I was going to write about the bombings. The one that killed the kid was three blocks away from us, placed on a doorstep randomly—maybe, who knows but the shitty white boy who blew himself up. It was close to home but it’s not my pain, though we joined the memorial procession at the end of the block, the slow drum dirge saging of the neighborhood to pass his house and pray, if you believe that.
Burnt sage cleanses. God has a say.
I was going to write about the shooting. Which one!? The one where the children took to the stage and shamed Congress and all of adultdom for continuing to screw this up. Been a generation, now. I was in Government with Mr. Tefft who had us busy working quietly so he could turn the A/V cart away from our witnessing, white-knuckling the base, grinding his teeth, contorting his already craggy face. At every oblique opportunity he would tell you he was military, Vietnam I think (the memories fade). Whatever was on the TV was very wrong, it was torturing him, “What’s happening?” I ventured for the class. “Mr. Tefft, what’s going on?”
“SHUT UP,” he snapped, not taking his eyes from the screen. He was shaking, mind racing with what he’d do to those pukes, how he’d murder and rage, at the very least foil their destruction no fuck it he would rip them apart with his hands and teeth, make hamburger meat of their teenage hearts.
But we were safe and sound and stuck in North Dakota.
He’d never make it in time to Columbine to be a hero.
It didn’t occur to me and my friends to do anything. Why would we, we were kids. The grownups will take care of this. Had I been a different kind of young woman, I’d have children now in senior high, drilling for certain death and it kills me. That we still haven’t done anything. That now I’m the adult, hand-wringing.
I was going to write about the warning I got from Google that I’m running out of storage. Naturally they want me to pay. My 17 gigs are mostly chewed up in Gmail, 14 years of hey how ya doing, weekend plans and scheming dreams, photos, songs, recipes, concert tickets, itinerates, flirtations and confessions and notes to self, stop beating yourself up. Remember to breathe.
I just spent over an hour looking for a decade-old photo of a long-gone laptop with the screensaver crawling b r e a t h e, wouldn’t that have been sweet? an inside joke only for me, a thread of continuity between then’s now and now’s now, my long history of trying to live in the present, my cute attempts of attention tied up in technology.
There are things I will never recover. There are things I shouldn’t keep.
How much would you give to hold onto the past?
How much am I already paying.
“[According to Norbert Wiener in the 50s], one can imagine a global computer system where everybody has devices on them all the time and the devices are giving them feedback based on what they did, and the whole population is subject to a degree of behavior modification and such a society would be insane, could not survive, could not face its problems. But this is only a thought experiment, and such a future is technologically infeasible.[/Norbert]
And yet of course it is what we have created.
What my friends and I desperately wanted was exactly the opposite of that, we wanted a world of great creativity where individuals would find themselves and surprise everybody with brilliance. It was clear though that computers could go either way, and the thing is, it seems like we lost that war, you know? It’s kind of the tragedy of my generation. So here we are, and now, what we’re trying to do is figure out how to unravel our mistakes.”
I was going to post this photo though it doesn’t really fit.
I was going to post this photo and not say anything about it.