Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I'm safe up high, nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain inside, you're my protection
But how do I feel this good sober?
    --Pink, Sober

She slapped the keys on the table and sat on the edge of the couch. She didn't take off her shoes.

City sounds sighed on the street below. A half-hearted horn. A distant siren. Work smeared on her like grease from a hot, humid day.

Her heels spiked into the carpet, and her toes swayed. The silence was too much. The television, too little. She flipped open her phone full of old messages. Nothing new.

She checked her blog. Two new comments. She devoured those, but frowned at the waning traffic.

For Twitter and Facebook, she dropped her shoes by the coffee table. Her feet rubbed away each other's ache.

At nine o'clock, she stopped circling the same used-up slices of cyberspace.

At nine thirty, she made her herself stop eating.

At ten she called a friend but got voicemail.

At ten thirty, she checked the computer again.

At eleven she drifted to music, dark with a quiet bleed.

Over the city, the always-glow of orange sickened the starless sky. Electricity sparkled, orange too, as her emails paced at the doors of sunny time zones more than a world away.


Karen said...

What a sad description of one of us!! I think sometimes we've traded real friendships/relationships for these no less real, but certainly altered ones. Safety, you think?

I prefer to think that my life has been enhanced and my mind has been opened. Friends? I'll take my real and imaginary both.

Shadow said...

a restless soul...

the walking man said...

How did we ever accomplish interpersonal communication 20 years ago?

Aniket Thakkar said...

Echo to Karen.

Now its hard for me to imagine a content life without either of them.

It really does feel like OUR story. Though I've heavily cut down on Facebook and Twitter.

Tongue-fu Lady said...

it looks like one story to know us all :(

PixieDust said...

I know her... apart from how vividly and sadly you've brought her to life...

As always, your writing greatly moves me and makes me stop and think.


Catherine Vibert said...

It's a creepy existence isn't it? I think about the computer connections a lot, and how they are more than what we are seeing as far as personal gratification. It's something that I think will be extremely significant as to whether we survive or not in this world. The ability to communicate instantly with practically everyone you know and have ever known, and globally. Think about what that really means, it is one powerful tool! However it has such a very dark side too, and is completely addictive. Too easy to get so absorbed in it that you lose track of the rest of your life. I think that will become quite an issue over time I believe. It will be very interesting to watch.

Oh, nice vignette. My favorite part was making herself stop eating. :-) I can relate to that.

Anonymous said...

To All: For the record, I do believe that the power of the internet to reach across distances and connect minds is amazing and precious. It far outweighs the "dangers." But yes, there can be addictions. You can get lost or dive too deep. This vignette was a foray into that darker side.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I think the connections are real. How could they be otherwise? Minds are our most important part, right? :)

Shadow, very much so. She's running, and she doesn't know it.

Walking Man, we didn't. We were smaller then.

Aniket, I don't think we should give ground on either of them.

Tongue-fu Lady, we all know where the darkness lives, I think.

PixieDust, maybe you've seen her from a distance. I doubt you've sat long with her and gotten swallowed in her darkness. :)

Catvibe, you said it excellently! I've thought quite a bit about how this kind of brain to brain communication is part of our evolution as a species. It may be bumpy, but I think we're going to be just fine.

Terri said...

Me? I think I'm in one of those sunny time zones more than a world away, now :-) I still haven't gotten used to the rest of the world being asleep while we're enjoying our beautiful blue skies over here.

Margaret said...

This could be any of us. It's frightening how the internet has taken over our lives.

But a life without it - unimaginable!

We have to be strong enough to know when it's enough and not get lost in cyberspace. The real world is just too beautiful to exchange it with the virtual world.

It's a matter of finding the right balance between the two.

the walking man said...

Jason...i have a young friend who went in for surgery yesterday. A pretty nasty affair that took three hours. When they finally moved her to a room after recovery we walked in and there she was on the cell phone that never stopped ringing.

Half way through a conversation she would nod off from the meds...funny as hell but sad.

I'm just sayin....

Mona said...


Story of my life!

"City sounds sighed on the street below. A half-hearted horn."

Love the alliteration, specially the onomatopoeia in the first sentence!

The last stanza is classic beauty!

Love this post Jason

SzélsőFa said...

This is a deeply sad sort-of-vicious circle, or rather, it can be one.

Rohan said...

one of us! u cant avoid it and living with it takes us away from so much more...though i agree with u you Jason that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages...

Anonymous said...

Terri, you're totally right!! I hope you stay primed for sunshine duty. We need you!

Margaret, I'm with you. There is no reason why we can't have balance.

Walking Man, oh my. I'm really happy that she's doing well. But step away from the cell phone.... Too funny.

Mona, thank you for the compliments on those passages. :) I wanted that language to really reach out and drive the moment home.

Szelsofa, even if there's a foray into those depths, I think most people climb back up to find their balance.

Rohan, sometimes there seems to be an idyllic sense that we were so engaged and personable before the internet. I think we have unduly rosy memories. ;)

Laurel said...

This is bleak and lonely. I love the description of the city lights and her physical state. She's exhausted and alone, but still seeking connection with humanity.

Thoughtful vignette.

Vesper said...

Such is life for many... I wonder if it's the future for all...

Bebo said...

JE: I love this line:

the always-glow of orange sickened the starless sky

perfect description!

Anonymous said...

Laurel, she still has solid hope.

Vesper, I trust that our future is brighter.

Bebo, thank you! I really wanted that line to stick.