A woman in her bedroom, her laptop perched upon two plastic organizers and placed atop a dresser, her bum sat upon a half-broken chair, the half-broken chair placed in front of her dresser, her body positioned al estilo side-saddle so as to avoid hitting her knees on the dresser’s also half-broken handles. The window open, thick July air pulsing in.
People tell me that these “hermit stages” are a hallmark of every introvert’s life. I don’t believe I’m a complete introvert, though. Some days I wake up like Thoreau at Walden. Others, I spring out of bed like Ethel Mermen doing the can-can. When the Ethel phases end, I can’t stand my own voice. That’s when I have to retreat into my shoddy study and listen to instrumental music only.
It’s also during these periods that I suffer from paranoia. Before you call the psych ward, just listen to my reasoning: the internet knows us better than most of our friends do. Is that not both morti- and terri- fying?
Consider my case: every conversation I’ve had using the G-chat app since age 18 is logged. Take a moment to recall the kind of weird shit that was important to you at age 18 and join me in a collective face-palm. Before that, AIM existed. God only knows where those impeccably designed middle-school profiles are now.
Well Facebook probably knows every single man my loins have ever been on fire for (because, be honest, why else did you ever stalk someone’s profile?)
Spotify knows that my musical tastes range from music-snob-approved to Alanis Morrisette and O-Town.
Google maps knows when I’m at the beach, when I arrive late to class, and when I spend an entire day in bed (it’s happened, ok?).
Hulu knows when I’m feeling lost in the world because I binge watch Broad City.
Amazon knows a fair amount about the books I read and also about the items I’m too lazy (or embarrassed) to purchase at physical stores.
Youtube (hay Google) knows that, every now and then, I watch beauty guru makeup tutorials in the morning. I’m not sure what it makes of that. The camera app will tell it that I never actually try out new makeup and surely my smartphone’s microphone will inform it that I do not enjoy spending time painting my face.
Possibly the most embarrassing part of all of this is that Google knows the exact date and time of every single occasion when I thought I was suffering from some obscure 17th century illness and/or imminent death.
The scary part is that, should our society begin openly black-listing its citizens (which seems more likely every day), I’ll be plastered all over that thing for my anti-establishment WhatsApp (ehm, Facebook) chats. Just take a look at the world. In my home country, a human carrot/monster could become the next POTUS. Here in Spain, my adopted country, a president whose political party has countless open cases of corruption won the general elections for a third time. At his victory gathering, the crowd chanted “Yo soy Español, Español, Español!” (I’m Spanish, Spanish, Spanish!) and the president jumped up and down in front of his podium like an awkward first-grader on pretzel day. It was the weirdest, most depressing thing I’ve ever seen.
Having explained this paranoia, you’re probably wondering why I’m publicly posting this on an internet blog?
Well, you’re not alone. So am I. I suppose my need for communication/a creative outlet trumps (ew) the fact that I feel itchy when I acknowledge that Google totally knows I was once in love with Conan O’brien and that I am constantly flirting with hypochondriasis. Anyway, I just hope this slice of the internet is equal parts high, middle, and low-brow—a place where I can feel comfortable discussing both the mundane and the divine, from toilets to philosophy. Let’s do this thang.