Periscope Depth

who suspect they can never love anyone

This is why, in spite of it all, I kinda love Twitter:

twittercap

And before you roll your eyes, yes, I know, it’s nothing to get hung up on. It’s the kind of interaction that’s become so ubiquitous it’s effortless to visualize: folks hanging out backstage, waiting for a ride or a call or a plan for the afterparty, killing time by scrolling on their phones, hey, this looks cool, fav. It’s an effortless gesture, the brush of a thumb on glass. You could write a Salon piece – or even an n-plus-one article – about the shallowness of social media “connections” as an artificial, NutraSweet substitute for genuine human contact.

Of course, all that, granted. But the fact that a fave / like / +1 / reco isn’t a Deep and Meaningful gesture doesn’t make it any less, well, deep and meaningful. Our humanity is comprised of our intimate connections with our friends, sure, but it’s also comprised of thousands of fleeting, unplanned touches. You lock eyes with a stranger across the street as a commotion down the block draws the attention of a crowd; both of you shrug. A student thrusts an umbrella into the doors of a closing train, holding it open long enough for you to board; you shake the rain from your coat, panting, and nod your gratitude. The cashier at a liquor store pauses while bagging your mid-shelf vodka and makes a comment about the music playing on the PA, a single sentence that speaks volumes*. You go through the day expecting nothing, yet you’re rewarded with these little twinkles of humanity.

You go to a show in a part of town you used to live in but never visit anymore. College kids and recent graduates flood the streets, rendezvousing or arranging rendezvous. You step into a club, whose interior has somehow doubled in size since you were last there, and watch two artists you admire immensely, who found each other through weird kismet and decided to put out an album together. They banter onstage like an old married couple running an NPR show, bob their heads and hips as they rock out, and apparently check Twitter on their downtime. It’s a rich world; don’t throw away the little things.

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* “I ruined a perfectly good song by getting married.”