In Mexico I did have internet access and I used it unwisely. By the end of the week I realized that I was not going to be a success at Twitter. I think some people (Choire, Sasha, various others) are geniuses of the form but I’m just not good at it, I need more words. Reduced to 140 characters or whatever it is I am incapable of writing anything but song lyrics like a teenager or dumb little truisms about the beauty of the sunset or whatnot. When I started posting Allisonian descriptions of my outfits I knew it was time to cut myself off. And yet people keep following me, in spite of my having walked away! Like that U2 song. Oh, Internet. So many different venues for us all to reveal how dumb our thoughts are, it’s one of the Internet’s signal marvel/horrors. Right up there with: you can inflict unlimited psychic harm on yourself at any time, but you can also watch pretty much any music video you want.
In Morocco I didn’t have anything resembling Internet access and it was So. Best. It was the longest I’ve gone without checking email since I actually have no idea when. And I had a lot of sobering and probably enriching experiences with something I like to call Mind Google.
I invented Mind Google sitting in the little Japanese-French teahouse on 13th St. near the New School with my friend Marisa. We were talking about how she was maybe going to a big outdoor music festival in Africa that’s sort of like Burning Man except all the “tribal” things and people and tattoos are, you know, actually tribal.
“In the chillout tent there they probably have, like, a shaman!” I said. Then I was like “Oh that reminds me of how funny the song ‘Chillout Tent‘ is, some blogger said it was the generation after mine’s ‘Summer Nights’ and I totally agree.” But then I couldn’t remember the name of the band that recorded this song. Neither could Marisa. We both had the ability to Google it on our phones but I challenged us not to, and then we sat there having that familiar horrible inability to recall a fact that we both completely knew. It’s excruciating, right, that feeling of rubbing up against that numb, almost-thought place in the brain?
Finally maybe 10 minutes later, while I was in that place’s tiny bathroom washing my hands, my mind relaxed enough for the words ‘The Hold Steady’ to bubble to its surface. I had successfully Mind Googled them. That is how Mind Google works: you perform a search, and then the results come up … later, sometime. It’s not very efficient, but doing it on a regular basis might prevent you from becoming a cyborg, or a retard.
I also invented a car game that uses Mind Google. (I know, I’m very prolific in some ways.) A very, very tolerant traveling companion (who UPDATE feels he is the true inventor of this game, I guess everyone is entitled to their own sense of what “really happened.” Also blog history is written by the early bird, as the saying goes) allowed me to play it with him during almost the whole minibus ride from Fez to El Jadida (5 hours, lots of scenic sheep). The game works like this: player one starts the game by saying a word, like the word could be “veils.” And then player two has to think of — and then sing — a line of a song that contains that word. So player two would obviously sing,
“I’m dancing the seven veils/ want you to pick up my scarf.” Then she would say, “Seven.”
And player one would sing, “All seven and we’ll watch them fall/ they stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all.” Then he would say, “Smoke.”
Then player two would sing a line from “Smoke on the Water” or “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” or Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed A Girl.” You get it. This to me is the most fun game in the entire world, and I would go on a long car ride just to be allowed to play it. I would learn to drive in order to be allowed to play it. It was a real highlight of my trip to Morocco, no offense to Morocco (although, hot tip, Morocco: you might want to consider building a better sewage system and real toilets and also having heat and hot water indoors. And I understand that the whole ‘eating off a communal platter with your hand’ thing is a custom that goes back centuries and I am an insensitive cultural
relativist absolutist for disapproving of it, but have you ever considered that it might result in everyone becoming infected with a ridiculously toxic death flu? I’m just trying to be helpful, Morocco. Also countries where women can’t walk around by themselves without being followed and harassed are bullshit.)
Long story short, I love America and I love New York City. I just want to stay here forever. All I want to do is just sit here and write it all down and rest for a while. (Welcome to my Sinead YouTube rabbit hole, incidentally. The best part of a Sinead rabbit hole is when you get to her performance at a Bob Dylan tribute concert right after her SNL pope-ripping. Can you imagine the giant iron-clad balls it would take to stand there and scream at the top of your lungs as that many people boo and jeer?)
The only time I wished I had the Internet in Morocco, besides when I inexplicably blanked on songs containing the word “velvet” (which, I know you just thought of three) was after I got the death-flu and I couldn’t get out of bed for several days. Luckily Marisa had lent me a box set of the first season of Deadwood. There is nothing better for sickness than 10 hours of basically any HBO show. My traveling companion disapproved of my weakness for this kind of entertainment, I think because (he says) it purports to be high-cultural or challenging but actually it’s only the hyperviolent, hyperprofane flip side of the ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ entertainment-coin, and actually he does a very funny imitation of, like, the voice Slate would speak in if Slate was a person saying “Six Feet Under is like a 19th-Century nooooovel. The Wire is like an Elizabethan plaaaaay.” Yes, ok, point taken. These shows are not like a novel. In a lot of instances they are better than a novel! Also when you’re sick you usually can’t focus on a novel, especially if you have a fever or are on painkillers. One of my happiest memories is of when I got my wisdom teeth out and watched the entire first season of The Sopranos on Percoset, pausing only to drift in and out of consciousness and eat soft food. Pure sensual bliss. I’m sure the expression on my face the entire time was like Kate Bush’s expression in this music video.
Okay, I think that’s all the thoughts I had during my vacation. Off I go to Mind Google up some more.