#287: In

February 26th, 2014

It’s cold. So I’m going in.

In isn’t just inside. It’s the 21st-century condition. “In” is in a room in an apartment, motionless, staring at a screen and occasionally thinking I thought something.

In the last few hours, I read about actors I like, movies I’ve watched, video games I’ve at least heard of. I’ve read about historical serial killers, presidents who were sort of cool when younger, archeological hoaxes. I’ve looked at photos of people screaming at haunted houses and stuff that made George Takei chuckle.

And nothing, I repeat, nothing that challenged anything I thought before.

Old listicles I’ve already read. Gag-a-day webcomics I know by heart. Video game levels I know how to beat. Sites I know will laugh at my political foes in comforting memes I see, know and understand. Much sequestration. So mental protectionism. Wow.

I don’t have to go out of my comfort zone any more than I have to go out of this apartment. I’m down a rabbit hole of selected trivia where a Buzzfeed quiz makes me Henry Miller’s soul mate, a Cracked writer seems a genius for agreeing with my opinion on recycling and a Wikipedia article told me the story of the German general who told Hitler to fuck himself.

My last two searches were for astrolabes and for people who thought they were werewolves. And then to xkcd so stick figures could assure me this level of specific obsession is normal.

No beliefs challenged. No lessons learned. A comforting view of a selected world that only matches my perceptions. Outside is cold, bleary, challenging. Here I win quizzes for naming voice actors and everyone is neatly divided into Harry Potter characters based on their choice of sandwich and shoe.

In rules. In is fun. I’m always right in. I’m the center of a world I chose to surround me, envelop my senses, keep me, well, in.

In breaks my heart.

I’m not Hermione Granger and Henry Miller probably wouldn’t have much to do with me. General von Lettow-Vorbeck would think I’m a wuss and I would have to go to England for any astrolabe collection of note.

Liking a show doesn’t put me in a “fandom.” It just puts me in, probably on the couch.

When it warms, I’ll rampage through this town, collecting stories and life to put up here for you. But circumstances put me in for a night, with warmth, comfort and a screen that flashes images I curate to make me think the world outside matches the one in my head.

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You are currently reading #287: In by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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