“I just feel profoundly exhausted, you know? Like, I look at this digital morass of egos and monsters and wonder if I was ever young enough to be half as prolific as some of these creatures.” My thumb flicks up, again and again and again and it will never stop unless something intervenes. The content that I’m scrolling through is a chaos of color and voice and it is quite endless.

“You’re feeling your age,” she said, and snapped her bubblegum at me. “It’s natural.”

“Is it, though?” I asked. “Did my father have to deal with this? Did his?”

“I think your ‘dealing with it’ is largely by choice, don’t you?” she asked, and snatched the phone from my hand. My thumb made one final scrabbling drag and I watched a kaleidoscope of creative detritus scroll away. She locked the device with a snap and dropped it into her purse and she might as well have thrown it into a black hole, or a snake pit, for there was as much chance of me visiting the interiors of those places as there was the insides of her sacred woman-sack.

“You’re right,” I said, already feeling the pangs of withdrawal. I’d been close to something there, like that hacker from that pop-philosophy movie who was searching for echoes of another world inside his computer. I was looking for my Morpheus to come and wake me up, to invite me to follow his rabbit, to maybe get a kiss from a Trinity.

“It’s all in how you look at it, old man,” she said and stood up, her chunky heels clopping on the porch steps like a horse’s hooves. “You’re overwhelmed because it’s overwhelming, and you’re on the receiving end of it. Those people you think are the kings and queens of the media age, they’re not. They’re just good at making stuff and delivering it. You think they’ve somehow got more of a handle on things than you do? Don’t sell yourself short. No amount of plucky exuberance or charismatic self-deprecation can replace the wisdom of your years.” She poked me in the chest with a candy-coated fingernail and dragged me to my feet. “Come on. Let’s get a coffee and talk about how the kids of today don’t know shit.”

2014.11.20 – 2023.06.24

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