RUSSELL HICKS

Instagram Stories Make You Sad :’(

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While sitting at an outdoor table in front of a chain cafe eating some bland concoction I bought at the grocery store, I noticed two young girls taking photos of themselves for, I kid you not, about a half hour straight. Then I realized I was a thirty-five year old man sitting on a park bench watching two young girls so I vacated before the authorities were alerted by the neighborhood watch. 

Probably an Instagram Story, I thought to myself while chewing slowly, pensively. 

Everything is content. 

Your whole life monetized.  

Sitting there in front of the cafe, intermittently swatting away the woman who kept disguising her real question, ‘are you going to buy anything?’ with phony inspections as to my well being such as, ‘do you need anything?’, I cerebrally birthed the following philosophical nugget.  

My personal predilection is to the here and now. When I was younger, I was told I didn’t like responsibility. That was as true then as now. Responsibility is a distraction, a trap. An errand

Yuck. 

Parents used to say, ‘I HAVE to RUN an ERRAND.’ None of that sentence sounds fun. 

Nobody wants to HAVE to do anything. Nobody likes RUNNING. Errand speaks for itself. 

At the moment I was having a great day. 

I was now sitting outside on the afternoon of a weekday, remembering my old office bosses in order of opprobrium. 

Before that I had walked around a cemetery playing with a Rubik’s Cube I found at the entrance. What kind of philosophical metaphor in action was that?!  

On my walk I saw the same construction worker twice. Once, leering at anyone with a pulse as they passed by. Next, passed out asleep on the job. 

That’s some pretty good content right there, I thought. 

So why not take the time to take my phone out, film myself walking around the gravestones or cracking wise at old Slob the Builder? 

Actually, I enjoy talking to camera when afforded the opportunity. 

Because when I talk to the camera I am doing just that. I’m here. I’m now. I’m talking to the camera. I’m engulfed in this singular experience. The camera operator is filming. He is engulfed in that singular experience. Both of us, focused. 

When a person takes it into their own hands, literally, to film themselves with their phone, they are neither only filming nor only performing. They are diluting both experiences. They exist momentarily in a vacuous vortex of nothing. They are neither self nor not-self. 

They are CONTENT. 

Overtaken by this epiphany I spoke the preceding paragraph aloud, at top volume, before the woman at the cafe called the police.