“I just feel profoundly exhausted, you know? Like, I look at this digital morass of egos and monsters and wonder if I was ever young enough to be half as prolific as some of these creatures.” My thumb flicked down, again again again and it will never stop flicking down unless something intervenes. The content that I’m scrolling through is a chaos of color and voice and it is quite endless.
“You’re feeling your age,” she said, and snapped her bubblegum at me. “It’s natural.”
“Is it, though?” I asked. “Did my father have to deal with this? Did his?”
“I think your ‘dealing with it’ is largely by choice, don’t you?” she asked, and snatched the phone from my hand. My thumb made one final scrabbling drag and I watched a kaleidoscope of creative detritus spin away. She locked the device with a snap and dropped it into her purse, and for all intents and purposes she might as well have thrown it into a black hole, or a snake pit, for there was as much chance of me visiting the interiors of those places as there was her sacred woman-sack.
“You’re right,” I said, already feeling the pangs of withdrawal. I’d been close to something, there, like that hacker from that pop-philosophy movie who was searching for echoes of another world inside his computer. I was looking for my Morpheus to come wake me up, to invite me to follow his rabbit, to maybe get a kiss from a Trinity.
“It’s all in how you look at it, old man,” she said, and stood up, her chunky heels clopping on the porch steps like a horse’s hooves. “You’re overwhelmed because it’s overwhelming, and you’re on the receiving end of it. These people you think are kings and queens and others of the media age, they’re not. They’re just good at making stuff and delivering it. You think they’ve somehow got more of a handle on things than you do? Don’t sell yourself short. No amount of punky exuberance or charismatic self-deprecation can replace the wisdom of your years.” She poked me in the chest with a candy-coated fingernail and dragged me to my feet. “Come on. Let’s get a coffee and talk about how the kids today don’t know shit.”