Lately I have two personas. One is the weekend person, who hangs out all afternoon and watches movies and reads books and eats nice meals and spoons with his boyfriend and is so happy all of the time. Then there’s the weekday person, who is generally angry most of the day and cannot wait to get home so he can hang out and watch movies and read books and, well, he doesn’t eat nice meals during the week, because there’s never any time and let’s not get crazy because we’re not made of money, right?
I was really unhappy when I got back from Chicago. And it wasn’t because I wanted to live in Chicago again (although, there was a moment where I said, “If I could find a nice job in which I was doing something that I genuinely enjoyed, I think I could do this again!”), but because I didn’t want to come back to New York. I once joked that not wanting to be in New York is a very New York mentality. It’s kind of true? Because everything is an extreme here. Never have I felt simultaneously a success and a failure, and never before have I ever wanted to hug someone right before I punch them in the face.
I just finished Nora Ephron’s Wallflower at the Orgy, and I really enjoyed her profile of Helen Gurley Brown, particularly this bit:
And if, at times, Helen Gurley Brown and her magazine are offensive, it is only because almost every popular success is offensive. Mrs. Brown—like Hugh Hefner and Dorothy Schiff, to name two other irritating publishing successes—offends because she is proving, at sizable financial profit, the old Mencken dictum that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. She is demonstrating, rather forcefully, that there are well over a million American women who are willing to spend sixty cents to read not about politics, not about the female liberation movement, not about the war in Vietnam, but merely about how to get a man.
I also really liked Ephron’s piece on Erich Segal and Rod McKuen; about the former she writes:
I love trash. I have never believed that kitsch kills. I tell you this so you will understand that my apathy toward Love Story is not because I am immune either to sentimentality or garbage—two qualities the book possesses in abundance. When I read Love Story (and I cried, in much the same way that I cry from onions, involuntarily and with great irritation), I was deeply offended—a response I never have, for example, with Jacqueline Susann novels. It was not just that the book was witless, stupid, and manipulative. It was that I suspected that unlike Miss Susann, Segal knew better. I was wrong to think that, as it happened, I was fooled by his academic credentials. The fact is that Love Story is Erich Segal at the top of his form; he knows no better and can do no better.
I wish two things: that when the more things change, things did not stay the same, and that I could also write like Nora Ephron in the sense that I don’t make my anger so evident in my words when I think something is witness, stupid, and manipulative.
Andrew and I have been together for a little over three months, which is almost nothing but feels like so much longer, probably because I have never felt so comfortable with someone so far in my adult dating life or whatever you would call it. It occurred to me over the weekend that I have never once GChatted with him. We met online, yes, but our courtship was almost entirely face-to-face; we had our first date at a bar instead of over IM, and he didn’t have a Facebook page from which I could create a personality for him. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to go, and isn’t it odd that I’m just figuring that out at twenty-nine?
I remember how much I used to love writing on the internet. Not the act of writing on the internet, but that there was a space for me to do what I loved to do whenever I wanted it. When I once complained about “not doing anything with my life,” which was a frequent refrain from roughly 2006 to 2010, a friend once told me that even though I wasn’t writing for a living or anything, I was one of the few people she knew who was actually doing what they had studied in college every day. I thought, “Yeah! I am not terrible at this thing that I am doing!”
It was probably more fun when no one was reading my blog.
Wanting to quit the internet is probably the most ridiculous desire one can ever have. It’s frequently stated in a melodramatic way, paired with an all-caps declaration along the lines of, “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I AM GOING TO QUIT THE INTERNET.” One can’t “hate” the internet in the same sense that one cannot “quit” it. The internet is not the source of annoyance; it’s other people. And like in real life, it’s very hard to quit other people or the cultures that they are propagating, which, I think, is the part of the internet that annoys me the most. I don’t really want to hear everyone’s opinion on everything! I think most people have stupid jokes, and I definitely don’t want to have to read them online. But there’s a feeling that I cannot escape it, because 1. I might be missing out on something, and 2. OH DEAR LORD I MUST CHECK TO SEE WHAT SO-AND-SO HAS WRITTEN, WHAT IF IT’S ABOUT MEEEEEE? We’ve tried very hard (and succeeded, in a way) to turn what is inherently a presence best experienced in solitude into something that is “social,” as ironic is that is. And when the internet became more social, I again felt like I was being left out of all of the fun, and then the internet got really annoying. (Of course, it’s not the internet, again: it’s the people on the internet. Or rather, it’s me.)
The more things change, etc. I spent my post-high school years eager for friends, for as many friends as possible. I always found other people who I thought were cooler and more interesting, so I sought them out and kept the other friends on the back-burner. And then I continued that pattern (it was a process, really), getting fed up if I didn’t feel cool enough to be someone’s friend, or if someone I knew had more friends than me or appeared to be having a better time (and trust me, they were usually having a better time). I didn’t air my grievances out in the open; I took to my Diaryland, then my Livejournal, then to Blogger. It was fairly strange to have a blog ten years ago, at least among the people I knew. Now it’s common place. And everyone’s reading and commenting and reblogging and hate-reblogging, and it’s gotten a little bit too much like real life. Only more petty, and more “ironic,” and more exhausting. But as much as I can’t quit real life (or, rather, have no real interest in doing so), I can’t “quit the internet,” so here I am, trying my best to figure out how, exactly, to live with it while accepting that I can’t live without it.