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Getting past the anxiety of showing up for real life

DISCOVER THE JOY of real life conversation, the kind that starts in a way that we used to do it in the year, say, 1991. Here, let me take you back to that time. I'm picturing a nice tree with perfume scents, summertime. Southeastern United States, let's say.

Maybe you had a guitar. Or a t-shirt, that someone thought was cool. You walked around with the things that you did not because someone was going to take a picture of you and you wanted to make sure that whomever saw that picture on the other side of the internet would get jealous about it because, oh, look at you, so cute!, but because you just had those clothes on top of the first drawer that you opened.

Maybe they were plaid or corduroy.

Maybe they were XXL t-shirts.

NIRVANA. There were some things about Nirvana that people were saying around you, at school or between classes at the college or something, but you just went on with your day as if it was totaly normal and everything. When Kurt Cobain died, everyone you had never seen in the last four years banded together and you did this lighter lighty-uppy thing on the parking lot in front of the dorm.

This was college.

Let me reiterate: this was a timezone when you didn't have to worry about who was going to see you outside or snap a pic of you or worse snapchat something and then say that they didn't. You just went to the thing in the parking lot with the throng of other people who were like, can you believe that happened?, and talked about nothing in particular for hours and hours and wound up in someone else's car who was a friend of a firend of a friend from the other college, down the way, and they were driving too fast and there was someone passing around some kind of can of whipped cream.

These things were the way they were and somehow you wound up at IHOP because that was what happened in those days. There were no cute instagram-tailored shops that add food coloring to your avocado smashup (or whatever they call it in Australia in the 'arvo.' This seriously happened to me and I asked if they could take it back becasue I have a food allergy to food coloring. Which is not true but do I want to eat food coloring or do I want to eat food?)

So what did we do then... for food, oh, yeah. You just went to IHOP with these acquaintances and people from high school who were mad about Cobain and ate terrible pancakes and somehow it was 3AM and no one cared and then someone had the idea to drive to the beach. Yeah. Let's go to Wilmington. So now you know what state we were in, maybe.

[This would be the time of the article where you go, 'Maybe this person is on drugs.' Except, if you are from the era I'm talking about, then you know this is just how we used to talk.]

DICTION. That's just not what you had to worry about: what to write so that you sounded clever, as you wrote it, flexing your creative witty muscles and wriitng into the permanent sphere of the interwebs. Where there exists 'status anxiety' as I understand though I'm not an expert. And oh yeah, you wouldn't have to qualify everything all the time because who is an expert in anything really? I think those PhD people are the ones who are overspecalizing and forgetting that the more interesting things happen when you get out of the box and see what other people are talking about who do different things.

INTERNET. Don't get me started. Hell, we didn't even know that was coming. We just did what we did, writing our little stories by hand and in pencil, and if we were feeling espeically poetic, in cursive. I did this, stupidly, the other day. I wrote a giant thing in pencil and cursive and gave it to someone, as if it was 1992. For goodness sakes, this was a terrible idea, because, they look at you like you've got three heads. What is this? A kind of poem-letter. Who remembers letters? Not 'profiles' or instagram chats, or texts that sometimes go answered and sometimes don't. Sometimes they end in questions and sometimes they end in rants.

People writing in ALL CAPS and that's supposed to convey an emotion, I think. But hey. What if, we could pretend, let's say, that it's 1992, for real, and we just walk into the same place at the same time and someone confiscates our mobile phone (not forever, of course), and it turns into this thing where you and the other people who are just as confused but curious and intrugied are also gonna do the same thing and *show up*. To this. This thing we are gonna do, called 'Real Life.'

My gosh! In *real life*. Real life where you don't have to worry about what you're wearing because no one is gonna take your picture. And no one is gonna know who you are (or aren't) because this is not a blind date. That's not what we're doing. We're just making time and space as if it's 1991 or 92.

Maybe I'll bring my old Chili Peppers tapes. Maybe we'll make bead necklaces. Maybe we'll just write letters to the friends we haven't talked to since far, far too long. I'll bring some books. Like, actual books. And we can share passages from literature that we like. It doesn't have to be hard. This is just an invitation, an idea. If you're on for this, tell me. Just get a free ticket and we'll figure it out by email, which used to be 'high tech', mind you.

Email me, maybe.

'WHAT YOU GET'. Please don't ask me to make a bulleted list of what you will get because:

  • People who read bulleted point lists are interested in scanning, sure. I'm one of those people but you can't scan the above and really 'get' it.
  • Bullet point lists miss something that's important. Which has to do with play, inference, liveliness, mirth, and joie di vivre. Really.
  • Isn't it time we stop connecting on these platforms and start hanging out again at parks, in libraries where there are nice people also reading books and talking together in the designated areas? Or at cafes that aren't little offices?
  • Don't miss 'Real life.'

'Real life' is free.

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