The Joy of Twitter
When I think of what we do together? My mind goes not to the clubs and parties of the early millennium. Lemon drop in a martini glass. Perched on a barstool. Chatting up the evening’s conquest. Spike heels breaking. Afterparties. Snorting grams of cocaine. Nosebleeds. Blowjobs. All that is in my past.
Now? In my forties, as a Reno recluse, I am alone with cats.
My sole social occasions are occasional Sunday dinners. With three generations of my maternal extended family. At my aunt and uncles house we eat sumptuous food. A four years old second cousin dominates the room.
The adults drink Cabernet Sauvignon. I do not. I am acutely conscious of the red sloshing in their wineglasses. I play the eccentric widow. Gray bob. Wedding ring of a dead woman. Grandmother’s pearls. Perennially biting back words I know are not family appropriate.
My aunt asks after my painting. I never speak of the writing nonsense. I seek only to fade into the background. Of the couch cushions. My designated dining chair. I love my family. They exhaust me.
Being Schizoaffective, thus carless and housebound, I find friendship and community online. I am an Introvert by nature. Emboldened by screens. Better typed than spoken. A Twitter friend called me “electro-sexual.” My vibrator celibacy implies this. I googled electro-sexual to see if it was a legitimate sexual orientation. My search results were all of an electronic musician by that name. Because, of course they were. Unlike Gray asexuality, electro-sexual does not yet merit a Wikipedia entry.
I remember when the Internet was only William Gibson’s fever dream. Having been raised in the eighties? When one was truly capable of being alone? I took to the Internet avidly. Craving connection.
Even in my teen nineties I felt this need for long distance connection. Crafting zines with intricate collage and poetry. Sending my words out to strangers. Receiving their zines in return. Virtual communities feels much the same. Only the medium has changed.
Now in this present/future/now? Cocooning alone? In our separate homes? Internet communities exist as a way for people to be social from behind a screen.
Digital communities change over time. Always have. They are born. Build. Flourish. Peak. Migrate. Die. Beginning with Aol chat rooms. LiveJournal. Friendster. MySpace. Tumblr. Daily Strength. Facebook. Facebook alternative: ello. Instagram. The manosphere. There are so many others I am unaware of. Twitter seems to be the dominant social network in the age of Trump. Twitter is the social network I find myself most immersed within.
On Twitter individuals create communities based on similar Identities. Or political affiliations. Form friendships with people that they have never met. Will probably never meet. Join together in DM rooms to chat with total strangers. As anonymous as a bathhouse. A strange intimacy of the lost.
Sometimes the wise words of a stranger. In 280 characters. Strike my soul so deeply.
Twitter can be a short form writing exercise. I use it as such. For to a publication starved writer? Having a paragraph at a time, instantaneously published to tens of thousands of people is an intoxicating rush. Spontaneous publication, indeed.
I probably waste too much time on Twitter. Being on Disability? With Schizoaffective Disorder keeping me housebound? I have all the time in the world. Circadian rhythms: longer. Thirty hour days: standard. I am always awake all night. I have internalized the hours of the night when certain things happen. This is nothing to be proud of.
I know implicitly that ten pm to twelve pm is drunk people unwinding from work. One am to three am Great Britain comes alive. Around dawn the East Coast wakes up. Time zones. Four am begins those fateful hours I await with both fear and anticipation, Trump tweet o’clock. What will our maniacal leader say today?
I used to read the President’s tweets every dawn. Anticipating them. Catching them right as they were proclaimed into the ether. Red hot like cat vomit still warm beneath the paper towel. Finally, the tweets became so terrifying. I could no longer bring myself to perform this sadomasochistic ritual. My anxiety disorder could no longer stand it. There is not enough Xanax in the world.
President Donald J. Trump. With his early morning tweet rants. Modernized the fireside chats of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a way that is both unsettling and alarming. Together. We, the people. Listen. As our Russian-installed leader blasts his fiery rage. Ghostwritten. Fill in the blanks endorsements of assorted Republican candidates. Always for the veterans. Military. Guns. Such violence, he speaks.
Together. We the people. Discuss. Debate. Reply. Retweet. Mourn for our nation lost. A country that once was. Under Barack Obama. Alone and together. We are within the virtual. Political. Impossible now.