“Truthfully, this is the fabric of all my fantasies: love shown not by a kiss or a wild look or a careful hand but by a willingness for research. I don’t dream of someone who understands me immediately, who seems to have known me my entire life, who says, I know me too. I want someone keen to learn my own strange organization, amazed at what’s revealed; someone who asks, and then what, and then what?
From The Giant’s House, Elizabeth McCracken
rest, so you can dream, so your imagination can run free into safer worlds that you are meant to bridge into this reality.
What’s left is the new aesthetic of lifelessness and void, a consumer culture of throwaway experiences that wash right over you like an Ambien. It’s made to be experienced without friction: seamless post-death entertainment from an empire ruled over by a sleepy, old man. “Avoiding friction,” the critic Rob Horning has noted, “becomes a kind of content in itself—‘readable books’; ‘listenable music’; ‘vibes’; ‘ambience,’ etc.” And this is in keeping with a generational preference for light demi-pleasures: bumps not lines; microdosing, not getting high; sugary milks made of oats; podcasts, not conversation; the simulated intimacy of ASMR. Each of life’s pleasures in small amounts.
Entry 51 (Being in public)
I like to be alone. But I don't really enjoy being alone, alone. I like to be alone in public, alone with others (alone together). Theres nothing very interesting to observe when I'm alone, alone.
I tell myself I'll go get a coffee as a treat for getting out of bed and off my phone. I've been awake since 7am and its 8:30 now. The coffee shop is a few blocks away from my house. I would describe it as millennial bourgeoisie. Once, in a moment of weakness, I bought the $159 Stagg EKG Electric Kettle there—that is the type of thing they offer to their customers. I take the long way from my house in order to smoke half a joint. A cat passes me. I feel like I'm in a video game and I tell my avatar to pet the cat. When I get to the main street I pass many dogs—they all have outfits on, they seem embarrassed and trapped. The coffee shop has a small line. I see someone new is being trained, they look trapped too. At the back counter that in corona-virus times seems reserved for employees or close friends of employees stands a man in an acteryx hat. He seems to have ordered a chaotic amount of things. His mask is off and he's talking to the veteran barista that is training the new barista. He is talking to the barista about the flavor notes of the coffee. He has a small spoon that he uses to scrape foam from the top of one of this multiple drinks. He talks loudly again about the flavor notes. I begin to realize that he is not an employee or a close friend of an employee, but rather an extreme coffee fan—but still; a regular customer. It feels way too early to be seeking conversations with strangers about coffee.
The veteran barista, maybe overwhelmed by the man and the morning rush line asks the man very politely if he could please go over there to the corner where other people are sitting very quietly looking off into space and drinking a single coffee beverage. The man is shocked that being an extreme coffee fan does not earn him the love of the veteran barista. The man says "Oh. Oh yeah man, sure sure." with his small spoon near his mouth hovering in the air. The barista says that the area he is in now is for employees only. The man gathers his things and multiple drinks. I watch him walk slowly and carefully, like a little child, so that he doesn't spill any of his multiple liquids. I avoid eye contact. He seems very trapped too.