It is inherently unabashed, the selfie. It has this I Don’t Care I’m Vain aspect I’ll Even Do It Publicly, then push it to my friends. And it’s true, once you embrace the vanity it can set you free to be your real, Vain Self.
Now unemployed and losing track of the days, getting closer to my dog and writing about it, today we set out mid-morning to the foothills to explore dark forest pockets, dramatic dew. I opened the sun roof to see if the fog would come inside the car and sure enough it did, it was the freezing kind of fog that can kill or transform you, so I turned up the heat. And three times I restarted the Dinosaur Jr. CD because the first song just KILLS, and each time I restarted it it got louder, until I caught myself leaning forward with my wrist wrapped around the wheel like a sea monkey, that’s what my hand looked like a hook, and when the chorus came up my head shot straight out of the sun roof through the open hole in the car and my eyes bugged out screaming, YAY-AH!, the revelry of punk anger at just the right timbre, the dog stares back not blinking.
The dog moves close to the ground, sniffing, an economy of diet and movement, sometimes smiling with her tongue when she lets it hang sideways, they really know how to sweat right, dogs, no body odor just scents, no need for perfumes or sticks. No need for shampoo either, and I’m well into a test with my own hair now to see how long I can go. I can finally get it to look like mid-80s Johnny Depp or Morrissey, like it’s exploded and froze suddenly mid-air, like I stepped on a land mine, unflappable.
And like the dog I push myself up the hill now hobbling, relentlessly curious, whittling away the layers to get right down to it, the essence of living and hiking and blogging, the more you carve away the more you’ll find.
The Volvo is now 25 years old and exempt from emissions testing, either an antique or a classic, but the Volvo is Hard On Brakes because it’s heavy and fast, and the brakes smell like burned popcorn after. I like singing and dancing in the Volvo when I’m driving because it’s like doing it publicly but not really: people only get a glimpse, which is why it’s safe picking your nose at high speeds or on quiet roads. The public practice can garner you some Likes or Comments, but most won’t even notice as they go about their well-trained route, thumbing their devices and bumping their Feed Bars for more juice.
And so the blog is like tuning your instrument but going so far as to record and distribute it, even expecting accolades, some chimed applause because that’s what we do now, we take pictures of ourselves and say look who I am, I just realized it.
Inspired by a scene from Dave Eggers’s first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, featuring the protagonist and his kid brother rocking out to a Journey song in their car alongside the cliffs near San Francisco, in the fog.