IS THE COUNTER CULTURE BEING LIVED OFFLINE?

AE2

Source.

So I’m going through this “thing” right now.

It’s really not all that bizarre or troublesome, unless you tend to be the worrying type, like me. I do this thing when I worry that drives Ross absolutely nuts, and it is this: I scratch the back of my neck, and pull little hairs out as I do. Nasty business, but I’ve almost downgraded it to hair-twirling, which he says reminds him of Bunny Lebowski. I say it could be worse. I could take all those little neck hairs and make a mustache, and then I’d remind him of Hitler.

The thing is: I’ve fallen out of love with the Internet.

I know, I know I know. Nothing new here. My queasiness over the Internet is totally half-baked too, because look at me! We’re talking on it right now! Until I figure out how to operate this blog through the U.S. Postal Service, well, here we are.

More specifically, I’m slowly admitting to myself (and, eh, the World Wide Web) that I’m not cut out to be a big blogger person. And I never really was. You knew that. I knew that.

I got to thinking about this because I’m tearing through a hysterical book right now called Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. The main character is this reclusive, would-be architect named Bernadette Fox, who is brilliant, hermit-like, and famous for starting the green architecture movement. Yet, 20 years ago, she dropped her career entirely. Just left.

I’m beginning to feel that way.

No, no – not the brilliant part, silly. We’re not exactly operating Wikipedia over here. Just how you can be so terribly invested in something, and then? You’re not.

This isn’t a goodbye post for Austin Eavesdropper. It’s a Brokeback Mountain-relationship we have with each other: we just can’t quit ourselves.

But a while back, say, 2007-2011, I (secretly) thought that the whole goal of this blog was to get quasi-Internet famous, and then I could work in bed with my bunny slippers on and resolve the conflict between the work sphere and the domestic sphere. Or eat bon bons! 

I do work for myself now, but it’s not operating this blog. I scored a writing gig last year with a company that no longer exists, my first writing “client,” and this was how they found me: Googling “Austin blog.”  (If you want to quit your day job, start a blog.) I wrote for them as much as I could and looked for other clients on the side, and that’s what I do now, full-time. I’ve morphed into a self-employed copywriter. And it’s awesome! Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’m like, for fuck’s sake, REALLY! I get to do this FOR REAL? Thank you, Universe!

My clients are amazing and I gave myself a raise, so quitting my job to work for myself was the best decision I ever made. And it was made possible by this blog. It’s my little engine that could, my lighthouse in the sea, my turn-of-the-century-metaphor-of-your-choosing. Blog, I love you! You are virtual, but that won’t stop me from air-hugging you.

But the reason I’ve kind of skipped town from the blogosphere lately is this: I got oddly obsessed with aerial silks. And movement in general.

So here we are at the beginning.

The reason I worry is this: It was this blog that helped me do everything good professionally. It made my Dream Life come true. But these days, each time I get a burst of creativity…do I blog? No. I slam the laptop shut, and go bounding toward the nearest dangling fabric.

Which seems unwise, right?

Impractical?

Try as I might to listen to that nagging business coach inside my head, the one that says, “if you want to stay relevant, you have to keep posting!” I’m just spending less and less time on the Internet, y’all.

At the expense of effective self-branding, I figure that every moment I spend on the computer is a moment I could be learning some freaky new silks climb that will probably cause me to fall on my head at first, but it’s ok. Ditto for yoga. Ditto for all the dance classes in this ridiculously great city.

I fell in love with Austin because people were out there, doing so much. It was this vibrant counter culture, and I longed to be a part of it. I used to sit on top of a stool at Quacks, drinking my coffee and looking out the picture window onto 43rd Street, and be like, whoa. I  just saw an ARTIST walk by. Wild hair and everything! I was still pretty square, but at least I could sit inside that bakery and be artist-adjacent.

That memory reminded me of this interview recently with Douglas Rushkoff. He said something that I’ve been holding onto for a few months now: “the counter culture is all offline now.”

Maybe that’s an overstatement. (Hi, Reddit!), but then again? Maybe it’s not.

What do you think?

All I can say is: Now that I’m spending less time on the Internet and more time out in the world…I feel like those wild-haired people walking down 43rd Street. Which is to say, I’ll always write. And I’ll always Internet-write. I’m a whore for your Facebook likes, your comments too.

But I feel like something deep and whole is moving in. Whether I’m in down dog or flipping around on the cloth, just enjoying these little offline pleasures that are available to anyone, I’m out of the Internet echo chamber and something is being healed.

Something got called back.