She tapped the screen and the tab closed. It wasn't enough, so she tapped the X in the top corner of the window and shut the browser down. Still not satisfied, she held the power button on the tablet until it pinged, letting her know that it now slept and dreamed of her future caresses.

She sighed. "A lot of people are making themselves depressed today."

I looked up from my sketching. The vague outline of a human hand, formed from lazy charcoal lines that made it look like it was under water, could wait. "What do you mean?"

"Let me clarify." She loved to clarify and I loved her for it. We'd agreed early on in our relationship that sweeping generalizations were the opiates of the masses, and if we were ever to keep our opinions sharp we'd do our best to keep them in the realm of specificity. "There are a lot of kind, socially responsible folks out there. People with good hearts, you know? I think that in some ways most of us have that, in our cores. That it's the badness that's an aberration, a deviation from the norm. As cool as it might be to play the asshole, being good contributes far more to our survival as a species than being bad. Especially now with the environment so badly damaged."

I nodded. It was too soon to speak.

"So there's all these good people out there. And some of them have money. And of those with money, some have educations and possess the basic skills needed to work a computer and get online. Set up social networking accounts and interface with each other.

"Now of this rather small subset of the entire population of the planet, which is by no means inconsiderable, there are those who possess the courage to publicly interact across these networks. And of that even smaller group, there are those who are willing to wage active war to get their points across and combat what they perceive to be ignorance."

"You're drawing smaller and smaller circles, love," I said.

She smiled and gave me a knowing look. "I wanted to clarify. The number is small, but in the way that our existence is insignificant on the timeline that is the age of the universe, you know?"

"I do."

"Good. So now that we're clear on who exactly I'm talking about, let me make my point. These people who are soldiers in the front lines of social responsibility, who have taken it upon themselves to combat ignorance, thrust themselves into the breech every time they open their social networking apps."

"How so?"

"If their networks are functioning as they should, and I would dare to claim that this is most of the time given today's ease of use, there's bound to be information that's relevant to the user's interests. Say for example you follow no one but visual artists, then you're bound to get an influx of information regarding visual art. If your network is comprised mostly of folks who love curling, then you're going to get the dirt related to that sport."

"So if your thing is, say, equality in the workplace, you're going to get that stream flowing by?"

"Exactly. And when there's news news. You know, items of such great importance that the courageous people who contribute to their social networks feel compelled to actively share and comment on them. That information spreads like wildfire."

"But where does this information really come from?" I asked. "Who's validating it? And what makes it important enough to share and spread?"

"Critical questions, dear. You wouldn't be thinking of applying that to anything that comes across the Internet, now, would you?"

"Well, I must. I mean, me. As an individual. To keep myself sane, to avoid any pitfalls that I perceive. To stop myself falling into those wells of depression that other people seem so ready to throw themselves into."

"And that is just one of the many reasons I love you," she said, and patted my hand. "Now then, back to your drawing."

2014.06.13 – 2023.02.16

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