Thursday, November 21, 2013

Death of the Cool

I was reading today that the Federal Aviation Administration is thinking of allowing passengers to make phone calls during flights.  Not just play Words with Friends or read some spreadsheet, but to actually call your bros and tell them you are 6 miles above them.  And with as quiet as the last plane cabin I was in, callers will be yelling more loudly than if they were Texas A & M’s 12th man.

Why can’t this one moment be a place where we aren’t obsessed with living our reality show in front of everyone else?  Flying has already become something that wouldn’t be recognized by passengers 50 years ago.  Flying was something that you may not do in your life, and if you did, you were big shit.  Lots of room (because fewer passengers means fewer seats), delicious libations: hell, you could even smoke.  It was Mad Men in the sky.  Now you pay for the privilege of having TSA look up your ass with a flashlight, throw half your valuables away like you are boot camp, and then crowd yourself onto an overcrowded plane where people can yak without mercy.  Planes, ladies and gentlemen, have become buses.

There is not one person walking this earth that fathoms that they won’t be here forever, even when they know they won’t.  I said earlier that everyone is starring in their own reality show, and I truly believe we are.  Most people can’t get a show on television (although they green light some real detritus), but with Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram and whatever else just was invented by a  19 year old while I wrote that sentence, every person with Internet access can create multiple platforms to show their lives to their audience.  And that is what everyone else is becoming: our audiences.  You have followers on Twitter, a ’la Jim Jones.  People you have never met are your friends on Facebook. Everyone has an outlet to show what is unique about you, and why others should join in and program the DVR of their life to tape your show.  Even this site, it is a platform for me to shout out my angst into the cold winds of the internets. 

For a good long time, I refused to be involved in social media.  I acquiesced and wrote on a blog with my friends, and then after we had to do adult things I stopped.  I got on Twitter because it seemed like an ongoing conversation, and as someone who works in politics, it is also a newsfeed.  And I started this site because I wanted to find like-minded souls (who may be able to employ me when I was out of work).  I had to create a brand, because we are all brands.  You don’t get jobs; you sell an employer on your brand.  And a single person, trying to be a brand, is utterly fucking exhausting.

Again, I am not against progress.  I am not a luddite (and besides, the sales of turntables and vinyl I am attributing to people loving my speed of music, not hipsters), but I am someone who does not want to spend every precious second trapped in the screen, worrying about my responses to questions, having to through every move in life because it will not play well in the final cutting room version of my life.
I want to love hard, work hard, sleep hard, dream hard (hat tip to Webb Wilder).  I want to know how something/someone smells.  I want the easiness that comes with being comfortable in your skin.  I want tangible experiences, and I think at the heart of everyone, they do, too.

When someone has a vice, it is almost always because something is too large and scary to deal with or we want to be something we aren’t, so we mask it with drinking, drugs, sleeping around, slashing and burning on the Internet-anything that will keep us from looking inside at the movie that is actually continually running in our soul-the documentary of your experiences and your feelings.  I believe in a heaven, and I picture that heaven as a huge sun dappled field next to a lazy river.  And we all just hang out in the field, talking and hanging out, like the largest picnic in the galaxy.  In that heaven, we look at each other-and this is a possibly for us all-no savings of money required.

I will end this rant (get off my lawn!).  Just for the love of all that is decent, let’s reserve something that is not assholed up, even if it’s just a plane ride.