The disaster of human communication is changing rapidly. A few years ago, it was like a child cutting up a newspaper with scissors and all of a sudden there was a big mess and the girl would yell about the headlines and the horoscope, and then, somebody was gone, driving down the highway, feeling alive. But the days of glue and pulp are finished. Now we speak an electronic, clicking language that is similar to rainfall and low clouds that touch the top of our roofs. What do these late nights of computer talk mean? Who are we writing to and do they empathize with our medical conditions?
People have always had trouble understanding words. The woman who wants to know about the filling in an empanada and you tell her tuna and then she asks, “Is the salmon smoked?” How many different meanings are there to “cool” and “dead”? The emoticon that you use can change everything. The culture of Mexico is based upon the infinite meaning of “chingar” which is a Spanish word that is fairly close to fuck, but fuck doesn’t do justice to chingar. Whatever is lost in the translation ends up in hard feelings, but that is just how it goes when words run down meanings.
Writers put their thoughts out on the internet in the form of blog posts. For me the internet is the mind of the human race:trillions of words from the eternal voice. Last night I was on Mary’s blog and left the following comment to her post about the financial death of our publisher.
“So they started a desultory string of words, and it captured their imagination for minutes at a time. There was no reason, no theme. Just the passing of time and the words were like seconds on the clock. They could have simply emailed each other in private, but now the website platform seemed more fun. It was a place she had built from scratch, and in the shadows, just beyond the light, she was a farmer in upstate New York and wore overalls and leather boots. She put up a rock wall to keep her words from straying. Sometimes she would open a gate and let them out, but when it was raining or cold, they were afraid to go and would end up marching straight into a corner and bumping around all night waiting for the sun. She would hear them making noise in the kitchen and hush them with a song or two and slowly they would go to sleep. When the morning came and everything looked better, she would take them back to the gate and watch them run out across the fields and down to the river. It was hard to be a writer and a farmer at the same time and she wondered if anyone noticed or cared? Then one day a traveling salesman came by the farm. He was dressed in black and stood on the back of a wagon and sold bottles of magic potions as the wind soothed the tall grass. She bought two blue bottles of smoky liquid and drank them that night. What happened to Mary then? How could this possibly end?”
What kind of comment is that for a blog post? I don’t know, but it seemed to me that it made more sense than just hitting the “like” button and writing, “Nice post.” I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’m going crazy, trying to give meaning to the words that leak out my eyes and mix with music, and then make their way through my computer and onto the internet, floating around like the sound of rain and the scraping of clouds across the top of my roof. I will end now, since I don’t want to waste anymore of your time. Yes…time…and the seconds are words. Right? Humor me, please. It’s part of my unknown therapy and there are computer illiterate children at my door begging for food and yelling the word chingar.