IN SEARCH OF

My iPhone 11 reports that my Screen Time has shot up 15% since last week, with a Daily Average of 13 hours and 12 minutes. That’s more than 50% of one earthly rotation, over half of the whole damn pie, and yet I still don’t bother setting fancy App Limits or Downtime or anything of the sort. This is no time for deprivation. This is time for despair. Tonight I watched my favorite artists’ Vevo music videos from the comfort of my outgrown twin bed, nightly mug of green tea fixed on my nightstand. It got cold within minutes. I was too busy absorbing a wavy-haired Lorde dance and writhe on a Jamaican beach, clad in flowing color for her song “Perfect Places” from 2017’s Melodrama, a dizzying masterpiece of a show I was lucky enough to catch live in DC at 18, my first ever big-girl concert. After, I watched Mitski’s surreal “Nobody,” a statement piece hot off her latest record, Be The Cowboy, which I admittedly looped for an entire summer during my two-hour commute to the city for my first corporate gig. I felt, then and now, too much like the girl in the video, trapped in a candy-colored escape room with no exit, too bright, too angsty, too isolated. I continued like this for hours. Weyes Blood’s “Movies” from Titanic Rising, the only vinyl that seems to find itself spinning on my Crosley these days, her voice the one atemporal, 60s-reminiscent siren sound I can’t get sick of. I watched five times over and felt as if I were astral projecting, or at least I couldn’t stop myself from imagining it. Then again, for the haunting Julia Jacklin in her simple suburban beauty, and the ever-enrapturing Lana Del Rey suspended from a bridge. All of these women doing their thing and there I was, doing mine: observing, taking in, spellbound.

This is no time for deprivation. This is time for despair. After surfacing from the depths of my great musical plunge, I decided to look up random garbage on the mudbath that is the Internet, namely, Mr. Google himself. These days Google masquerades as God, and that man is famous for knowing everything. So I tested him. I looked up COVID-19. After probably six full seconds of panicked scanning, I promptly thumbed through Settings in an attempt to block the phrase from ever appearing on my screen again. I couldn’t figure it out so I made a mental note right there to just tune out for good. I’m sick of this, I greeted the search engine once more. About 538,000,000 results (0.56 seconds), the fake deity apathetically reported. But nothing I was looking for. In a nihilistic fury, I texted Andrew, what the hell, why can’t I be with you yet? Pressed send. It delivered. Waited for the response, got it after seconds. Soon, he said. So soon.

A WANTED ad I’d nail to every corner of my hometown if we were allowed to roam outside:

Looking for a girl, 5’5, unkempt hair, bad posture, clunky overbite that never got corrected even after years of orthodontic work. Anyway, I really need to find her. I still need to take her to those concerts, to a church where people shake hands and God is still God and not God Google, to the open arms of the boy who loves her from 350 miserable miles away, to a city so packed she has no choice but to rub sweaty shoulders with strangers, but I know she’ll love it anyway, the comfort of fitting perfectly into a world that wants her back, that holds her close, that moves her blood. A world that wants her in it.

Reward:

I don’t know. A cup of tea? Music to cry to? Whatever’s left. Something good.

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