Look at Yourself

Something interesting finally happened to your mundane, boring, bland life. Something you have photo evidence of. Something Instagram worthy. Something that proves you’ve developed yourself as a ‘human being’. Something worth showing off to your 300 friends, 298 of whom you’ve never met before. Maybe your friends are in it, but really what matters is that for once you don’t look too bad in the shot.

Look for the perfect filter for the photo.

Craft the perfect caption using all the AP or IB or A-Level or whatever-it-is English you spent the better part of two years of your life mastering. The voice has got to be just right, funny enough to not be boring, boring enough to not be a show-off, show-off-y enough to not look like a dinosaur to your followers. Squeeze out every last hashtag that has an inkling to do with the post.

Hover your finger over the little ‘send’ button shaped like a paper aero plane.

Ask yourself: “Is there a text message I haven’t replied to yet?”. Fully aware of the consequences of posting what’s on the screen: namely the opening of a flood gate of unwanted socializing.

Family, friends, clients, nemesis will know you’re alive, that you are ignoring their text messages not because of some urgent matters to attend to (or because you are busy doing everything else in your mundane life) and demand a reply.

Whatever you write will be picked apart by someone you don’t but must now care about, or you will receive little emoticons with hearts and thumbs ups that you have to somehow give meaning and reply to. You don’t want this, any of this.

You’ve successfully avoided texting them for weeks; you’ve dodged their voice calls. God forbit they try and video chat with you.

The screen goes black, a video call pops up. It’s a friend, not a close one, the normal kind; you’ve been ignoring her texts and voice messages for weeks now because you don’t know how to reply to them, or because you forgot to, or because of both and it just snowballed; her profile picture fills the screen, a green telephone bounces up and down. Your heart pounds louder than the ringtone.

Keep the fingers away from the screen just in case you answer the damn thing by accident. Feel the cold sweat on your forehead. Hands trembling. Voice calls scare the bajesus out of you like sunlight does to a vampire. You don’t know where to look, you don’t know what to say. Make up an excuse as to why now is not a good time.

It never is a good time.

Stare at the screen some more, your life depends on it now. Pray for the call to end. Breathe again, the friend gave up first.

Go back to your post, click the ‘x’ and discard the draft. The risk and responsibilities are far too great for the purpose of proving your life is meaningful and fun like everyone else’s. You decide the damage outweighs the satisfaction of a ‘like’.

Promise yourself to reply to everyone at some point in the future, knowing the point is ‘as far as possible’ from you, from today.

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