Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RIP BRB


If Russian spies blew my front door off it's hinges right now, stuck a pillow case over my head, dragged me out of the house, and into a van to some basement, all they would have to do to make me give up all of my government secrets is make me text them and not reply for five hours. That's it! Guantanamo be damned, because that's real torture! Texting always irritated me, since even before my teens. Unfortunately, I've since developed the same ill-will toward instant messaging too, which is weird for a dude who counts MSN Messenger as a cornerstone of his puberty. I attribute all of this to a loss of what I call the BRB-generation.

In 2003, I bought my first Nokia. I was 12. SMS messaging was still a fresh concept so everyone was still coming off the heels of having to hear the other person's voice in order to speak to them, exchanging voice mails and weird archaic shit like that. I speak of the days where a text message would hurt you and your friend's wallet every 160 characters, which meant that only the girls I really liked ever got a message from me. Personally, I didn't like it from the git-go. It felt like I was writing messages on little pieces of paper to someone and we were passing them back and forth across the classroom without the teacher noticing. It's the longest way to have the smallest conversation, especially in a world where there are these awesome things called "phone calls". 

In what will soon make sense, at the same time I adored instant messaging. Despite sharing certain similarities with texting, the attitude toward MSN Messenger was so different. While a call would begin with hello and end with goodbye, an MSN conversation started and ended in pretty much the same vein. Walking away from the computer without saying "BRB" or "be right back" was a crime amongst crimes. In fact, the days of dial up internet meant that many of us only had a meagre couple of hours a night to IM, which is the typical length of any great phone session anyway. With MSN existed the same etiquette of a phone call only reapplied to a different platform. Even once the always-on nature of broadband internet became more affordable and therefore more pervasive in this country, remarkably the etiquette still remained with MSN. But RIP BRB , because that shit ran it's course a while ago!

BRB died with the death of MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger) and the birth of Facebook Chat. Gone are the days when a window sat at the bottom of your screen like a small friend jumping up and down in strobing orange. Gone are the days when we sat at our screen and were as present in the written word just as we were with the spoken. Gone are the days when SMSing was about character-counting and your pocket money. Gone are the days where we said hello and goodbye because conversations very seldom end any more; have you noticed?

With the rise of the smartphone and the introduction of Facebook Chat and Messenger, BRB became more of an implied social convention rather than an enforced one. To my chagrin, it essentially turned IM into texting, while texting became more like IM with the iPhones conversation view, with both ironically just becoming the same beast in the end. Just look at the Facebook Messnger app and the messaging app side-by-side.

Nowadays, I see any non-verbal electronic communication, regardless of the platform, as a mountain stream that never seems to end but you take sips from whenever it suits, and that's fucking grim. In contrast to the fulfilling and exciting MSN conversations I had at 14, I'm now 24 in the middle of a grocery list of week-long, fragmented conversations, which are neither deep nor engaging, and kind of feel like nagging chores. How good can a conversation really be when the other person drops a message like a grenade and dashes away without a trace for hours? This is the entire problem.

BRB still occurs, sure, but it's unwritten now and it's implied following every single little exchange. "Hey" BRB "Hi, how are you?" BRB "Good thanks" BRB. No longer is it an acronym for "be right back". It's instead an indication to me that I'm in that classroom passing ripped pieces of my workbook back and forth again, only this time the classroom is significantly larger. IM is dead and it's shit.

Whether the unwritten-BRB follows "okay," "cool," "I hate the blacks", or "I've loved you since the first time I met you", they've BRBed you indefinitely. Sometimes it's just because we are no longer glued to a desk anymore. Maybe they just got off the bus, or they bumped into a friend on the street, or they're back at work from their toilet-break, or maybe they just don't give a fuck about whatever it was that you were saying. It's allllllll BRB, because you can't have an MSNesque BRB in a conversation which consists of no beginning, no end and no solid location. 

Call me an old fashioned funny-duddy, but I'd give my left nut to open up a conversation with a hello and close it on a "GTG" again. I'd give anything to not have to deal with radio-silence, constantly questioning whether or not the previous reply will be the last for 8 minutes or 8 hours. Do I close the window and move on with my life, or do I remain glued to the screen in anticipation as I did back in "my day"? This didn't happen with MSN, and if it did then your friend was a dick whom you would spam until they replied. I now make more calls now than I did ten years ago thanks to the generation which has preceded my own; either that's maturity or I'm just fed up with having long, empty, fragmented exchanges with people. It's a frustration which feels so starkly familiar to the frustration I felt as a teenager texting girls.

Oh, and don't even get me started on that thumbs up feature of Facebook Messenger!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Things Chicks Do

thingschicks

There are two types of girls in this world: ones that like me and ones that want me dead; most of the ones I've been involved with live in between those two poles. In my travels, I've heard quite a bit about the signs to look for if you want to know if someone is into you. This loser I used to work with Googled it so much on our computers that I logged her Chrome browser into a dummy account so that I could check her search history from home whenever I wanted to have a right 'ol laugh! (I haven't worked there since last year and she still has no idea!) You know what they are: Some chicks will wait a few hours to text you back; some will graze your chest while laughing at your lame jokes; some will hook their hair over one ear when they speak to you - if it's to the left she wants you, if it's to the right she's a Nazi. I've heard it all. But here's my little cookie-cutter framework I use to neurotically observe and analyse female-primate behaviour so that I can start placing my bets.

She'll read your blog
People's blogs say a lot about a person...because that's all they fucking do! Some of them are just "Me! Me! Me!" It's literally the worst thing about blogs. So naturally if a chick is intrigued by you and wants to take a shot at figuring you out, what better place than the nucleus of narcissism: your blog. There's a good measure here as well, because the further back she goes, the more you know she likes you. And for those social-albatrosses with no time to write one, Twitter and Facebook are a substitute. There's nothing more arousing than a girl who unwittingly knocks the "like" button on something you posted a year ago.

She'll make alternate plans
Strap yourself in for some sexism because the most disorganised person I've ever met was every woman I've ever known. They act like they don't know how long make up takes to apply! What this means is that she is bound to cancel on you at some point. But don't sweat it, her uncle's friend's cousin's dog's funeral is a really important event, it saved her from that fire when she was three. But if she wants to keep you around, any cancellation will be tightly coupled by at least the promise of alternate plans; this I can guarantee. She won’t want  to risk cutting the cord you two have been slowly unravelling. There have been a lot of girls and even guys in history - Joseph Stalin, Helen Keller, Queen Victoria, Martin Luther King - who I can say with absolute certainty were like "Baby! Baby! Not until after I change race relations forever! How about this Sunday?" If she's not doing this, then your goose is cooked.

She'll watch, read and listen to you
While your blog and social media are a huge thing, what you recommend is another. If she likes you, she’s going to want to listen to the songs you recommend, watch the things you watch and read whatever it is you read. She'll not only be on a quest to know a little more about you and your taste, but it'll help her to feel like she can better relate to you. Also, if she has a high opinion of you as the fallen often do, she'll hold those tastes in high regard...at least at first. By the way, once she's checked all of that stuff out, it's all good if she thinks that your taste in music deplorable, that you have no idea about comedy and that your books are glorified pornography, because it's the curiosity and the desire to connect which you're after, not her approval.

She'll never tell you that she's not into you
In my experience, whenever it's come down to me and another guy in the marathon for a young lady's affection, I'm never the victor. I say that not for sympathy but because while that is the unfortunate truth, not one of them ever told me to fuck off. They didn't want me, but they didn't want me to go either! I used to tell them "just tell me to go. Just tell me you don't want me." They never did, because it wasn't the truth. So unless she's a good liar, you'll never hear her say that she doesn't like you and that's how you know she does. It sounds kind of obvious, but it's something that can be easily overlooked when you’re plane is careening into Mt. Heartbreak.

She'll look at you
That is unless you're like into blind chicks, because in that case, just a word of warning, her gaze maybe a little off-centre. While people look at you, girls who like you look at you! Like really look at you, trying to figure you out. Because what you really want is not success, or a million dollars, or loads of sex, it's actually to instil intrigue in the girl of your dreams. Albeit, it is hard to achieve and it may seem like a trivial thing, but it's not. Intrigue is remarkable because it's one of those things that will work for you while you aren't even doing anything. Once you plant the seed, you don't even need to be on the same continent! You could be in the outback, Bear Grylls-style, no mobile reception, no contact, and your intrigue will still be working this chick like you're a Bond villain and it's your henchmen! Intrigue plants lingering questions which the girl can only answer by getting to know you, and she can't get to know if you're off gallivanting around without her. It'll keep her coming back.

If Stephen Hawking is an expert on general relativity, then I am an expert in people just not liking me that way, or enough or whatever. So while I would never declare this list as gospel, it's just a bit of food for thought and to let you in on the nylon-strings I like pulled when I'm pining for a beautiful lady's heart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Second Chance at a Second Chance

Preceding: To Find the Words

What is it about a beautiful woman sleeping in your bed upstairs which turns the man downstairs into an insomniac?

Time has passed since the first battle with a page void of words. Present is a man with a head full of nonsense, a belly full of cashews and a mouth full of Scotch. But it's not quite the same man as when him and this blog first fought it out in the ring. No, no. These eyes have since seen a love far beyond that of the silver screen. These cheeks have endured the caring hands of a magnificent woman. These hands know the agony of touching another's for the last time. These hands know the tap of white and black keys in the unbearable calm of night. Who do these hands belong to? They belong to a man in love with one and lost, and infatuated with another not present. Fuck.

Like the act of a clairvoyant, the last venture into loneliness and finding the words to accompany it was a pretext for the four and a half years just passed. This man spoke of loneliness as if it were upon him, little did he know that it would be snatched away by unpredictable beauty shortly thereafter. He yearned but then he found. He came to terms with loneliness but very soon fell in love. He wrote the words and then she walked into a restaurant and into his life, almost as if the two acts went hand-in-hand. Coincidence? Or fate brought about by confessed-longing? Today, the building where they first kissed is in ruins, and she's walking out of his front door and out of his heart. He kisses her for what he knows will be the last. She cries because she knows the same.

He punches in these words in the hopes of a similar result as before. How much pain is needed to bring a man to pen a new revelation, a new pretext to foreshadow the second half of this decade? How much delirium is needed for him to actually believe that this foolish act will have any outcome? How many jiggers of it are needed for him to reach the height of hysteria? He wonders. Three? Six?

He's not done with love, although he should be. He's a fool. He was given a cheque for a million dollars and threw it away on account of rain. After such a loss, what could possibly be his source of hope at this point? It's not in a page filled with words, nor is it the bottom of a bottle. Is his heart not still and silent? From where could he possibly be instilled with warmth after such a chilling ordeal?

Well, what if this man believes that he has already been given another shot, another golden cheque as it were? Perhaps he believed it even before he endeavoured to rid this page of it's emptiness. What if by some miracle another chance at love fell right into his lap? Could this be his source of hope; of his faith in love? Unsure of the cheque's value but certain it's big, his sun rises and sets on this single thing. Here we find the focal point of his infatuation. If the key component of faith and hope in love are questions, then who is she? And could she really be as sublime as she seems?

Still aware that a sail-boat with no water inside of it is one not yet pushed to its pinnacle, her boat has certainly sailed. The only difference is that the puddles and slippery spots are enough for her - she no longer yearns for another because she has found him. Another man. The bank has closed indefinitely and this other man may never let it reopen again. Waiting a little but losing a lot; noble in action but crippled by indecision; this man, our man, the man in these words, with cheque in hand, let that ship sail. The fool.

As this man once again tries to find the words which found him love the first time, this time his cheque fades further into oblivion with each sun that sets. Once again, he yearns for someone, and once again, that makes him lonely - so perhaps this self-talk is not as much an exercise in prophecy like before, but instead a desperate plea for a second chance at that second chance.

*This is a repost from the 10th of August, 2015. I've schizophrenically posted and removed this post so many times. I've had enough. It's here to stay.