I Want to Fail

The whimsy of being a bit out of sync; the adventure of not knowing it all

I don’t really want to fail. What rational person would want that (let alone state it)?
 But I am one of those underground species: the ones who remember the world ‘when’ you could make a wrong turn and find the Thai restaurant of your dreams. The world where script writers could actually write the phrase: “Oh no, he’s already on the plane; there’s no way to reach him’. The world wherein you actually hoped the phone would ring versus being irritated when it does.

Yes, that world. Between the IPhone, Google and FB, life offers few mysteries anymore. Even mundane ones.

Men shop in grocery stores, fused to their phones, snapping pics of Campbell’s lite-salt tomato soup and texting: “Is this the one you want? I assume this is a text sent to their other half; (yes, I am sure women do this too). Everyone is always checking something to verify or compare truths as dictated by one website or another. As a journalist, I used to have to hunt for facts and figures. Now I curate, cull and shake it down into a algorithm-cum-Haiku and give it a personal twist with my writing style. 
 No one guesses or conjectures about anything anymore. They head to Google to check every detail of something and flit from CNN, to Wiki and IMDB. Worse, this occurs of course, while you actually thought you were talking to someone in real time: they disappear; if not from view or the other end of the phone but from your sphere of presence. They text you as they are talking to you. You actually thought they were listening and all the while, they were searching for some spiffy link to jettison your way. 
Jump in a car with a friend and smell your way to that new Indie café? No sir! Out comes the Google map App, GPS, Waze and more and without a false step that unexpected traffic would present or unforeseen road construction — you are routed to your destination oh-so-pronto and via the most expedient route. 
Meh. (And also totally missing all sorts of other things you would have actually seen as you drove but you didn’t because you were listening to a robotic Australian woman’s voice telling where and when to turn)
 I don’t want to know the Ten Best Organic Shampoos or Thirteen New Pizza joints in my city. I want to find them or something else better or worse…..myself. If I am going to waste time, I sooner waste it wandering about than intimately involved with the Internet which is incredible but has no scent and often is devoid of soul. I also won’t Google people or trace them on LinkedIn before a meeting or a date. I have an instinct about people and if I don’t rely on it and keep it honed, LinkedIn for sure, won’t reveal the more cogent truths between the lines of all that bio.

Information is too rampant, answers are everywhere and it becomes not a competition of who knows and who doesn’t, but who finds the information first or faster and who curates the best portals to even more exclusive information. Nothing is hearsay. The transparency of factoids, the democratization of research has harpooned the possibility of serendipity. And serendipity is just one of those white rabbit things that make life enchanted.

This is a brazen confession but truth is: I like awkwardness and I like the freshness of no dress rehearsal. Born in the last century, I have a high tolerance for discomfort and the beautiful poise that is its by-product. The legacy of the frontier spirit, as lived in previous centuries, is still in my bones.
The imprint of finding my own way is in me, profound. I prefer an ingenious inaccuracy at this point, if original, to a homogenized, all-accessible truth.
I don’t want my life prescribed, scripted and mulled and chewed over to the extent that our culture would have us do.

What I want is the option of not knowing, not being so informed. The option to discover, to be imperfect. I want the other door -the one that lets me flounder, fall, re-right myself, explore, arrive and falter all over again. I don’t want to know it all, as ladled to me on the plate of some other informant’s leftovers. I want to figure it out myself — dare say, rough it, even for old time’s sake. In essence, let me hunt on my own.

There’s simply no romance in clicking on regurgitated data that for all its glitz, is often the same damn stuff as everywhere else. It becomes one big bouncy ball that everyone on the street is bouncing the same way. It leads to conversations that are upchucks of it all over again with little original thought added to the fray.

So where’s that Indie café? Forget Yelp and all it’s pre-sanctioned clips by people I don’t know and who if I did, I might only give ‘them’ 2 stars. Instead, let me sniff it out — it’s a street near a street I once knew and I don’t mind adding ten minutes by a few wrong turns (and finding a new chocolate shop via my ‘wrong turn” or better yet, a handsome stranger, lost puppy or florist selling uncannily orange, beautiful Japanese lanterns). If you’re in the car with me, who knows? I might even have a conversation with you versus poking the GPS or Iphone to listen to directions while I miss the most incredible rainbow right in front of me.

And if I pick up the wrong can of Campbell’s soup — who knows? I might luck into a new Campbell’s soup, say, their global cuisine line, and get Tomato with Sumac JUST BECAUSE I couldn’t find the one someone on Facebook said was ‘the best’.

I don’t want to know what’s trending in fashion. I want to make my own style and ‘see’ it in the streets and figure it out myself — even if I’m a flawed fashionista. If those 2500 great Amazon reviews about a book urge me to buy it; well then, I’d sooner find a treasure, without reviews, or even a dud but FIND SOMETHING MYSELF. And I want to not check the weather patterns and instead, forget my umbrella, suffer a little dewy rain or still forget my umbrella (although they called for rain) and be unencumbered and free just as it turns out, rain has passed and it was sunny instead. Nature, bless her, hasn’t got the memo about the the science of infallible forecasting.

In 2016, there’s so little adventure left insofar as having the perfect information, ever at hand, shortchanges me of the wonderful-ness of all things random. I am robbed of that sense of discovery, being present and wholly engaged that comes of living and experiencing versus researching.

To the point, in the film, When We Were Young with Ben Stiller, the 
40-something couple appear even more addicted to checking their devices than their 20-something hipster friends. “Let’s just not know’ says the 20-something character (who ironically, later covertly checks his own Iphone).
 I agree. Yes, let’s just not know. At least, not always and not about everything and everyone.

I don’t really want to fail. I just want the option.