Hanging On The

I finally have a new phone, after only… more months than I care to admit without a working one.

The first time I knew that my phone was in trouble was last December, on the plane to Brazil; I took it out my pocket after the flight took off, and realized that the screen seemed to be separating from the rest of the phone. I was temporarily nervous about what this might mean, considering that I was flying to another country and suspected that I really might need my phone to get around, but as it turned out, I was wrong on two counts: The phone was working fine, despite the screen lifting slightly, and I didn’t need it nearly as much as I’d suspected.

I didn’t really think that much about why the screen was lifting. The phone was, after all, about seven or so years old by that point and had been through the wars. I put it down to my probably having done something to it while it was in my pocket; maybe I sat down weirdly, or bumped it, or something. It was, I told myself, no big deal.

Months later, as the screen continued to lift away from the rest of the phone seemingly by itself, I decided to Google why that might be happening; the answer, as it turned out, was that the battery in the phone was off-gassing and in danger of turning into a bomb. Upon learning this admittedly disturbing fact, I did the most obvious thing: I turned the phone off and decided to get myself a new phone as soon as possible.

That was… at some point at the start of the summer, I think…? I can’t remember. Suffice to say, I didn’t actually get myself a new phone as soon as possible; instead, I accidentally started an experiment called, “Do I really need a phone, anyway?” (The answer is, kind of, but I did okay using Google Voice for the most part.)

Nonetheless, I now have a new phone, and I feel remarkably, stupidly excited and fancy about this turn of events. Next big thing: actually using it.

If We Get Through For Two Minutes Only

If there’s one thing I remember from this selection of graphics from THR‘s weekly newsletter, it’s how happy I was with the text from the Meg 2 graphic at the very bottom; it was a last-minute graphic with not a lot of time available to get it right, and I remembered just how well I deal with things when I don’t have time to overthink everything. There’s a lesson for life in there somewhere, but I’m going to choose to ignore it.

That Extra Slice You’ll Soon Regret

I’ve been thinking recently about secondhand nostalgia. It’s a weird concept that I’m having trouble articulating properly, but essentially it comes down to feeling a surprising nostalgia for things that you weren’t really present for in the first place, and have no firsthand knowledge of.

This comes from re-reading a comic from the mid-1970s the other day, and realizing that there’s something very powerful to me not only about the story in the comic — which, I hasten to add, is not a particularly good story — but the ephemera surrounding it; the ads, the editorial material, and even the graphic design of the entire package.

The thing is, I wasn’t reading comics when this particular comic came out; I wasn’t even reading when it was published. I was just two years old, and I lived in a different country altogether, so the idea that I passively picked up some of the visual cues from somewhere else in my life at the time. (If nothing else, I’m not sure two-year-olds really notice a lot of graphic design in the first place, especially not passively; I could be wrong, though.)

It’s possible that I’m actually nostalgic for the situation in which I first read said comic — which, in this case, was finding it amongst a pile of comics in a used bookstore in Glasgow’s West End, during a Christmas break from high school, and being thrilled that it was so goofy and so affordable, all of which feels like something that I really have every right to be nostalgic about, to be honest — but I really don’t think that’s it. My affection, my feeling of time-gone-by enniu, is specifically tied to the mid-1970s, and the circumstances it first appeared in, despite my inability to have any claim to that in any legitimate sense.

Is it entirely imagined, then? Am I over-romanticizing something that I’m just making up in my head? Perhaps — but it feels real, nonetheless, this silly affection for a time and a place I never was.

Bar The Shouting

The most surprising thing about Saturday’s call that Joe Biden had won the election wasn’t really the actual call, of course; after that first 24 hours or so, it had been becoming slowly but convincingly clear that Biden was more than likely going to take it barring any kind of over-the-top shenanigans on the part of the Trump campaign and administration. Which isn’t to suggest that there was no chance that such shenanigans would take place — one only has to look at what has been happening in Trump world over the last few months, and increasingly over the last week or so, to see that shenanigans are definitely on the menu over there.

But still; by Friday, it felt as if there would be little way to overcome Biden’s lead without it being something that would be both all-too-obviously a cheat and roundly rejected by the country as a whole. His victory seemed more or less in the bag; it was just a question of when, not if.

The surprise, then, was watching everyone’s reactions to it. Perhaps I’m too cynical and jaded, but I didn’t expect spontaneous public parties across the country, never mind across the world. I didn’t expect to spend hours on social media, just scrolling and looking at the relief and joy of people who realized that their very existences weren’t going to be actively legislated against anymore. (Yes, Biden and Harris are, to be polite, imperfect options; they’re also a hell of a lot better than Trump and Pence, and the weird “what about”-ism that’s argued otherwise from both sides of the spectrum has been gross and sickening for the last few months.)

I wasn’t alone, either; the feeling of recognition as people continually came up with counterpoints to the term “doomscrolling” to explain their inability to stop looking at other people’s relief and pleasure. (“Dreamscrolling” was my favorite, although “joyscrolling” was more popular.)

More surprising than anything, though, was the feeling of hope that came from watching everyone’s response. More so than the win itself, watching the reaction to it made me hopeful that we’re headed on the right track, after years of it feeling the very opposite. And, even more hopefully, that we’re ready to do the work that needs to be done, at least in part.