Saturday, December 1, 2018

I Don't Have to Go Home, but I Can't Stay Here

I picked up a guitar for the first time in a while, a very long while, this morning. And played it, yes. It felt good- nay, it felt great. While I don't know if I'm going to produce any new music anytime soon or ever (I have a few ideas, some old, some new, but little motivation or encouragement at the moment), I think just playing guitar helps me. I need to remember that, and make time to do it more often. Get those calluses back. (You'll no doubt be pleased to hear that I haven't forgotten how to play Andersen Silva's greatest hits.)

The holiday season tends to cheer me up and also depress me more, and this low has been in my sights for a while now. Sometimes this Libra does a better job of balancing the scales than others, but it's been hard lately. There's no loneliness like holiday loneliness, and it's hard to shake even when you're among other people, even when they're people you like who like you, too.

Anyway, as a belated Christmas gift to myself, I've decided I'm going to self-impose a new moratorium on social media beginning January 1st. Between Facebook's increasing shadiness (Facebook Watch? anti-competitive practices and fake news?), trolls and bots and polarized people (on both sides) on Twitter, Google Plus dying a slow and agonizing death, and too many people saying too little of import too loudly, it almost physically hurts to spend more than a few minutes on social media anymore. I'm not going to close or delete my accounts, just going to stop reading and posting, at least for a while.

When I first signed up on MySpace in 2005, and then Facebook and Twitter (and Loopt and Brightkite and Friendster and Pownce and Orkut and...) over the following few years, I was mostly interested in trying to get my music out to more of the world (speaking of which, hey, give my Christmas song "Christmas Lonely" a listen!). The Internet has in fact led to people hearing, sometimes even liking, my songs. Then, of course, I started bumping into old friends and colleagues, and meeting new ones (even in real life sometimes), through social media, and I added myself to more and more sites. But I'm realizing that somewhere along the way, I started feeling less and less connected.

I don't need to read (much less participate in) fingerpointing and flame wars about whether George H.W. Bush was a saint or a demon (wouldn't be prudent, and spoiler: he was neither) or whether Trump will end up in the history books as "the best president EVER, believe me" or in a federal penitentiary (my guess: neither, but probably closer to the latter than the former) or whether Ivanka Trump or Hillary Clinton should be "locked up!" (neither-neener-neener). The Earth isn't flat, and climate change is real. I'm not interested in what's going on with Ariana Grande Sans or Kid Rock or Chrissy Teigen or any Kardashians or Wests or Markles or Middletons or Conways. I wasn't spending hours a day scrolling through feeds and Walls anyway, but even the minutes seem too much now. Yes, I'm going to miss out on pictures of kitties and gorgeous plates of food, and birth and death and wedding and divorce announcements, and so many complaints about New Jersey Transit trains and buses, but...

But there are other ways to stay in touch and share information. As I recall, we used to be able to do that even in the days before Facebook and Twitter and instant messaging. ("Why, back in my day...") Most of the few people who actually communicate with me already know how to do that, but for the rest of you, if anyone wants my phone number or E-mail (or snail mail!) address, just ask. I'll still be postin' and scrollin' on Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus for the next month. After that, my social media goes dark... and with any luck, my real world gets a little bit brighter.

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