I don’t usually drink on Tuesday evenings, though then again I don’t usually start drinking at 2:30, even on weekends. But today was a special occasion – the official official announcement that Major League Soccer (MLS), the top soccer league in the country, is coming at last to my hometown of Austin, Texas. It’s been a long road, littered with the roadkill of multiple previous lower-league attempts (RIP, “Aztex”, a truly terrible name that we nevertheless supported wholeheartedly during its two brief incarnations). It was always clear that we wouldn’t get a top-flight team here until some rich person came to town and decided that’s what they wanted, and sure enough, here he is. It’s a couple more years until we’ll get to see them on the field, but that’s all right. I’ve been waiting, and I can keep waiting. I heard the league commissioner, the owner, and Austin’s mayor – plus gloriously ridiculous Alexi Lalas, as well – say this was going to happen, and though that doesn’t really seem like it could be real, it seems more like a dream or something I’d watch happen on a livestream from some other city, this swag on the table came from somewhere. I mean, someone was giving away Heineken (until thank god it ran out and they let us have non-MLS-sponsor but tastier beer, e.g., 512 Oatmeal Stout) all afternoon. So here’s to it actually, for real, can-you-believe-it happening. 🍺 ⚽️
We’re taking our daughter back to college today. She had an eventful winter break, featuring a ten-day study-abroad trip in Germany, with an added few days in Vienna for fun with a friend who also went. It’s been exciting, for us vicariously as well, but I’m also glad to return to normal, such as it is. Though my wife also starts a new job next week, so maybe I shouldn’t count my normal-returns before they’re hatched. Thankful that these are good things that are interrupting that normalcy. This year is getting off to a good start and I’m feeling pretty optimistic about what it holds for us. Though I’m superstitious enough about jinxing myself that it’s taking real effort to not delete that before publishing this, ha ha.
Did some thinking this morning about what I want to do here, in my morning pages writing (a practice I’ve found to be valuable; I should write about that sometime). I was trying to understand a justification, a why, for this urge to write more personally and at more length. And the old “who cares what you had for lunch?” question came to mind.
One effect of that attitude was to dismissively discourage people from sharing anything mundane or non-fabulous. And another, further effect is the tendency to only post the good stuff, the living-my-best-life stuff. The artfully composed and beautifully filtered Instagram pictures of an amazing lunch. Now you’ve answered the question of who cares about what you had for lunch, because look at it, it’s a masterpiece!
But then people do look at it, among the dozens of other jealousy-inducing pictures of fantastic meals in their feed. And maybe they start feeling a little bad about their own plain, non-amazing meals. Which they’re certainly not going to share on social media now, it would be embarrassing. Next week, on vacation in Hawaii, there might be an Instagram-worthy lunch, but not today.
So the tendency drives what’s published to ever more rarified heights, while also keeping people from sharing their more genuine lives. But on the other hand, would I follow a random person who posted boring pictures of uninteresting lunches? No, probably not. It’s no strategy to increase social media “engagement” or grow followers or go viral, that’s for sure. But why do those have to always be everyone’s goals?
Because what I realized is that I would like to see my friends, the people I actually know, post more about their lives. Not every meal, not even every lunch, but the occasional boring, mundane glimpse would be great.
I’ve been thinking I’d like to write more, and more personally, here on my blog. I like Micro.blog, and I like having my tweets (most of them) originate here. But it’s still only been just tweet-style stuff: links with an excerpt, or a joke or pithy comment. I have some hang-up about opening up too much, but lately, at least, I’ve become so tired of nobody ever doing it that I guess it’s kind of getting to me.
I also have come to feel like writing anything online is a big effort, that requires a lot of work and planning and thought and polish. And the other side of that coin is how it may or may not be received – who and how many read it, like it, comment, retweet, etc. Which for me, somewhat to my dismay, is rarely ever many folks. So there’s high effort on one side, and low reward on the other. The result of that calculus is unsurprising: silence.
After hearing her on a recent Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, I listened to an old comedy album by Maeve Higgins on Spotify. It was odd and not super funny, but it had its moments. She admits right up front that her style is more rambling storyteller than punchline-joke-deliverer, and that’s accurate. But a turn of phrase in one of her stories stuck with me. She said that she and her sister used to think people who used potpourri were “try-hard losers”, and they laughed at them behind their backs.
I think the barb of the comment was directed at herself and her sister much more than it was at potpourri people. And it’s kind of muddled to me so I’m sure it will be to anyone who comes across this (I mean, talk about rambling), but something about that scoffing aloofism resonated with how jaded I feel – and think many of us have become – in particular as members of the online “communities” we’re in.
So. I’ve disconnected automatic crossposting to Twitter of everything I write here (or I think I have, anyway); going to try to get back to being a try-hard loser for a while.