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Outside the glowing rectangle

I think digital culture has finally, royally fucked me. You know the old joke about kids trying to swipe the pages on a book? The idea being that they’re so conditioned by touch screens that they can’t comprehend the primitive nature of the printed page. Well, after decades of brain-frazzling computer work and reliance on a trackpad to tell me everything I need to know, I’m now completely inept IRL.

Just to be clear, I’m totally serious. I think IIRL (inept In real rife) should be a recognised medical syndrome, one brought about by a steady and ultimately total dependancy on laptops.

I am now clumsy as all shit. Bouncing around life’s pinball machine like a marble made from elbows. I never used to be this way. But now, doing physical things, anything that demands more than a swipe and a click, makes me look like a Lurpak-digited simpleton.

I wrap a parcel and end up with tape fragments stuck between my teeth. I wash my hands in the bathroom and splash so much water on the floor it looks like I’ve been enjoying the golden discipline. I can’t walk on a pavement without stubbing my toe on a slab and having to style it out with a hop and a skip.

My situation can be summed up by thinking about the simple act of making two cups of tea. My diabolical impatience (years of digital immediacy!) always results in under-boiled water and cups of weirdly frothy and cloudy liquid. I’ve also forgotten how to judge quantity of milk vs teabag brewing time. So one tea is a shit stew and the other a semi-translucent phantom. I can’t even get the bags to the bin anymore without them dripping on the floor. Tiny puddles of tea dribble, every time. And what does my stupid mind think: Command-Z.

I’d laugh this foolishness off were it not for the frustration it provokes. I go from zero to nuclear when trying to untangle my headphone wires. Swearing, puffing, huffing… To overhear me would be to assume I’m trying to rescue an infant from a burning car. I’m always misplacing my specs. I scamper up and down the flat with my teeth clenched and my hands in the air, always hurrying, always utterly baffled that something I had on my head a moment ago has apparently vanished. I snap keys off in doors, I burn my hand on the grill, I climb into baths that are obviously too hot because the cold is taking too long to even it out. Even going to pubs is difficult. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the server to catch my eye… I look at the pint they’ve just poured for another customer and I just want to cut and paste it in front of me.

I’ll tell you the worst though. When you’re lying in bed, laptop up on your knees and you’re trying to buy something. It’s that moment when you realise there’s no Paypal option and you’re going to have haul yourself out of bed, try and find your wallet and then type in the fucking CCV code. Christ what did I do to deserve this torment?

Anyway, enough diet profundity. Here are some increasingly rare images of me going to the shops. I’m wearing some clothes that may or may not be of any interest to you. But if nothing else, you’re safe in front of your screen. Anywhere outside a glowing rectangle is starting to feel completely alien to me.

Hat: Needles
Coat: Document
Sweater: Heimat
Vest: Engineered Garments
Trousers: Needles
Shoes: Yuketen
Bag: Monitaly

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