don’t scroll on the toilet

today i wake up, seamlessly transition from my sleeping shelf into my writing throne, unclick the lid of my fountain pen and point the pointy end towards the blank, waiting space. the words flow, effortlessly, like so much spilled ink. 

in an alternate reality, i don’t. instead, i stay in bed, bored stiff, unrolling once more my infinite scroll. pointlessly pointing, listlessly clicking, and reading (if indeed it can be called reading) articles (if indeed they can be called articles) on the internet.

We’re supposed to start with these operation programs first. That’s major boring shit. Let’s do something a little more fun. How about… combat training.

tank – the matrix (1999)

on more than one occasion i’ve attempted to implement a set of internet rules. standard shit. nothing complex or hard to follow. but i can’t do it. i can’t make it stick. i have a problem.

let’s say i was struggling to stick to a sort of self-imposed rule where i didn’t take drugs before lunchtime, or in bed, or on friday, or because i was bored. i’d understand that i had a problem. i’d understand that i was, in actual fact, an addict. 

i am an addict. 

i am a junkie, and the daily information recycle is my junk food. 

Something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as a relief from the very problems it causes.

David Foster Wallace – A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

i don’t scroll because i’m interested. i scroll because… why? it’s not boredom. scrolling is boring. well, scrolling is almost boring. it’s ever so slightly not boring, despite being composed of, comprising, content (or more accurately, non-content) which itself is entirely and exclusively boring. this not-boringness is achieved because within the page-loading time of becoming bored with one boring article, or video, or photo essay, or cutting edge piece of investigative journalism, or cat collection, i can thumb a piece of my five inch window on the world, and discover a whole new boring article / video / photo essay / clickbait trash / cat collection. a whole new world of boring shit. 

an essentially endless procession of mind-numbing, boredom-threshold level experiences just distracting enough for me to not bother going to the trouble of finding anything else less soul-destroying to do. like when i’ve stayed up too late, and i’m too tired to get up and go to bed. i know i should, but i don’t. 

i am passive
i am a farm animal
i am attached at my udders to the machine and milked

frequently click on headlines, open the associated article, and within one one-sentence paragraph, realise i don’t care nearly enough to finish the sentence, never mind the other words in this five-minute think-nothing-piece. sometimes i don’t even start –  i just reread the headline in a bigger font and cut my losses. 

i don’t care about what i’m reading. i haven’t cared about anything i’ve read on the internet for years. it’s not making me smarter. or more interesting. it’s making me stupider. more boring. i learn nothing. i gain nothing. i am in no way enriched, enlivened, educated. i don’t gain any new perspective, except maybe empathy for the other addicts, chewing like cows this mindless cud, day after day after day after day. i could be doing anything else. what am i doing?

i am a suited commuter sitting on the tube, nodding off 
drooling onto my tasteful tie
each scroll is a station announcement
and i'm on infinite loop
and it's never my stop

it’s got to the point now that i’m afraid to go to the loo without my phone or my kindle. i’m afraid of being alone with my mind. i’m afraid that i’ll spontaneously combust in the presence of myself. i’ll self-destruct, like a microwave with nothing in it, microwaving myself to death.

maybe i'll write something

after all if nothing else it gives me something to read while i'm having a shit.
although only because my internet is non-responsive and the shampoo bottles etc. are out of reach.

fuck it, i'll stare at a blank screen instead

it’s killing my fucking soul man. it sucks. it doesn’t inspire me to make love. it doesn’t inspire me to make art. it doesn’t even inspire me to consume art, only to munch on beige-coloured kibble and row after row after row of the cheapest, darkest dark chocolate available in supermarkets today. 

i wish i could toss my phone into the sea. maybe one day i will. when i’m living it up in my log cabin in the woods like thereau or the unabomber (or ash williams) and i’m done with the internet entirely.  i’ll be free, finally, of the vicious, virulent facehugger. free to read and write and make art and make love and BE BORED. 

boredom is the most underrated feeling. consider this. big tech companies might well be the most evil corporate entities in the world right now, after energy companies. they do not have my best interests at heart. whatever they want for me, i don’t. and you know what feeling they absolutely, resolutely refuse to allow me to feel? boredom. BOREDOM. they fear boredom. it represents an existential threat to them. not joy, sadness, shame, anxiety, anger, hatred, love, not fear. boredom. 

why boredom? well, boredom is the basic creative state. boredom is the precursor of creativity. creativity means coming up with new ideas, and new ideas threaten the status quo. the status quo which is fucking everything up, for almost everyone. when an evil empire goes to the considerable trouble of censoring a specific feeling, you can be fairly sure that it’s a feeling worth feeling. 

staring at the keyboard
waiting for inspiration
all the letters are there, 
waiting for me. 
they get bored
and we both start
staring at the sky
waiting for inspiration
waiting for me.

here, i reassert my right to be bored. to stare into space. to read the ingredients of a shampoo bottle while sat on the loo. to sit and watch cars and people go by while waiting at a bus stop. to read a hundred pages of my book, close it, realise i don’t have anything better to do, reopen it and read another hundred. boredom is not to be feared. being bored is a radical act. being bored and not reaching for my phone, not watching whatever the algorithm wants me to watch. 

the important thing is to stare, blankly, pointlessly into space, getting uncomfortably bored and doing nothing about it. 

embrace boredom.
embrace nothing.

a couple of lines 
which i wrote on the loo
about life about love
about having a poo

boredom is a loading screen. 
boredom is a blinking white line in the upper left corner of the blank black monitor. 

boredom is a tool. 

you, reading this, are you bored yet? are you afraid? don’t be. be bored instead. let it wash over you, like lukewarm tapwater. practice. learn how to be bored. then you can learn how to not be bored. ever again.

don't scroll on the toilet
write a poem instead

don't scroll on the train
watch the fields fly by

don't scroll in the waiting room


apropos of nothing, two sort-of dialogues.

‘i don’t do dialogue.’ i say
‘well what about that?’
‘that. that was dialogue.’
‘actually, i think you’ll find that that was monologue, at least until you said your bit.’
‘so it’s my fault?’
‘well, yes. you started it.’
‘no, you started it.’