This essay is called “A Better Title Tomorrow” because the main theme is letting go, but I can’t bring myself to call it “Let It Go” because of the song from the movie Frozen.
I thought maybe I’d come up with a better title tomorrow. Then I decided I really wanted to finish the essay today. Then I thought “A Better Title Tomorrow” sounded like a pretty good title and I let it go.
I’m going to be honest: This is being written quickly and without an outline.
I have earbuds in, but currently nothing is playing. When I finish writing this, I’ll reward myself by watching the video for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” because I can’t write without a carrot dangling in front of me anymore.
The video for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” was released on May 17th in the year of 2015. I often resist making super specific dated cultural references in writing, because the world moves too fast and beautiful little essay flowers quickly become confusing wilted plant garbage.
I’m writing this soon-to-be-plant-garbage on May 18th, 2015.
It will be posted on the site yearbookoffice.com sometime in May of 2015.
Some people will read it. Maybe a few people will retweet the link to it. Then the world will keep spinning. Taylor Swift will release a new video and this essay will still be here.
Or maybe not. Maybe the site will be taken down. Maybe the internet will become sentient in 2017 and just really hate this one fucking essay and obliterate it. Who knows?
Nothing is permanent and I’m trying to have a better attitude about that.
A few weeks ago, my friend Angela suggested I try using the social media app Snapchat.
“I can’t,” I said. “It gives me existential dread.”
If you’re somehow not familiar with Snapchat, it’s a photo and video sharing site where you only have seconds to look at the pictures and then they go away.
“You can take screenshots of the photos,” Angela said. “And you can save your own photos to your phone.”
I downloaded the app and opened it up. “Jesus!” I yelled. “The icon is a ghost!”
I had known this at some point, but then that little flower of knowledge had wilted away and become plant-garbage in my brain.
“That’s awful,” I continued ranting. “It’s like they’re admitting nothing has any permanence. As soon as you post a photo it dies.”
“Yeah,” Angela said, “But then it becomes a ghost.”
“Maybe they’re admitting that they keep all the photos on a server somewhere,” I said. “Locked away. Every little photo, a trapped soul. Haunting you.”
“Still, it’s good branding,” Angela joked. Then she took a picture of herself and posted it on Snapchat. It was quick and effortless.
I opened the app. I took one photo. I immediately saved it to my phone.
I could almost hear my phone groan with the strain. My phone is bursting with photos. I can’t bring myself to delete them.
I back them up on my computer, too. My computer is also full.
While writing this I had to stop and delete a few old files to clear the warning that my computer’s memory is almost full.
I don’t just want to have a better attitude about the world’s lack of permanence, I literally have to have a better attitude for my machines to keep functioning.
And yes, I’m aware of the cloud. I have a back-up system for when my computer breaks. I know I should store more things in the cloud. But I hate the cloud.
I know it’s not a literal cloud, but the branding seems even more on point than the Snapchat ghost.
“Hey,” huge corporations say, “Throw your shit in the sky and trust us to take care of it.”
I can’t even get started on the cloud because I told myself I would keep this essay to a reasonable 800 words no matter what. I’m at 660.
Everything ends. I can’t hold on to every photo, every file, every rough draft, every memory.
Maybe I will keep trying to use Snapchat as a form of therapy. I like the absurdity of going to see a ghost for therapy.
There are always good things in the moment. And you want to capture them and make them last forever.
I just looked over at my wife, Sara. She’s on her phone. She might be reading or playing a video game. I don’t know. The sun is going down. And the sun is making her hair sparkle. Whatever she’s doing on her phone is making her happy because she’s smiling with her eyes.
I want to take a photo because maybe she’ll never be sitting at this exact angle with the sun hitting her hair exactly like that with that exact twinkle in her eyes.
But her eyes will twinkle again tomorrow. And again the day after that.
There are good things today. There will be good things tomorrow.
Maybe even better.
This is over 800 words.
I should go back and edit, but I’m going to let it go.