A Confession from behind a Vanity Screen (Overcoming Plastic) by Jori O’Grady
Plastic that’s what we are: silicon screens and a smile. My alarm buzzes. It’s much too early, and my eyes are tired from lack of sleep, but my phone now in my half asleep hands, gives me that instant gratification. It’s like a morning coffee; it’s addiction. Dopamine, being released faster than tapping and scrolling. We are never satisfied. My phone sits in my back pocket, then back into my hands like anyone else with this “trusty companion.” Like anyone else living with no patience. In retrospect, what are we becoming? Plastic. We are becoming artificial: Artificial smiles, artificial hearts, artificial brains, artificial people, our artificial universe.
We scroll through “picture perfect memories.” We scroll to satisfy. And after that, even with all those pictures, you’d think, I would be able to know her, to be able to read into her perception, except pictures are this illusion. The real story lies in endless failed pictures, and weak fake smiles, but online she strives for immortality; only to learn our lives are just in another cyberspace oblivion, with what you could say millions of our doppelgangers. Even screenshots won’t save her “memories.” Although right now she lives in praise, tomorrow she is insignificant. An endless cycle. It’s hard to believe the value of memories lies behind likes. Ruinous cycles, playing pretend.
Glowing screens, and glowing hallucinations, I learned is only but a mirage reflecting her perfections. We are parrots living in false memories. Behind this endless cyberspace oblivion, there’s sidewalks and walking in the middle of the street. That’s what is replaying in my mind over and over again: Ukulele and shouting voices. Mostly it is her tears streaming down her face. She collapsed in the fact that she cannot savor these memories. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but I disagree. Pictures won’t capture this: pictures won’t capture her glistening eyes, pictures will not make this live forever, pictures won’t make you automatically happy.
Tears became a contagious trend among the room fraught of canon voices. We cried–makish tears–endlessly, proof of us letting our memory go before we even performed.
The world is made of destruction and brief remedies, but no absolute solution. Nothing will remain permanent; we waste these moments trying to bottle memories. We want moments, but it’s funny our moments are made up of staring at a flashing camera gritting our teeth, and saying “cheese!”. In reality, we are countless deadlines, frowning upon our efforts to emulate day dreams and movies. Is that the main goal after civilization? To destroy what makes us human? Our “midnight” clock struck at 4:30, this time a cinderella-like girl left nothing behind, except this image in my head with her dimmed face in a small black car pulling out of the parking lot. Click,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.
The setting sun, and streaked skylines tore away at the park, the last rays sending bullets of fading light in the evening sky. Allowing it to burn her out of my eyes. We boycotted night on that sidewalk, and the secretes, we were ashamed of, fell back with the setting sun, like a boiling raging fire. It wasn't beautiful, nor was it abysmal. It was nearly a magnificent masterpiece of our youth. We were all newborns with no sense of direction, but we had enough to know of our non acceptance, and that we belong nowhere else. At one time, I lost daylight, and the hours melted away like seconds. The internet is its own world--anyone knows that--though a world is an understatement; it’s more of a black hole. It’s a fun house version of reality, distorted and fabricated. I never hated the internet, though my fear is that it can be entirely conceited. That's why I need to say this: It gave me faux affliction once, it was my brief remedy, and with all the plastic surrounding me, it faded. Cyberspace waves became mavericks, now I fought them in order to reach land. Land being setting suns, ukulele, wet pavement from rain, tears and smiles, laughter and singing, teeter totters, and stage lights. That day I saw adrenaline, revolt and shortness of breath. That’s why I put down the stupid phone, because I might not get another chance. This is why, if you want to laugh, you should laugh. If you want to cry, you should cry. If you want to live, you should live. They didn’t have to take billions of pictures. In the end there was a couple, but she gave me enough memories, to keep me smiling as I walked back home.