The thing that scares you about these Tasty videos and Spoon University videos on Facebook is how they fold time in on themselves, whisk the edges into a smooth batter, pour over, let cool. Things like cooking and creation should only take the time they deserve to take—there’s frozen food for a fix—but you’re suddenly finding yourself addicted to these series of Facebook videos that promise to condense creation into seconds. The bread rises off-screen, and so does the time.
There’s an Oreo Pancake Tower that stacks itself in 60 seconds. Chocolate Croissant Waffles in 30 seconds, etc. but the most dystopian is the Disappearing Tie-Dye Chocolate Ball that looks like something a unicorn ejaculated but in a way that’s like totally appealing visually and you don’t understand how but the steps include blowing up a balloon, dipping the balloon in chocolate, freezing then popping the balloon which somehow hasn’t popped the chocolate, then there’s four kinds of food coloring but you missed that step it happened before, or something, then you pour a different chocolate sauce over it and the orb melts into itself and wow, you’ve made something that will entertain your guests or your roommate or yourself! and you don’t have any of those things to worry about because you’re alone and watching this in Firestone because you should be working but you’ve been doing that for days and your brain needs dopamine like the world needs a reset button and
you find yourself watching three of these videos which terrifies you because if they’re all about four minutes long you’ve just consumed twelve minutes of empty time, which if it works anything like empty calories will leave you with acne and residual guilt so you return to your independent work but you’ve read a few articles about how millennials are losing the ability to focus and you say fuck that you can focus you can write a twenty page paper in twelve weeks which is like how many weeks with one page each,
well, it doesn’t work that way there’s research then there’s process then there’s the whole refining of the process but like Tasty videos and procrastination, there’s something so satisfying to condensing time into a Shrinky Dink of itself, so you make yourself watch the whole video through until the end, gorge yourself on these time calories until you’re full to bursting because in your head it’s a better diagnosis than WebMD to find out if your attention span is irreparably damaged because if you can’t even sit through a single minute miracle then you’re really screwed.
You worry you’ve been using free time wrong, if it’s possible to build a dessert out of time and Internet and very small eggs in under 60 seconds it is possible to create something of merit in an hour of downtime, so you go for a walk and try to keep from touching your phone in your pocket but it’s useless because People Need You all the time, if not for actual things then for validation, you’ve forgotten how to be alone with your own mind but now we have phones and never ever need to be lonely!
No one is ever lonely, no
one has ever chosen Netflix over friends no one has ever needed a friend because we don’t need friends we have The Internet but sometimes you are silenced by these silent conversations that occur in the firmament of thought that in your mind is shaped like an hourglass, weeping sand like a blood wound, below the hourglass everyone is constantly trying to be busier than everyone else in the glittering hourglass world, where time traffics in its own amount of time and you do not earn money you just earn a parallel thread of time where everything is due and nothing eats up more time than anything else, God, you could disappear up there, last year you heard someone got lost and by the time they brought her down all her friends had graduated
No one is too busy to not have time to think about how they are lonely
You’re thinking about this story by Kurt Vonnegut called Harrison Bergeron in which every character living in the United States has been created equal which means they are obviously not equal in the obvious ways like athletic capacity and artistic capacity and intellectual capacity so they are forced to wear handicaps in order to engineer this equality especially this one dude George Bergeron who is so intelligent he is forced to wear a handicap radio that “every twenty seconds or so would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains” which only lets him use it for small fleeting things
like this piece of writing
you wonder if this is what intelligence is, and if so how are you supposed to attain it when you are constantly accosted by tiny bleeping things so the solution, yes, the solution aside from Burning the Internet To The Ground is to focus your tiny brain on small things it can swallow in the time you let it, like, for instance, Tasty Facebook videos
you are training your brain yes you are training your brain
you’re overworked and just a bit unhappy and it’s spring so you leave, you leave the library and put away your brain for a second, it will be fine, it’s on silent,
you put on a good dress and are just the right amount of happy to be free of the things that make your heart spin out and skitter against your neck, you and a friend get up on the windowsill of TI and you’re dancing and you’re taller than everyone else and it’s amazing this height you have you can see up to the firmaments, no, you can see them all, gaping,
they are wanting you to dance
they are wanting you to move your body
and there are too many things to want but you can’t remember what they are, instead you remember this feeling, feeling fizzy and powerful, you’re in possession of your body, your health, it’s all yours and you’re filled with it, let it out into the cold, walk home alone, ignore the freeze and clench your toes against the wet ground that makes them skid.