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Fight the Machines

Just got on the subway. Bjork's "Possibly Maybe" appears on shuffle, this is my second favorite song to put on repeat for hours and hours and write to. I got the last seat and I won't look up at anyone until I get to Shaoyaoju.

 

Almost Christmas, almost New Year's. The flicker of people's phones somehow throws motivation across my face. To write more and fight the machines. In this present day, of staring at our phones and taking pictures of ourselves is what we do with our free time, that alone throws the pen against the paper! We need it. Need, more art in the world.

 

My hat is low, gloves on tight. No one in my whole car has a mask dangling off their necks or ears in this polluted night, just me. Our masks are our best friendly machine here in Beijing correct? Needing something more than a human touch. And I will wear mine proudly, as I love Beijing...Huilongguan especially. Feels like home.

 

 

"Because the modern world is a sight to see

It's a stimulant, it's pornography

It takes all of my will now not to turn it off"

 

Lyrics from my favorite musicians new CD, which got me thinking about machines...

Mainly phones. People love themselves so much. Lost in their phone cameras.

But what else is there?

 

-Computers

-Neon signs: I'm a sucker for good ones.

-TVs: have never bought one.

-Transportation for 8 1/2 years in Asia, the subway is my machine of choice. If I'm lucky just a nice long walk to work suits me the best; The pep talk to myself about class and certain kids. After class walk home cursing and pleading with the moon and stars for help, but mostly they both are amazing, beautiful listeners that never talk back but help me find my way back home.

-Lamps: Amen for them. They help me write late at night in bed or on the couch as I stare out into these Huilongguan city nights perched atop on the 17th floor.

-Cameras on your computers.

 

"James, they can see, hear everything we do and have for years." I pause and think about what to say next as my friend mentions this to me last Monday.

 

"If that's the case, most everyone I know would be in jail. Must be a case to case kind of thing. So do you feel watched by the machines? Or controlled by then?"

 

He didn't answer me back.

 

I was lucky to be raised in the country far from most machines. Being from more on the poor side of life I obviously had less access to machines, so me being "lucky" to be from the country is open to debate. And when all my friends got the brand new VERY first Nintendo; The first Super Mario Bro's that ever came out! When it was in the arcades for a quarter and changed gaming forever I got...

 

"Jamie, go swing that axe and pretend you're playing in the last game of the World Series, because we need firewood to heat the house."

"Jamie, when you're mowing our 20 acre lawn, pretend you're mowing the checkered squares at Wrigley Field in Chicago...because it will take a few hours and gets boring son."

 

The best one was...

 

"Jamie, take the dogs to the beaver dam and pretend you're in the Olympics, because when the beavers start swimming after you you'll swim faster than you ever have or ever will. They make homes with their teeth and tail and add that secret entrance under the water so only they can enter. A beaver dam is a gigantic private property "Fuck off!" sign. Or we can buy you a Nintendo and you miss the natural world right outside of your front door! If anything son, just keep writing or whatever it is you do with your headlamp after bedtime."

 

Wow my parents busted me on my most favorite machine in the world, the headlamp.

I have written more things with a headlamp then I can think of. I stayed up late every night in the Florida Everglades for one year with my headlamp weary of snakes, spiders, and black panthers lurking around at night trying to find a way to end you...laying there in my sleeping bag. I write this to you now with my headlamp staring out of this Huilongguan winter window, wondering how do we fight these machines?




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