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As I floated 

“The liquid engineers left the pool heater on too long, and at night, chlorine vapors rose above the plant life of the planet, and I imagined my flesh, being inside the pool, being warm, being protected, feeling gravity, but able to mock it as I floated.

Would you float with me now, if I asked you, would you jump in the pool and not even bother to strip? Could I strip you down, remove your clothing and we would fall inside the water together?

It scares me.

I don’t want to lose you. I don’t imagine ever feeling this strongly about anything or anybody ever again.

This was unexpected, my soul’s connection to you.

You stole my loneliness. No one knows that I was wishing for you, a thief, to enter my house of autonomy, that I had locked my doors but my windows were open, hoping, but not believing,
you would enter.”

— Douglas Coupland, Microserfs

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The earth exploding

“I saw doves and I thought they were rocks, but they were asleep. My breath made them stir, and the rocks took flight, the earth exploding… and my only thought was that I wanted you to see them, too.”

― Douglas Coupland, Microserfs

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Timesickness of a Perpetual Nomad

“….somewhere around 2003 the texture of daily life inside Western media-driven societies began to morph, and quickly, to the point where, a half-decade later, it’s now obvious to people who were around in the twentieth century that time not only seems to be moving more quickly, but is beginning to feel funny, too.

There’s no more tolerance for waiting of any sort. We want all the facts and we want them now. To go without email for forty-eight hours can trigger a meltdown. You can’t slow down, even once, ever, without becoming irrelevant. Music has become more important because music is a constant. School reunions are beside the point because we already know what our old classmates have done. Children often spend more time in dreamland and cyberspace than in real life. Time is speeding up even faster.

And then the economy collapsed in a weird way that felt like a hard-to-describe mix of Google, The New York Times’s website, pop-up ads for Russian pornography websites, and psychic radiation emitted by all those people you see standing by the produce section at 6:15pm on a weeknight, phoning home to see if spinach is a good idea. All this information and more has overtly, osmotically, or perhaps inadvertently damaged a collective sense of time that has been working well enough since the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the middle classes. This “timesickness” is probably what killed the economy, and God only knows what it’s up to next.

Everywhere we look, people are making online links—to conspiracy, porn, and gossip sites; to medical data sites and genetics sites; to baseball sites and sites for Fiestaware collectors; to sites where they can access free movies and free TV, arrange hookups with old flames or taunt old enemies—and time has begun to erase the twentieth-century way of structuring one’s day and locating one’s sense of community. People are now doing their deepest thinking and making their most emotionally charged connections with people around the planet at all times of the day. Geography has become irrelevant. Our online phantom world has become the new us. We create complex webs of information and people who support us, and yet they are so fleeting, so tenuous. Time speeds up and then it begins to shrink. Years pass by in minutes. Life becomes that strange experience in which you’re zooming along a freeway and suddenly realize that you haven’t paid any attention to driving for the last fifteen minutes, yet you’re still alive and didn’t crash. The voice inside your head has become a different voice. It used to be “you.” Now your voice is that of a perpetual nomad drifting along a melting landscape, living day to day, expecting everything and nothing.”

— Douglas Coupland, in “Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing Of My Work!”

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Memories of Earth

An exercise I revisit every few years when all the practical indicators get darker and perspective needs to come from intangible things. It’s simultaneously freeing and focusing, and I highly recommend finding that memory of being alive all of your very own.

“I want you to tell me something: after you’re dead and floating around whatever place we go to, what’s going to be your best memory of earth? What one moment for you defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet. Fake yuppie experiences that you had to spend money on, like whitewater rafting or elephant rides in Thailand don’t count. I want to hear some small moment from your life that proves you’re really alive.”

Douglas Coupland

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2002. It snowed the night before, a long windy storm. I was in a supermarket parking lot, in a car, staring at the passenger-side window. The glass seemed fluid, it slowly vibrated and almost bubbled, the snow on it shifting like pebbles on the bottom of a flowing river. Everything else disappeared, everything but that liquefied glass. I thought of how everything must be that fluid and vibrant when you’re a plant – a leaf, a blade of grass, a mushroom. I imagined myself as one, looking up into the world, and noticing how everything moves, everything fluctuates. I wanted to think like a mushroom. I looked at the concrete and the buildings, and saw them for what they were – a temporary, insignificant part of the universe. I saw cityscapes slowly eroding, while trees were quietly raining seeds that would sprout out of the ground to grow just as tall and just as eternal as those that grew before them. We, like everything else in nature, are born with this truth given to us. But mushrooms know, and we forgot. I sat in that car, tired and at peace, being slowly snowed in, and for a little while, I remembered. About the universe, about eternity, and about thinking like a mushroom. Wishing it was easier to remember how to be one every day.

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