On hope.

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When quarantine first started it was all so quaint. Suddenly I was some Laura Ashley bitch, floating around my studio apartment, dragging a fay little finger along the bookshelf.

My boyfriend and I had a date night. Steaks. We set the dining room table with tea lights and everything. Would any of it have happened if I didn’t put it on Instagram? Of course I put it on Instagram.

We didn’t know we’d still be here. I work in the home office nook and he works on the couch, his already-neglected back problem now facing irreparable damage, I’m sure. We…

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The financiers fudged the balance sheet
and feigned a fiat still.
The celebrities cloistered in castles
and claimed community.
The businessmen bounced the checks
and begged for clemency.
The virus twirled in triumph
and told us told ya so.

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Kids know how to do it.

I went to Robyn’s show when she came to LA and I lost my phone. Actually, I think it was stolen because it was at 70-percent battery when I arrived to the venue at nine, and by the time I called it at midnight it went straight to voicemail. It would have just rang if it was on the floor of the Palladium, right?

I surprised myself by shrugging it off when I realized it was missing. It could have been the two double vodka sodas, but I felt free! I was dancing with my boyfriend and smoking a stranger’s…

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During the last week of 1996, when I was 13, No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak,” Gwen Stefani’s mad but sullen love song to ex-boyfriend/bassist Tony Kanal, was the №1 song in the country. Also on the Billboard Top 40 that week: Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge and En Vogue. I was coming of age and the women on the radio were angry.

I didn’t understand women’s anger when I was 13. I screamed along to Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” at the top of my lungs with my friend Ashley in her basement while while we took turns riding…

On traveling alone.

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Facing the fear in Sedona, Arizona.

When I told my aunt I was driving from LA to Sedona for my first solo vacation, she told me to wear a hat. “You’re blonde now, wear a hat.” (I had just dyed my fake red hair an even faker blonde.)

“What, I’m gonna get kidnapped?” I gloated.

“You don’t know about these guys on the highways… Wear a hat.”

Then I remembered this Twitter thread I read last year about a girl driving through Missouri who was maybe almost trafficked by two guys in cars without license plates that followed her every lane switch for…

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It’s pretty obvious why so many people immediately inhaled both Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre as soon as they could. The very public dissolution of Fyre Fest was one of the most satisfying things about 2017: Trump had just taken office, the bad guys were winning, and watching influencers unravel when their luxury, private-island music festival turned out to be a Ponzi scheme on a Caribbean construction site felt like the schadenfreude-flavored Xanax we all needed. A fleeting hug for the proletariat in the form of a photo of a cheese sandwich.

Both documentaries highlight founder and convicted felon…

Instagram: @29Rooms

If you’re looking for further proof that the social fabric of our society is as threadbare as you’ve suspected it might be, I suggest a visit to Refinery29’s 29Rooms, “an unfortgettable journey through 29 interactive artist-made spaces.” That’s Instagram speak for “experiential marketing pop-up parading as some kind of modern museum,” except the artists are brands like Proctor & Gamble and the art is paying $20 to stand in line to take a selfie. A well-lit selfie, though.

I agreed to be my friend’s +1 last night because I’m unemployed and it’s December, the most social month of…

Nicole James

Writer turned tech employee turned writer again. Bylines in Rolling Stone, Elle, MTV & more. Editor of The Rag Blog on Medium. Email me: nicolerjames@gmail.com

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