Sunday, February 3, 2013

Visible Trap




Written by Andrew Forscik




It's a set up



I didn't see it at first

I was like everyone

Basking in a new world

Without realizing that sometimes the new

Takes the place of something else

Something that might have been cleaner



So I shell out my feelings

At least my feelings in a vacuum

My feelings in the space of no expression

At least none that are any more real

Than the expressions I crafted on my keyboard

Of my phone

Instead of in words, in front of you, whoever you are

Wherever you are



I was born into this

Into this world of digital expression

Or at least on the edge of its horizon

I don't know how it was before everything was shared

When conversation included at least two voices

Two audible, external voices

Listening to each other

Reacting to each other

Anticipating the facial tics

Twitches

Hand movements and brow raisings

That seems at once attainable and yet historic

I don't know that it's important to anyone around me

I don't know who's listening or who's reading

I don't know who I'm talking to



My friend wanted to hurt himself

He felt alone in the presence of 886 friends on Facebook

Despite LinkedIn

Without regard to Instagram

Outside of Twitter

None of those connections made him feel as if

Anyone was in the room with him

I told him that's because they weren't

That's because he only knew 67 of those friends

And only spoke to 3 or 4 of them



It's a set up



So I went to him

And I sat with him

And we talked to each other

And never looked at our phones

And he slowly came around

And he broke into a smile

About an hour and ten minutes in

And we shared our memories

The places we've been

The things we've done

We laughed, we reacted, we listened

And didn't share any of that

Online



When I left I wasn't sure,

But I hoped he was okay

He called me an hour later to say he was

To tell me he'd turned off all his stuff

For the whole night

And then he told me he cheated

Just a little bit

He'd taken a picture of us

When I'd turned my back 
After a couple of drinks

To put some music on a CD player he hadn't used in months

There was no flash

So I didn't notice

But that picture

Living on his iPhone

Was a treasure

It was a real moment

In real time

And he promised not to share it

With anyone



He thanked me for coming over

For holding his hand

For ignoring the world

I thanked him

For reminding me

What human was

And what human

Was not

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