Living in Dystopia

Living in Dystopia

Those lines on my forehead are tree rings. Repetitive facial expressions, furrowing of the brow etched borders in the epidermis where there were none. And I massage and press the surfaces of built up unconscious tension. I’m young, twenty seven, but monthly appoints to massage therapist are reminders of the inevitability of aging. Their fingers disentangle problems and worries embodied in knots. I try breathing exercises to control my inadvertent behaviour. How many CEO’s, white collar pencil pushers pay a visit for a physical tune-up. Maybe the psychiatrist’s office should be next door so they can talk about strangulating their superiors.

I reminisce about three years past, at time when the Harlem Shake was popular. For some it was summiting high school, I began grad school to delayed the inevitability of work life. I watched a low-resolution video and could count the pixels, but I would have never noticed in the past. I used to play with antennas to make contact with the alien signals. Perfect placement and balance in one area yielded at least a picture, but it was still silent. And now I press a few keys on the computer and stream HD content with a few clicks. No more serendipity or browsing creased newspaper TV guides. No more memorization of double digits for broadcast channels and enduring Ni-Ro-Pe advertisements. Yet that patience built a sense of endurance. Sitting in restaurants across from one another we used to stare nakedly into one another eyes, and share a joke, or experience a memory together. We share videos, pictures, language becomes truncated. We used to talk about things, that actually mattered rather than the latest trend, viral video, or phrase we discovered on urban dictionary. We used to ask people for directions, but google is now our Jiminy cricket. We lost the spiritual gift and art of map folding, of awkwardly impeding on a strangers turf to ask for directions followed by an apologetic smile. We have no shared local culture, but the interwebs of hashtags.

Don’t ask Jeeves, or Alta-vista, or the Encyclopedia Britannica, don’t use Netscape, use chrome, or a fading Fire Fox, or God-forbid explore with Explorer. Don’t ask your elders, don’t ask God. Google to infinity and beyond. Wikipedia it from the collective knowledge nexus. And trust the most liked comments of critique. We are all content producing photographers, journalists, psychologists, spiritual-gurus, fashionista, movie critics, but no self-critics. Maybe we were never created to be permanent, maybe memories come, moments go, and the beauty of such reality is that it has past. Maybe history is progressive, linear, or maybe it’s cyclical, or spiralling in repetition, and the same mistakes are repeated over and over. Maybe the medium is the message, or the medium conveys the same message of grasping and holding on to finite objects. Could beauty of a moment be captured on video, could it replicate the embodied sounds, smells, touch, temperature of a location. Are we squeezing our selves into 140 character limit? Do I care, or want to read the morning headlines? Rather than numbing apathy, perhaps we should be more on our knees hands folded together.

I am growing older, but it’s for the better. Immortality is the curse. Limitations and the fragility of life, gives time the value. But framing time as value, we can and should slow down, for when time is too overvalued, we cram too much in. Awareness of self, reflection on our meals, relationships, prevents us from full-throttle thoughtless actions, and myopic vision. Stare nakedly at one another, and see our wrinkles. Share a laugh, a tear, or a painful but malleable memory, for we will too grow old, frail, and succumb to wheel chairs. But we'll always do wheelies. 

Published by M t

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