< breaking: young adults turn to astrology

08/21/18 (02:13)

It looks like Mitski's Be the Cowboy is the album of my summer and its increasing lateness, which I metaphorize as the tired skin of an old party balloon. Maybe the party didn’t go as planned, but the balloon is worn out, had a good time, is taking a breather. Navy-blue turned black. Like the balloon summer seems to persist until thrown away, wrinkled, dare-I-say genital, taking up less space as time goes on. As it gets colder and the sunlight further oblique. I do not know if people talk to balloons; they seem to want to talk to me about their worries, my appearing to them (I guess) as an absorptive, spongy presence: ripe for idea bounces. If someone needs to yell at me I can bend over like junegrass in the wind, which is probably what people want. I think. No one wants to kill or injure with their words, but they would like to see them have an effect: to justify or affirm their having been spoken.

So I have spent my time listening to my roommates, co-workers, and family talk at me: talk about their life, talk about how hard it is to talk about their life, talk about what other people say. Small talk, shit talk, talking the talk. And so it is unfair that I am so bad at providing the tough or well-formed responses, communicative substance or oomph, that transmute a listener to a ‘friend’ or ‘companion’: terminology that implies some special permission or prerogative to push against another’s boundaries or insecurities for the purpose of their overarching personal health. I cannot, in a phrase, dole out ‘tough love’ very well at all, I think. ‘Tough love’ is like a Trader Joe’s’ take on constructive reciprocated dialogue. Something we do want, but when we taste it we aren’t enthused. Maybe ‘tough love’ is a step towards giving people high calorie, name-brand help and support and attention.

I have been able to write, to read, and to eat, drink, and sleep. Nothing is blocked or undone. That does not mean the threat of my losing the ability to do things doesn’t loom large or approach, in the rearview mirror of my mind. It is hard to complain about: everyone might understand that nausea is often much worse than the vomiting it might precede, but it is harder to convince someone that fear or nausea or the critical moment when one thinks nausea might be developing or commencing are in turn worse than the nausea. I risk mythologizing my own problems. I risk making language the root of my problems: tying knots with my sentences that trip me up inside (and then outside) because I wanted to feel clever saying them. It is a ridiculous problem.

I want to talk about the new Matt Groening show, which is bad, elaborate, and anachronistic. I would like to discuss the increasing number of horror-genre compendiums in NPR’s Arts and Life subsection. I want to discuss my new pine-scented candle, and the things my roommates say about wanting to move to arid places. I want to discuss New Yorker pieces, despite sure remonstrance. There is a big sense I have of connection or belonging in all this rich profuse late-capitalistic wood-chips and spices, this potpourri of medium-scale media: in paying attention to that which, with its creator or manufacturer obscured, necessarily takes on life or persona of its own. I try to pay attention—everyone is trying to (everyone very easily can) pay attention, and be soothed.

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