 things you should never refrigerate” or “12 spectacular photographs that will make you wish you lived in Gary, Indiana.” Okay, I made that last one up. You’re on the internet doing something useful, like checking your bank balance or reading an article about fly-tying, and you see a list and think, “that’s ridiculous.I don’t care about that.” And then you click on it. No matter that it is a poorly researched compilation of photos hastily pulled from other people’s flickr accounts, or a rehashing of tired stereotypes (the 10 types of guys you should never date! Your brain gets a very brief reward for absorbing some pre-chewed knowledge, and then there is an immediate feeling of micro-regret.