Attention Span Therapy

Recovering from the traumatic brain injury of social media

So Mother,

I heard you had been seen the other day. I heard it from a young boy who I thought had fancy teeth, but who professed to being straight despite my best devices. Perhaps he really was. Mother I won't bore you with the psychiatry lesson, but I will convey that my therapist told me coming out to you repeatedly was good for my self-esteem.

But, Mother, we're losing the point, that I heard it from him, this boy, that you were standing on the sidewalk this early afternoon, and it was sunny, the sort of sunny that we like in this town, that we flock to here because this is the call that has brought us all: gay, straight, functional, blocked, to this fair city, and here it is enshrined in a particular color of sunlight.

I digress. Mother, this boy, he says he was out doing errands on his bicycle, and he had just picked up a new bottle of conditioner from Walgreen's, thinking to himself that he wished he didn't have to buy another bottle before he moved in with his girlfriend, because then they would buy one together.

Or maybe not? Because hadn't she said that she'd read some study where they proved that when you used the same beauty products you desired your partners less sexually.

He had bought the conditioner anyways, because his hair got fuzzy if he didn't, and he hoped that this was all just poppycock, and right now, certainly, they weren't having any problems sexually. They were more than fine. A way he'd never been. Satisfied.

And this satisfied boy had hopped on his bike thereafter moving back...


So I just quick calculated, and I only have to work until I’m 147 for my federal benefits to match my current income.

The density of Washington DC. The avenues of backlogged traffic whipped past on bikes. Riding back to the hotel in an Uber, we pass a gang of high-school aged Asian kids congregating in front of a boba tea bar, their scooters strewn across a few parking spots in a way I find both poetic and threatening. The girls wearing the boys’ large, slick windbreakers, the boys in sleeveless shirts huddling close together, smoking cigarettes.

Make America Shit its Pants at all the Immigrants while simultaneously creating a strong populist movement driving an economic windfall so Great it will sweep us up in a renewed golden age to be enjoyed by all and easily forgotten again by many (particularly white folks and rich folks) when it comes time for us return to the xenophobic fever dream we can’t ever seem to quit Again.

…You see, bumper sticker slogans really aren’t my thing.

Forgot how in Cincinnati everyone looks like they’re dressed to play a quick round of golf should the opportunity come up.

The guitarist’s fingers moved over the fretboard like a dancing leprechaun; in an inverse relationship with his jaw which was set, though not clenched, in concentration. And the music, oh was it grand, and it washed over us all like fairie bells, transporting us to the eternal moonlit grove where the epochal memory of having danced to songs like these is buried so deep it’s nearly evolutionary at this point. We exhibit a shared joyfulness of being alive with every animal twitching as if stung by the sudden bite of a shock of electricity, every multicellular organism whipping its flagella to a rhythm its own and not its own at the same time.

I didn’t realize until this year that Rudolph the red nose reindeer’s girlfriend’s name is Clarice, and now I just can’t get that out of my head.

I’m out of ideas, he said, After coming up with one genuinely good one, ten years back, And not remembering that it had been proceeded by so many Far worse Than the one that he was right now looking at in front of him on a napkin, and considering throwing away.

A stray, blue balloon drifts stealthily by, passing the door to my neighbor’s garage, a gash in the otherwise undifferentiated suburban landscape.

It moves fast as if seeking its target, and I do not see it for some seconds afterwards.

Then, it drifts slowly back into view, bobbing listlessly in front of the garage as if it has forgotten the task with which it crossed with such bravado only moments before and it is ashamed.

I wish the balloon well, as I know its days are numbered.

An alternate present, where the timing on stoplights is driven by a platform much like Google's targeted advertising platform, allowing the rich to auto-pay for priority. And so commuting becomes a game of following behind a rich person, slip-streaming the whale through the intersection.

In response, the rich start traveling in caravans, both because they feel unsafe, and because if they are going to be paying for 30 seconds of priority traffic time then they are going to damn well use all 30 seconds of priority traffic time.

You can tell it's a caravan because they're usually all using the same vehicle. Rows and rows of black SUVs.

In due time these, too, are compromised by traveling bands of rogue commuters, a loose coalition of Uber Eats runners, Task Rabbiteers, and the occasional person who still has to physically commute into the office. The caravan admins are won over with offers of food or bills or sex. What's a small wagon here or there in a train of 18+ vehicles? So long as the train keeps rolling.