The Ghost – Day 2

The Ghost – Day 2

Tonight, after a day of more emotional trauma than I really want to get into, I succumbed to the urge to just haunt my old places of Twitter refuge. My favorite people, my favorite hashtags. Just to listen in on the land of the living. A junkie hitting the same old street corners, hoping/not hoping to see the dealer that he’s so attracted/repulsed by.

When I was 17, I picked up smoking as a cool, rebellious habit. I started with little flavored cigarettes, smuggled and smoked behind the school during a Modern Dance concert. I am not great at everything, but I was instantly great at smoking. I looked cool. I smoked like a guy. And, I wasn’t overly committed to smoking as a lifestyle, so I still smelled pretty good all the time.

By 19, I was smoking half a pack a day. I also had gotten into some other bad habits during this time , such as not eating or sleeping. I was also reading a lot of scary books and writing a lot of weird poetry. By spring of my sophomore year in college, I was primed for a mental breakdown, which I graciously participated in. I quit smoking during this time, and never wanted to go back. Usually.

Still, every once in a while, I would get that weird urge to just go out and buy a pack. Stand extra close to the biker on the bus. Hang out on smoke breaks behind the thrift store just to talk and breathe the air. Basically, I haunted cigarettes. Just every now and then. I never participated in the flesh. I just floated around the perimeter, remembering what it was like to be alive in that burning way.

One night, after about a year of abstaining, I was invited to a cool party. Since I am Mormon, this is not something that regularly happens for me, so I was very excited to go. Once there, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was pretty bored. I headed out to the veranda, where all the smokers were chilling. Deciding that it was my life, dammit, and I could do what I wanted, I bummed a cigarette and took my second first drag.

The nicotine hit my bloodstream immediately, which is one of the fun benefits of smoking after you’ve quit. My vision went sharp, my blood pulsed, and I let the smoke trickle out of my mouth like a torch singer in a 1920s hollywood night club. A born professional.

Then, I threw the thing away, still burning.

You see, it wasn’t worth it. It was fine, but not nice enough to have to struggle with for the rest of my life. Not nice enough to get cancer for. Not nice enough to lose my teeth, hair, and skin over. Okay, at best. But, not worth the long-term consequences.

So, I went a-haunting tonight. I found that, though I had made a ripple in the Twitterverse, the world-pond is quite large and functions very well without me. There are lots of other little fishies flashing their tails, catching the eyes of passers-by. I was a cute little fishy, too, but by no means extraordinary.

And, when I tasted Twitter again as a ghost, I realized that I really have made the right decision. At least for now. Twitter heightens the senses, sharpens my vision. But mostly? Makes me want things I can’t have and think things that keep me from focusing on what is important in my life.

Thus, I will not haunt again. #SixWords

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. Joanne Blaikie says:

    Loving your daily Twitter cold turkey (not so cold turkey -lurky lurker) posts! Love this ended with six words! 🙂 I for one do miss your humour on there so it’s great to find it on your blog. It’s odd though isn’t it, how like you say, we can make a ripple but the pond is so big? Not one of us there is indispensable and if we don’t interact, people will soon forget about us and move on to whoever else might pay them some attention. I tested this theory last year on Facebook. I took my DOB off just before my birthday. I had 2 birthday messages on FB that year. This year I left it and guess what? I had 33 birthday wishes when of course, without the reminder none would know or care. The online world is in many ways fickle and fake. I measure my true relationships by those who will contact me outside the realms of social networking. Don’t get me wrong, I love my online interactions and have, as you know, great conversations with great, like-minded people. But I have to accept those friendships are probably very transient. Maybe some will pass the test of time, but I’ve found even with real life friends, unless you are there, pushing yourself into their eye line, we don’t register on the radar. Humans used to live in small tribes and depended only on those they were in close proximity to. We now make the mistake of thinking we can maintain hundreds of intimate friendships either with online friends or real ones who move away. We can’t really. I think the trick is to accept Twitter and Facebook for what they are: networking and socialising on a shared interests way.
    Sorry, I’ve gone on and gone off the point! Great post anyway and I look forward to more 🙂

    • willow says:

      Not off the point at all! Really, I think you are exactly right. I read somewhere that human brains are only programmed to have something like 35 close relationships at once. After that, the brain can only deal with people by segmenting them into populations of like-minded people. “These are my “Writer Friends.” These are my “Church Friends.” These are people who want to make me into “A Human Suitcase.”” That sort of thing.

      You are also right – It IS all networking. It is all about collaborating with like minds. But, whether in the flesh or on the electronic rollercoaster, you can’t deny that it is really easy to become enamored with the brains of all of those amazing people.

      Finally, right again about pushing yourself into peoples’ faces. I really do wonder how many will remember me even 3 weeks from now…Oh well. The ones I really loved will (I hope), and 5 real friends is better than 6000 fake friends any day. 🙂

      You got 3/3! I think I owe you a free car or something…

      😉

      • Joanne Blaikie says:

        Woo Hoo! I really need a new car too! Mine is 13 and a half years old which is like 300 in people years 🙂

        Yeah, you are right, it is really too easy to become enamoured with people you don’t have to interact with on a daily basis or smell in the flesh! I jest. Finding like minded people in your own little town isn’t always easy whereas there’s a whole world out there now at our fingertips thanks to things like Twitter.

        I like my internet friends, but I also am fully aware that if I walked away I’d miss them for a while but they’d forget me in days/weeks and I’d carry on with life. Real life people I’ve had long relationships/friendships with seem to be able to do that, so I’m under no illusions. Out of sight, out of mind. Humans are definitely a weird paradox of neediness and a desire to be free. I’ll never work us out! I think I’ve given up trying!

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