My father can’t text. He’s figured out how to open text messages, but he can’t reply. Here’s an example of our text conversations. They’re not conversations. They’re monologues. All the entries are from me.
By the way, you’re looking at the nokia 743776B. Set to drop end of 2022, it features the world’s longest screen. It’s a prototype, a loyal customer thing. Anyway I text my pops in the knowledge he won’t respond. It’s like persisting with a girl who’s giving absolutely nothing back. But the difference is I know he’s read the text, I’m sure he’s happy about it – the one new message bleep is big for him – and I know if he wants, he’ll call me. Other than that I hit send and.. silence.
It’s one of those rare moments in interaction when you want for nothing back. Saying something to somebody without any need for reciprocation. Like speaking to someone who’s asleep. Not worrying about or expecting a response is a peaceful state of being. The kind of peace you might find watching a sunset, without feeling the need to instagram it and miss the rest of the sunset you’re watching because you’re seeing who’s liked the picture you’ve posted of the sunset you’re in the middle of that you’re missing.
This connectivity means that unlike any other time before us, we’re continuously at the behest of a response to what we’ve written or posted or texted. The bible said let us not give so as to receive. But we all want reciprocation. Because when you say something you expect an answer. Those who don’t are either talking to themselves, or mad, and both.
Is something’s worth only determined by how it’s received? Example, what’s the point of this blog. I thought about it at the end of last year, and concluded dropthebeatonit was just an exercise in narcissism. I stopped writing it for six months. I had the world’s coolest girlfriend and I didn’t really need the validation. Now I’m single and I need the validation. But how is this any more than a glorified status update. From the validation it gets I’d say it’s less. If it wasn’t for my number one fangirl this would get as much fanfare as I get for clogging up my father’s inbox.
But my man Conrad wrote six words, and raised his hand for a 60-man cyber fist-bump.
Not that what he said about Halloween wasn’t illuminating. But if something i wrote got sixty likes I think I’d stop speaking to all my friends and and get a bronze water feature in my flat with a poignant life-mantra emblazoned across it in motherfucking neon.
And that’s what social media platforms enable. A hoard of people who don’t write just to write, but who write to be read. Blogs mean somebody can write something however braindead and be almost assured that ten people will read it. Which keeps them writing. If I was Pride & Prejudice crew I’m not sure I’d be writing this kind of stuff down in my diary with a quill, scratching down theories on mate’s mums and wearing trousers around your nipples (and halloween) to pour over later by candlelight during thunderstorms.
Narcissism and needing validation to one side, writing this stuff has benefited me in an unforeseen way. It made me practise writing almost everyday for four years, to the point where now words give me a boner. I’ve started writing shit that I don’t blog that’s a bit more meaningful, that I write just for me. That isn’t reliant on a like button. And hasn’t the like button passed from being a tool for showing approval to a self-purpose tool for people to click on to be seen to be liking something anyway.
Paradoxically enough, to bring this whole thing back on itself – much like sending my pops a text message – blogging is appealing because it’s a serve into an empty court. The only reciprocation I expect from this is a torrent of abuse in the comments section from a prehistoric human who lives on a lawnmower in Tonbridge Wells with a side-line in hardcore porn who’ll attach a link to Lionel Ritchie and express a desire to throw a snickers at my forehead.
I can’t ask for more than that.