Friday, September 09, 2011

Hurricanes, Twitter, and Sylvia Plath's typewriter

No, it's not a Royal.

I recently read a blog post from a young woman who tells us what she's interested in from Twitter tweeters.

There's not a thing wrong with her preferences, but they prove beyond any doubt *I* had that Twitter is a young person's game.

She's uninterested in following people who mostly tweet retweets and links, instead of their own thoughts.  Items 3, 6, and 7 on her list eliminate me from her world right now, not to mention book promotion, which I'll be doing eventually.

OK, social networking is all about finding people who share your interests, so she can be into "Be original! Say something!" while others might enjoy mostly pass-alongs.

Being original or interesting in 140 characters seems to me to be something only occasionally possible. Does that show my age, or does it show the mundanity of my life, or does her generation really care about trivia like the fact that today I hauled out my small crockpot for the first time in 10 years so I could make a smaller batch of vegetable soup? OK, Larry had to haul it out of a high cabinet. And he cleaned the top of the refrigerator while he was up there.

I can share that fairly succinctly, but what's interesting about it isn't really a 140-letter thing. Would tweeting, maybe, be a good exercise in curbing my longwindedness?

Here's what's going on : another hurricane is out there, and I realized while scrubbing the tray for the toaster oven that my whole life from spring to fall is about (a.) prepping for losing everything and (b.) hoping not to.  For that, and the heat and the bugs, summer has become a stretch of grumpy lethargy. Yard and garden work, I give up, and that probably won't change soon, since the heat and bugs are too much for a few more weeks.  But I dismiss indoor projects too.

We're currently watching the immensely fun Warehouse 13.  It's, for the uninitiated, a steampunky series in which the US goverment finds and stores various highly dangerous "artifacts" under lock, key, and "neutralizer" which is a purple goo that disables artifact misbehavior and is always on hand.

The writers have great fun with this.

In the one we watched last night, agent Pete stepped into the evil force-field emitted by Sylvia Plath's typewriter.

The typewriter causes despair.  The team has only minutes to solve a dangerous problem but Pete, roped in by Plath's Royal Manual, stares at it and can't move.  "What's the difference?" he says dully. Who cares?  Nothing matters. There's no point, etc etc.

I might, possibly, have a sick sense of humor but, despite finding Plath talented and her death tragic, I found this hilarious. A soul-sucking typewriter.  Another agent pushes him out of its field and the agents move on to their task.

Today, I made soup and washed up, and found myself thinking, Might as well clean this toaster oven tray. It's all discolored and cruddy, and I've looked at it many times and thought I should give it a scrub.

As I worked it over with Barkeeper's Friend [TM], I thought, "Why bother?  What's the point?  I'm cleaning this so Hurricane Marie can hit us at Cat 4-5 and take it and everything out to sea....."

I realized that I have my very own Inner Plath Typewriter.  I have no idea whether this is learned behavior from a family of rather anxious and sensitive people, or whether it's brain chemistry.  I think its brain chemistry. At least, I can't think of any family members I might have learned it from.  The sort of gloomy pessimism I see on both sides of my family has rarely made them lethargic.  Every one of them has always lived actively, always done the chores, done projects, lived to the fullest, even while being pessimistic about it, and I am the one exception. I retreat into a sort of functional-catatonic state in which I do what has to be done, but not much more. If a task can sit, it sits.

I kept scrubbing (it's still splotchy-looking but usable), and thought, This is good.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  Live anyway.

It's not really a breakthrough. I periodically kick the pessimism/sapped energy habit but fall back in.  The Inner Typewriter will activate its gloom-field but I need to neutralize it when it does. Purple goo.  Maybe a brain-food blueberry shake.


Mike said...

Reading that blog, I'd say that, if she had simply said what Tweets she DOES want, she could have gotten it down to 140 characters with enough room left for an inspirational quote.

southernyankee said...

I know I read something in this about 140 characters or less as applied to the post, or did I?

TWITTER: Condensing life into the new average attention span. Fifteen micro-seconds of fame anyone? Blink, it's over.