Ooh, I had to stop a very human habit this morning.
No, not that.
Being a hypocrite.
I was peacefully writing at my desk, a pot of pearl barley bubbling away happily in the kitchen…
Um, one moment please.
Okay, so I was peacefully writing at my desk with a pot of pearl barley bubbling away in the kitchen (that wasn’t burning), when I looked down to my horror and realized I had committed a whole paragraph to how annoying a lot of social media posts had become with the recent lockdown. My inner voice, which, given this is my internal monologue fluctuates wildly between Richard Burton and Gilbert Gottfried, reminded me not to get in the way of what other people are doing to feel happier about themselves during this strange time.
I understand that everyone has a different approach to social media. Personally, I really love the kind of things where people show me what they create. Music, artisanal plague masks (really), art and food seem to be the more common items on my own feed. This is a very narrow portion of what is normally the output on social media. However, a lot of what I have been seeing lately I could classify at best as noise. It makes sense, really, people are looking for something to do and some way to connect. As a result, every daily action, no matter how objectively trivial, is being given space online to be shared.
A strong argument exists that all social media is trivial, but let us leave those alligators out of the dog parlor for now.
My feed is being transformed into pictures of dogs and cats on couches doing nothing, time-lapses of people doing objectively boring things like cleaning a room or kicking a ball. There seems to be a new sub-culture built around posting videos of working out at home.
On that last note, the only person who would find those interesting is one university student in Stellenbosch.
And I get it. I honestly do. Our days have suddenly emptied leaving us alone with our thoughts. We are not only looking for things to do but being motivated to do them by some primal conscious understanding that we are not special and have nothing unique to share, but we will share it anyway to mask those feelings of unimportance. Validation, any kind of validation is the requisite drug of our modern times. These days, it is being consumed by us more painfully.
We all engage in these behaviors. On some level we need to that we may stay sane. Which is why, when greeted by the mundanity, the normalcy, the superficiality of what people are posting, it is better to be supportive than indifferent. And if you can’t be either; be silent. The sentiment that we are in this together has been expressed by better people than I, but at the end of the day, I feel the need to perhaps rephrase the need to swallow tongues and be supportive.
Especially my own.
Though, there is one thing that I believe is going to start happening…
See, for now, what people are posting appears to be fairly straight-forward, I am still a sane person, kind of material. I am wondering what is going to happen by week two.
How weird are some of us going to get?
Where once there was a time lapse of you building a puzzle, now… now there will be a live stream of your pink-nude self painting a mural with your faeces as your children stare in the background softly out of focus, your wild eyes sparkling as you stop for a break and light a cigarette made out of a shredded Daily Sun newspaper and couch foam. Next there will be the arts and crafts posts. Pictures and pictures of contraptions made out of pool tubing designed to trap the hapless finches that land on your veranda, whose blood you have come to think of as so sweet, especially when paired with the shaved hair of your eyebrows. There will be less circuit training, more Gary Busey-esque ranting at the cockroach army you are training in your laundry room. Your spouse has their own reserve of rats, all named and numbered, arming themselves for the great war which is about to settle the terms of your impending divorce. Your children have taken to Tik Tok, doing the Feral Dance to the theme of Jurassic Park played badly on out-of-tune recorders. Their rags, the remnants of the dishcloth you named Lucile, flit gently in the breeze as they primally circle the bonfire lit in your prep sink. You start posting tightly framed tutorials on Facebook, telling people how to swallow ping pong balls in such a way that they come back out intact. You have not bathed in days, your smell appearing on your video as a fine purple mist that the filter mistakes for a face, automatically putting a dog nose and ears on it as it wafts upward. You are convinced that you are the second coming of Marie Curie, starting a GoFundMe that you can explore the radioactive properties of fridge gas and whether huffing it makes you transparent. Instagram is for the government, so you must post pictures of your clean feet to be eligible for the exploding collars they are going to be handing out any day now…
I joke, but my generation allowed Ja Rule to happen so nothing is off the table.