I had this dream the other night: Picture the protagonist of some indie film as he drives in a car on a plain road in the middle of the nowhere. Either a cool new song by a not well known hip band is playing through the car’s speakers, or there’s an older song, at least 10 to 15 years old, equally hip and recognizable and slightly “ironic” and catchy is playing. The sun is low, the sky is dim. It’s either just after sunrise or just before sunset. The character is driving for a few moments before something happens…
He pulls over and stops the car by the side of the road. He gets out of the car, he walks around it, inspecting it for a moment. Did he stop the car or did something happen that caused him to pull over for safety’s sake? We don’t know. He sits in the street, his back against the driver’s side door. He begins to cry. He tries to cover his face as he surrenders to an emotion that rises up from within him and takes him over.
A short time later he’s standing, looking around. His eyes look worn, slightly red from the crying. He looks forward on down the road. That’s where he’s going. He looks back, down the road in the direction he just came from. They look identical. He’s confused for a moment. Is he going forward or backward? Had he gotten turned around at some point and was heading in the wrong direction or was he now at a moment of potentially getting himself turned around and could he now leave this place and head into the wrong direction?
This moment, right here, right now, was so important. It could mean everything about his future, and have a major effect on his past, on how he defines everything that has defined him, and he’s long since past all the road signs that could give him any hints. What will he do? Where will he go? What lead him to stop here and ponder all of this? He doesn’t know. For a moment or so, he doesn’t care. He pulls out his cell phone and uses it to check his email. Then he plays a game online and listens to some music on his Pandora app. The he watches keyboard cat videos or looks at pictures of Sad Keanu (now wearing a helmet).
With all the benefits of the internet, with the way it connects the whole wide world and brings us knowledge and the potential or understanding and stock quotes and pornography and enthusiasm, and for all of it’s negative components as well, this is also for what it’s for. The stupid shit. The mind numbing and the mundane and the ridiculous. It normalizes us in some regards. It can devour your time and occupy your thoughts and put a smile on a face where previously there was no hope for one.
My original intent for the direction of Counterforce in the month of July was something along those lines, but somewhere in all of that, it got away from me and it got fucked up. Or, I did. A member of my family fell incredibly ill, and looks to only be getting worse. I just didn’t have time put any thinking into the blog nor really any ability to organize it. I’ve spent most of my days and a good deal of my nights in the last few weeks in hospital rooms and waiting rooms completely disconnected from the world except for a phone that is smarter than I am.
I’m not sure what I had planned to do in this past month with the blog had none of this IRL trauma and drama come up, but whatever it was, I had high hopes for it. The internet is, of course, a world unto itself and we got our apocalyptic prayers answered when Prince announced that this month that this world was over. This was also the month in which this blog would’ve had it’s second birthday (this is the first ever post, and this is the post celebrating Counterforce’s first birthday, and this is another), as well as this nation. It’s also the month that started with my own birthday, a fact that I largely try to ignore.
What you’ve seen on the site in the past month is mostly old used up partial posts or little trinkets of curiosity that I found on the shelves of the internet and threw up onto the blog (vomiting will always be a good verb to describe a large amount of the content that lines the walls of the internet). I did this as people were sleeping or getting treatments around me and it gave me something to do when I felt powerless and confused. It was my one thing to do as part of a larger world, the only access to the world I wanted to have since I was trying to avoid everything (except for taking a break during two moments of stabilization to watch Inception and to watch the Mad Men premiere since August Bravo texted me the day before to ask if we were blogging about it).
I was tired of hearing doctor’s estimations of survival (of one’s “chances”) decreasing over time and tired of hearing the confused statements of a person heavily medicated. And I was tired of trying to make feel better as they were coming to try and make me feel better in my mire of ever increasing grief.
I want to thank my friends who tried to seek me out in this time and will probably continue to do so as this all continues. I want to thank the ones who tried and then respected that I might need some space and some quiet and I want to thank the ones who hit that wall and kept going, kept trying to reach me in some way. And I want to thank my self centered friends, both online and IRL, who either didn’t notice my absence or didn’t care. I appreciate the ones who, when they saw me pop up on gmail late one night, wanted to talk on gchat about some small, petty problem of theirs. They’re small, petty, terrible people. And really, that’s not so terrible. It’s actually kind of nice and I enjoyed focusing on other people’s stupid problems for a time because, well, other people’s problems are always easy, aren’t they? You hear someone’s sob story and you see how devastated and damaged they are because of it and you have that instant God-like feeling of, “That’s it? Oh, that’s easy. Here’s what you have to do…”
Basically, I want to thank everyone. For everything. In so many ways, the internet just makes us worse, doesn’t it? You always hear people – myself included – talking about how typing skills have seemingly gotten more fucked up due to internet/instant messaging. We become dumber in real life because we don’t always have wikipedia or an online dictionary just a touch away. The internet can screw with the way we interact with people in the real world, but sometimes, it can make us better. Or at least reveal aspects of ourselves that we had no clue about.
When I get out of this period, if I get out of it intact, I might need to reevaluate. Maybe I’ll be the same, but different, and hopefully better. Maybe I’ll just be different. Either way, I’m going to take a little more of a break than I have this past month. I’ll be in hospital rooms and waiting rooms again, riding this thing out and hoping for the best, and I’ll be reading the internet when I can. And I’ll post things every now and then and hopefully still be able to do Mad Men posts with August, but I guess we’ll see?
Three things before I go:
1. A shame about that thing with the date in Back To The Future, right? At least, fortunately, tomorrow is the wedding date from that old classic episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa marries a British guy (voiced by Mandy Patinkin) who, understandably, hates her family.
2. This quote:
“The Internet has made me very casual with a level of omniscience that was unthinkable a decade ago. I now wonder if God gets bored knowing the answer to everything.”
-Douglas Coupland, from here.
The internet seems nicer when it’s reduced to metaphors to describe it, to deconstruct it both as a place and a thing that has a kind of varied meaning in our lives. In the birthday post for Counterforce last year we talked about the blog as a kind of spaceship drifting through the wild dark abyss of the blogosphere, but I think I prefer to think of the internet more as a journey or a road.
On this road/journey, you start at one point and finish at another. Along the way you see things and experience things and you take a little of them with you and leave a lot of them behind. Only, in this journey, being that it’s the internet, nothing ever disappears. Nothing is ever left behind. Things just accumulate, as if the road is bending back on itself over and over again. Or crashing into itself. Think of a 20 car pile up on the interstate as a metaphor for your very public life on the interwebz. I’m glad that Inception finally came out and that I saw it because it’s shown me that, in this kind of hypothetical sci fi landscape mode of thinking that my brain usually slides into, the internet is both linear and, at times, operating on some kind of bizarre dream logic in which up is down, left is right, and colors have smells, and people can find having sex with just about anything as erotic as can be.
It’s a strange world out there, as the internet has shown me time and again, and I hope that never changes. Full on double rainbows for everyone. See you soon.