The Power Lines

There was once just one. A long skinny line strung up in the sky carried voices. So many tunneled in. It seemed there should be two.

Two lines of communication running parallel could do the trick. One could carry half the load. The other, the other.

One kept quiet. When the other wondered about their share of the conversation, whatever was said remained silent.

Inside the telephone wire there were people with problems. Casserole recipes. Questions about estrogen. Their friend. Their friends. Their other friend’s friends. All day both lines heard the frequent chatter of others.

“As big as a watermelon.” One voice recounted.

“Babies are too fat these days.” Throughout time they transferred information to each other.

But the wires were quiet. Side by side they did not intersect. This was because one was the other. And the other was the other just the same.

The Books

books

Once upon a time there were books. Hard angled, sharp cornered rectangles with slivers in between. Slippery inked characters ran the page black and white. No color was necessary for pictures made of letters.

The books were complicated. Happy, but conflicted. Arrogant with the self aggrandizement that can only come from small sizes, the books had something to say.

“The History of Mankind”. Medical journals devoted to all aspects of the chest. The hunger of a whale.

“Don’t forget,” they all seemed to say. “I’m still here.”

Books went into shelves and then several cases. Crammed together with no structure, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town sat next to Lonesome Dove, stale Atlantic covers and Allure magazine. Too many words clanged against one another.

“This is too dusty a life these days,” McCall could be heard complaining.

“Have you tried page whitener?” Beauty magazines were shoved to the back.

The direction was unclear. There were words of self help. “Don’t think: Just Do.” mixed with fairy tale warnings, “always listen to your mother-in-law.”

When the book cases were full, they were kept in kitchen cabinets. Out went the dishware. Out went the pans. Words stayed in cramped spaces and roll-out drawers for silver.

When the kitchen was taken over, books piled under the bed. The sneaky books took to hiding. Narcotics Anonymous. How To Be Single. Ipod for Dummies. Quieter, but ever present, there they stayed. All the books. Softly chattering throughout an apartment worth of sentences.

Once upon a time there was not enough space. With every story came inches lost. Ingested into the head, they moved from the physical sphere to the mental and when it was time to go, they came with. Boxes of characters in square structured places. All books find a home.

The Photo

climber

Once, when I was much younger, I was amazing. I showcased expert sand castling in rubber ducky swim trunks off the shore of Ocean City. Back then I was a polaroid with a lot of white space, but the quality was clear: I was the favorite.

Then I ran through the CVS 24-hour development center. I displayed a new pair of acid wash jeans and a mullet. I stayed away from refrigerators and landed in the door of a 10th grade girl’s locker.

Now, I prefer to think of myself as a concept.

Thinning hair? I blur the lines. Blotchy skin? I turn on the sepia. Last week I presented a sense of adventure in the wild flowers of an unknown countryside. The setup? Perfect.

I like to blend a touch of beauty (sensitivity, really) into the online world of dating. By focusing on the backdrop more than the profile, I can speak without talking: I am deep. I am solitary. Most importantly, I am free.

At first I was discouraged. Nobody was responding to me. There were no dates and in their absence, my photos began to multiply. Spawns from the nature photo developed Athletic Photo and Travel Photo. These slightly different images said things like “I am sophisticated, but still know how to shoot a bow and arrow through a campground.”

The silence was deafening. Other photographs, photographs that came nowhere near me, sported long hair and flying, animated butterflies. How did they get there? I gazed at filtered lighting, girls on hammocks and many, many bikinis. These photographs were out of reach.

I wrote to the other photos using as little words as possible. An emoticon. A winky. No, not a winky: a face with devil horns.

No dice.

When two months passed, I finally surveyed my competition. I braced myself for higher resolution. I hoped they were all old. Photograph through photograph, I started to relax my swiping.

Thank God, I marveled. We’re all just the same.

 

The Couch

sofa

 

4/2/2009 

For Sale: Like New Couch $150

Purchased this couch from an antique dealer last month for $800. Couch sports a rounded back with real wooden frame. Complete with claw feet and down padding, this gem would make a fine addition to any home.

The couch has a slight vintage scent to the cushions, possibly from incense or cigarettes, but goes unnoticed fairly soon. The stripes are lined with gold thread, all hand stitched. While precise in design, there are some tiny holes toward the back frame. Fingernails are easily removable.

Couch has plenty of character and adds an ambiance you and your company will never forget.

Immediate offers only. I can deliver for an extra $50.

 

24/11/2013

Seeking Professional: Need My Couch Fixed

I need my couch fixed. I don’t want to pay much money, but willing to trade. Couch is rough, but solid. Friend gave it to me last year and it smells a little like citrusy bubble gum. There’s some feathers coming out of the back, but I patched it with garbage bags. Still needs help.

I’m willing to trade VHS tape collection, stack of Tom Clancey’s or non-working Vespa.

All four legs work. Two legs missing.

 

18/9/2018

$20 COUCH: corner of 8th and Springfield/PICK-UP ONLY

I’m moving next month, but I had to get the couch out. It’s a nice couch – pretty stable all things considered. Couch has been in the living room for a couple of years, kept meaning to replace it, but never did. It’s comfortable and there are no springs. Smells a little spicy.

There are a few minor details: The thread on one of the stripes is unraveling. Two of the legs are a little wobbly too. On the top right shoulder there are 3 stab marks, but the down is still intact. All down has not been removed from when I bought it. Original down is vintage and does not smell.

Will not deliver anywhere. Must pick up immediately.

 

22/6/2020

Missed Connection: Striped couch by 7/11

I thought I saw you. First I thought, no way, it can’t be the same couch. But then I saw the garbage bag patch-up you taped to the back. I tried to move it off the street, but the legs kept breaking off. First the front one went and I thought, eh- that one was always crap anyway. But then the second one flew off and I couldn’t grab it fast enough. I threw most of the couch into a cab and tied the remaining half to the door. The driver said it was in violation, but we almost made it home. I don’t know what happened to the other half. I’m guessing it’s by the chicken place. If you find it, let me know. I’ll pick it up for free.

The Fabric

jcrew

How is this possible? You’re telling me, I can’t sit on the grass, collar popped and comfortably breathe in the fresh air? You’re telling me the polo match is canceled? What about the vineyard itself? Is it, too, closed to the public?

And what is “public” anyway? Children in stained shorts? Walmart? What about the private sector? What about the natural, organic spread of pure material? 100% wool vests? Unmixed cotton? You’re telling me we’re no longer invited?

I demand a refund. I wasn’t made to sit, holed up in some closet, only to wither away from society. The public pool may be closed, but my family owns a house on the lake. No, not the lake you’re thinking about. The lake. I’ve been going for years.

You can’t tell me to close up shop. I live in Tyson’s Corner. I was born for a high end lifestyle and I won’t tolerate quitters. You think you can tell me what to do? Who’s your boss? I want to speak to the manager.

The Platform

viral

 

Viral Service Briefing

Platform Site: MyHome

Tag Line: Where going viral is fun again!

 

Brand History: We, at MyHome, started off as a small site mainly used by shut-ins. By providing moment-to-moment, live analysis of Car Talk and People’s Pharmacy, a healthy community was born for folks interested in learning the social world of the wide web.

While other social media platforms emerged with their own messaging software, we stuck to classic chatroom communication for minimalist information such as  A/S/L. Gradually, as an increasing amount of users divulged more information, they grew bored with the same advertisements targeted specifically for them. At MyHome, nobody knows what kind of paid content they might see.

Demographics: MyHome is currently designed for those who are stuck indoors. Whether self-quarantined or living without a car in an assisted living or hospital facility, social distancing does not require isolation. Those who particularly enjoy MyHome are roughly 50-75 years old with limited cooking ability. Instead, they prefer to upload blurry, digital pictures of home-made, boxed brownies and post them for friends to see. These friends then re-post the homemade brownies, assuming others won’t know it’s somebody else’s photograph. Once the homemade brownie photo has been shared multiple times, another cooking success must be documented. This information, while somewhat misleading, will inform everyone that everyone is baking.

Our Sponsors: Sponsors include products that, while not technically relevant, still exist. Duracell, SanDisk, KikWear and Sharper Image are just some of the important brands we find crucial to our development.

Quarterly Goals: MyHome does not strive for large economic growth. Instead, MyHome is a process that explores the inner depth of communication through online existence. Without a physical presence, we feel MyHome can break down the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction in an effort to build the ultimate viral performance. For this quarter, MyHome nurtures the motivation of many would-be bakers and cat-owners to upload the most generic photos possible so that anybody could be responsible for their content.

Emergency, Get-Out Plan: Should our platform cause any political, social, financial or ethical complications within an online or physical reality, we are fully able to infect MyHome with a mutated virus. In the event of a pandemic, all social-distanced socializing can be heard over People’s Pharmacy.

 

The Candle

candle

 

It’s okay. This crisis wasn’t really about me or her. I’m just concerned about everyone else.  In fact, from a very young age, much younger than most, I realized the sacrifice that some of us were going to have to make. Really, I’m okay with that.  I’ve understood for as long as the earth.

In these trying times, fear not. I will be your light. I can do what no other can. From my ability to see beyond the darkness, I have come to share my wisdom from the humblest of desires: Please. Use me for your guidance. 

I will show you the depths of the shadowy underground that lurks beneath humanity. At first, I thought it was just my ex best friends who were diagnostically inferior. Their facebook pages filled with all the things they can do, but Flash Lights are cheap: too fake for any real intensity. With so many tacky, inspirational quotes, one would think they’d be embarrassed to publish.

“In this horrible aftermath that has taken so many lives, I just want to say thank you. For everyone that believed I can shine.” And then, a day later: “It is during our darkest moments, that we must focus to see the light.”

That was my line. Or it was supposed to be, before she posted it with a photograph of herself standing in the middle of a field with her light switched on. Who wants to gaze at the stars now? Flash lights aren’t free and spontaneous. Flash lights belong in the basement.

But then hundreds of Likes started pouring in. “You’re my rock,” someone commented. She posted a photo of herself nestled up against some parking lot gravel. A dozen hearts appeared. It was horrifically garish at best. 

Out of respect for those in mourning, I refrained from such posts. Instead, I worked on myself. Long nights burning bright on a bedroom table, I watched over those in need. A less glamorous position, some might say. But my power doesn’t come from a button. 

One morning, about a week later, everything became illuminated. In this Chiroscuro lifestyle of selfish extremes, I know how to handle a crisis. I will get us through this. I have  the ultimate glow. 

So to all of my misguided followers out there, fear not. It is not the light we need, but the fire. 

The Fluff

Fluff

 

Name: Gwenyth

Age: No expiration date

Location: Way in the back

Favorite Song: Lips Like Sugar – Coldplay

Favorite Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

 

About Me: I really just like to have fun. I know that everyone says they really just want to have fun when actually they just want to hear someone else talk about their fun. But I actually just want to have fun. I’m a huge dreamer. I love star gazing (Gemini). I like to visit the rocky beaches of New England just to experience the amazing sounds of nature. I love nature. Almost as much as I love fun.

About You: Preferably over 14. I like a lot of physical affection, especially at family functions. If you’re confident, I will probably like you no matter what.

Best First Date: I want someone who likes to talk about existentialism in the form of stars. I’m really interested in thinking past the earth’s hemisphere so that we can get to the heart of who we truly are as universal characters. Whether we’re camping in a rainforest or providing care and loving support for underprivileged children, I want someone who is a human being and not just a human doing.

 

Deal Breakers: No David Foster Wallace. No Jean Renoir. I don’t need a lot of fluff in my life.

The Lamp Post

mistletoe

Here I am again. Hanging out on the street corner. Every year it’s the same thing. Someone strings me up on the lamp post and 5 hours later, someone comes back with a girl they position underneath me. “Look.” He’ll point. “We’re standing under the mistletoe.”

The girl will glance up. She will give me the same look she gives the someone beside her. Ah yes, I can hear her think. How did I end up here again?

I am the only mistletoe around for blocks. Yet everyone knows I exist. The lamp post, while beautiful in its own right, both resents and enjoys my popularity. At first, the pointing feels good. Basking in the glow of his own light, he feels a surge of pride from the strangers looking at us.  Then comes the eggnog.

Early December is not so bad. The Christmas music is at a comfortable Mariah Carey intimacy. Mid December and the shoppers are getting more hectic. By late December, Perry Como has peaked and the eggnog, while once a disgusting choice of raw egg and cheap alcohol, suddenly makes an appearance.

Loud after-work parties and sloppy caroling seem to never end. The lamp post isn’t pleased. Teenage boys with dog-like tongues kiss the girls they like best. The lamp post glares at me. Come January first when I should be taken down, it’s just me and the post-Christmas post.  Here I am again, wondering whether someone made it home with someone else.

The Magazines

ppl

 

People is for sale.

All of them as one, wrapped in plastic. How did they get themselves caught?

At first they were too large. Big, broad shoulders too wide for scrawny dresses and heads the size of thoughts: they had to become smaller. Tiny phones holding the world of web made them crane, straining their necks into squares. One by one, person to person, they shrank.

Into the flashes of cameras, people curled up inside miniature frames. One shot shows a smile. Another, a wave. One shot has a pensive look. Another, shame. The eyes are scanned and recognized, but they all seem mostly the same. These are the people beside the candy bars.  

I’d like to buy the People. Every one of them, into my purse. Crinkling on top of one another, they cut up. Get plastic surgery. They slip around one another like business cards -I’d buy what they’re selling. Whether it’s clothing or just the material, People stands for stands of people. They still stand on top.