The Internet Makes Me Feel Sad

This post was kind of embarrassing to write and makes me sound like a total loser, so you can’t judge me, okay? Who are we kidding, you’ll judge me. IT’S WHAT WE HUMANS DO.

Every time I go online, I am overwhelmed with a constant, low-grade social anxiety. This anxiety stays with me for a while, even after I shut off my computer. I don’t like it. It’s not fun to feel that way. And the fact that this anxiety is so internet-specific, guaranteed to hit me the minute I open Facebook, worries me.

It worries me because I wouldn’t normally describe myself as a nervous, insecure person, but the internet turns me into a serious basket case. In real life, I am oft compared to Fabio (flowing locks, inexplicable allure, bronzed muscular thighs), but hunched over a computer, I turn into Edward Scissorhands-meets-Igor (stay with me here). I don’t understand why. I think there’s something deeply troublesome about the internet. It stresses me out, it ruins my mood, it makes me feel irrationally worried, it gives me this pervasive nameless fear. And I don’t get it, because there are pictures of baby animals on the internet and everyone is constantly uploading more within seconds of their birth. Why, then, do I feel sad and worried, instead of overwhelmed with a motherly mammalian love?

 Email: The thought of checking my email upsets me. For whatever irrational reason, I always expect to find something terrible in my inbox. Someone will be angry with me. Someone will have an irritating assignment that they want me to complete TODAY. Someone will tell me No. Someone will send a passive-aggressive response. WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY?! I’m not a divorce lawyer or the CEO of BP. Who am I so afraid of? And yet I dread the sight of Gmail.

McSweeney’s: Apparently hates me. #whatever #overu2

 Facebook: holy shit. I think we’ve all experienced just how unutterably disturbing Facebook can be, and yet none of us can pinpoint why it’s so creepy. I’ve read articles that say Facebook ruins our moods because we see how happy and perfect everyone’s (falsified) lives look, and so we feel jealous. I don’t think that’s it, at least not for me. Unless you just had lunch with Marquez, I don’t usually look at your baby shower pix and think DEAR LORD WHEN WILL IT BE MY TURN?! Facebook makes me feel something much more pitiful and embarrassing—I feel insecure. I feel left out. I feel like Facebook is this buzzing world of people who are—what?! Actively ignoring me? Talking to everyone else but me? Reading NYT articles that I haven’t read yet?!? Please understand what I’m saying here: these feelings are DEEPLY IRRATIONAL. I’ll be the first to admit that. But they are also DEEPLY REAL. I feel them, I feel them vividly, every time I go online I feel them. I feel them physically. Something about the internet upsets something in my psyche, and I want to get away from it.

But what is it? I don’t know! Is the sense that the internet is one massive hive mind and we’re the only ones who are left out? Is it the glossy pictures? Does the strange back-lighting of the screen trigger something weirdly neurological? Is it information overload? Is it a general sense of instability—knowing that all your photos and emails and documents could be deleted and/or hacked? Is the internet a terrifying country with a million little rulers and we people, accustomed to monarchy and dividing lines, can’t deal with its fluid boundaries? Can a scientist please chime in? Maybe it’s a vague combination of everything. All I know is that it makes me anxious—and working under a vague, purposeless anxiety is not a good way to live. (Though to be fair, I do love looking up gruesome drug-related complications on Wikipedia, and without the internet, I’d have to actually melt heroin in a spoon to know what it smells like.)

 The only reason I’m saying this here (ON THE INTERNET, hey all-knowing Internet) is that maybe you feel that way, too, and haven’t been able to put a name to the feeling, and I just wanted to go first, so I can look like the awkward social loser, and not you. Yr welcome my friend. I know I’m sort of acting like a grandpa/conspiracy theorist. But it creeps me out, this cryptic worry, this low-grade fear. Maybe THIS is the mystery at the center of 2666, the nameless dread that Bolaño will never share with us. The internet. That’s the evil. That’s what’s killing the girls in Santa Teresa. Okay, sorry, this entire post was just an excuse to remind you all that I’ve read 2666. REMEMBER HOW I READ 2666!!!??!!! And guess what, friends? The internet didn’t teach me how to read. The internet didn’t give me impeccable literary taste. The internet only gave me directions to the bookstore. And once I got to the bookstore, I had to find the book myself. It wasn’t hard to find because it’s so big. I turned right at the Iliad and left at Infinite Jest and there it was. AND I READ THE WHOLE THING, MOM!!!!

Really Cool Artist #2: Beth Hoeckel

I gotta say: I’m not a stroll-through-the-Art-Institute-for-hours kind of girl. I like very specific things and I don’t like realism (shocker) and I would rather steal my favorite paintings and bring them home with me then wander past the Degas, if you know what I mean (SORRY DEGAS, YOU CREEPER). The art I like is eerie, art that seems to possess its own surreal, dark will. So I’m obv obsessed with Baltimore-based visual artist Beth Hoeckel’s strange planets, moon-gazing housewives, and beautiful girls with their faces obscured by paint.

There’s something so haunting about her mysterious skies and odd juxtapositions:  she mixes homey objects (afghans, photos of housewives that could be your grandma) with things that are oversized, cosmic, too close, and/or disembodied. She expresses the workings of the imagination in such a literal way–it’s like you’ve gone time-traveling and you’re in a different universe but your mom is still cooking mac-and-cheese in the kitchen.

Were you drawn to art as a young girl? Do you remember some of your earliest creations?

Yes, big time! I still have my sketchbook from preschool: a spiral notebook with a Cabbage Patch kid on the cover. It’s filled with drawings of people swimming and people with moose antlers.

What about the juxtaposition of people gazing into space is so inspiring for you?

When I was younger, if I couldn’t sleep, I would gaze at the moon through my bedroom window. I would sit in the windowsill, moonbathing in its mysterious luminescence.

Is there a reason you avoid faces?  It gives the pieces a very cool, voyeuristic feel.

It’s a personal preference, but I believe it creates an air of mystery. A blatant facial expression has a tendency to make a piece too literal for me.

You spent a decade abroad—how did that influence your art?

Traveling influences our lives in so many ways. I think it’s important to be worldly and informed. Output requires input.

Three things that really inspire you:

This changes frequently! 3 things that really inspired me today were handwriting (penmanship), opaque black, and tumultuous skies.

Word on the street is that you like odd color combinations—what’s a weird one that you’re obsessed with right now?

Right now I’m liking dark rust orange + faded fluorescent pink. Pale mint green + ‘dirty’ mustard yellow. Bright (but light) aqua/turquoise + deep, rich (but not dark) carmine red.

(If you missed it: Really Cool Artist #1: Crowned Bird)

Recipes From an Overeager Young Chef Who Hasn’t Been to Cooking School

Greek Yogurt Drizzled with Honey

Mix a spoonful of honey with a cup of yogurt!!

Caprese Salad

Put tomatoes and mozzarella on a plate and sprinkle with basil!!!

Spaghetti al Traditionalli (Traditional Italian Spaghetti)

Boil water, put in spaghetti, boil for ten minutes or until al dente. Drain and add tomato sauce!!!!!!!!!!

Buttered Toast

Butter toast!

Milky Cereal—A Breakfast Treat

Fill a bowl of cereal with milk!! NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST, DELICIOUS ANYTIME!

 

Tired Jokes

Some things just aren’t very funny any more. For example:

  1. Jokes about white people getting artsy/Zen tattoos of Chinese symbol tattoos that actually mean something gross/dirty in Chinese. E.g., Sally thinks she’s getting the symbol for “clarity” tattooed on her thigh, but it actually means “pea soup.”
  2. Jokes about hipsters involving cliché hipster signifiers (handlebar mustaches, bikes). To make a funny joke about hipsters, it has to be reeeeally out there and/or specific. May I remind you of this brilliant quote from my dear friend Joanna?: “I didn’t think he could get any more hipster, but then he drank a Rolling Rock and a man sat on his lap.”
  3. Parodies of hyper, caffeinated women who talk really fast. Caffeine addiction is a real problem. I have an addict friend and let me tell you, it is really hard to witness her struggle. Separate her from her morning coffee and the only one laughing will be her defense lawyer, if you catch my drift.
  4. When rappers say obviously dirty things and follow it with “if you know what I mean.” I’m looking at you, Pitbull. All the women get down, if you know what I mean? YES, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. You foul little man.
  5. When peeps get mad because their internet is slow. EVERYONE’S INTERNET IS SLOW. Note: not technically a joke.
  6. When peeps punch you in the face. It’s like, hellooooo that’s not funny that actually hurt!
  7. Self-conscious costume jewelry. Omg ur such a risk-taker.
  8. Slogans.
  9. Jokes about Twilight being awful. BUT I CAN’T STOP MAKING THEM!
  10. When ppl can’t win the argument so they reference something really obscure and give a tinny little laugh. Ugh.
  11. Reminiscing about inside jokes/good times on Facebook, e.g.: Summer 2011 at the lake house, baby! “Juice” on the beach, tipping cows, SKINNYDIPPING!!!, “egg head” competitions, Jersey Shore marathons, “mixology lessons.” I WILL ALWAYS LUV U cc. Karla Marx, Freddie Chopin, and Gregor “Fuckin’ Cockroach” Samsa!!

Please help me add to this list! After all, is anything really fresh in this day and age? No. There is nothing new under the sun. And if you doubt me, just try ordering something feat. vegetables at any chain restaurant.