I’m pretty good at writing posts when people die. This one is different because I don’t want to say much about Heather. I want to say this other thing instead, I guess.
Let’s ignore technological reality and feasibility for a minute and just magic wand our way into a different way of living that I fantasise about, and have for a long time: I want to filter things out.
I heard, growing up in Maryland, that there was a law against billboards. Maybe it was only the beltway, or maybe it was never true. But it stuck with me. When I drove over the Mason-Dixon Line, everything got uglier. Virginia is a beautiful state but the billboards are everywhere. Then you reach North Carolina, and it’s the same deal. Same if you drive north, all the way from Philly to Portland. Billboards are everywhere, a part of the interstate experience. But not in Maryland. At least that’s what I was told.
Looking at all those billboards, I wondered if there was some way to just see flowers instead. Or just a solid colour. Anything other than — this is where I should come up with some great turn of phrase describing exactly how tacky and bad the signs are, but you know what, fuck you because I don’t care — anything other than that. I just wanted to wash the words away somehow. The whole thing felt rude to me.
The problem is I need that magic filter for everything, because that same ugly yelling feeling I got from the signs now seeps in from everywhere. A text from a friend, a post online, a podcast, an overheard snatch of someone’s conversation. There’s a level of judgement and self righteousness that’s just everywhere, and it’s getting worse. It’s not just from the Trump supporters, or the crunchy vegans, or the idealistic tech folks, or the poets, or the KGATLW fans, or the screen averse or the Very Online. It’s just humanity. All of us. We all believe in everything way the fuck too much. And we take that caring, and we fashion it into a weapon, and we attack everything that we’ve decided is wrong.
And I’m tired of it.
You probably want some examples. I don’t want to share examples. But in general terms, everyone has Great Taste and is a Perfect Driver and is Really Good At Spotting Bullshit and Is Never Wrong and Knows Who the Enemy Is and Wants To Tell Me About It and I’m done. I don’t care. Tell it to someone else. Someone else who has space to hear it. Count me out.
Because I need less, please. So did Heather. And so do you.