Friday, August 15, 2014

Nurse the Hate: American Friday Afternoon

He sat in the chair somewhat defeated.  Slumped at the shoulders, he checked his phone more by habit than with the hope that anything of interest had arrived in his various electronic receptacles .  All around him in the restaurant others were doing the same thing as if the quiet whispered temptation of the phone offered something more interesting and genuine than the actual reality of this moment itself.  He expertly flicked his finger across the screen moving deftly from his email to his work email to his Facebook messages to his text messages to his Twitter to his Instagram to his Linked In.  There were messages, many of them screaming urgency with a red “!”, but he was unable to decipher what any of the alleged emergencies meant.  He ignored it all.  It was all noise.   

He ate a tasteless turkey sandwich staring at the TV replaying yesterday’s sports highlights in an endless loop.  He checked his phone repeatedly as if magically some message would arrive to give his life meaning and purpose.  He paid the bill, walked out to his car, and checked his phone again to make sure that nothing important had arrived on Facebook, Linked In, Work Email, Personal Email, Twitter, Instagram or text.  Nothing.  He started the car and talk radio washed over him.  He merged into traffic as a dented Honda Civic swerved dangerously close to the side of his car.  The driver, a young woman aggressively smoking a cigarette, was staring down at her lap undoubtedly in the act of sending an email/text/Instagram.  The Buick in front of her began to brake.  He saw she had not yet looked up as he passed.  A screech of brakes announced itself over the radio ad for “a guaranteed way to consolidate credit card debt”.  Disaster averted.

He parked his car and walked into the drab two story building.  He checked his phone during the walk.  Social media had alerted him to the fact that someone he barely knew was at Cedar Point, someone else was sad about a dead celebrity, a video clip of the band Killing Joke was “badass”, a woman gloated over recent weight loss, another was excited about her cat, a picture of a bowl of soup, kids in Little League outfits, invitations to events he would never attend, and multiple inspirational quotes which he found to be neither worthy of quote or inspiring.  He lifted his head at the traffic light.  Red.  To his right perched on the roof of the abandoned fast food restaurant was a large black bird.  They stared at one another.  The bird moved its weight to the right and then left, leaned forward and flew off.  He watched for a moment.  The light changed color.  He crossed and checked his phone.


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