I shouldn’t read the internet before I go to bed. I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. But I do. Why? I don’t know. It’s easy? My phone is right there in my hand. I can scroll through all my social media threads, read excerpts from news stories, catch up on pop culture, know what all my people are up to, all with very little fuss or bother. It suits my current attention span which is somewhere around ADHD-addled toddler on a sugar high. And it can be funny, occasionally informative.
But then, there wrong. There is so much wrong on the internet. I am a serious, experienced, knowledgeable user of the internet and I have seen more accidental porn in the two weeks since I signed up for Instagram than I have in the almost nine years I have been on Twitter. And there are the assholes, the ever present assholes – the creepy ones, the angry ones, the violent ones. There are the objectivists and the men’s rightists and the white supremacists, and the people yelling about chem trails and FEMA camps – all the usuals.
Last night, I read something which made me so angry, I thought my head would come off my shoulders. It was a thing so mean and small-minded and ill-spirited and so hypocritical, it roused in me that special kind of righteous anger I get when I witness a bully at work. I didn’t say anything. I remembered I don’t have to RSVP to every internet fight invitation I receive. And I went to bed.
And then I woke up about 3:30 a.m. I was restless. I was nauseous, again. And that thing that had been said, that wrong, wrong, thing, was stuck in my head. And so, I turned my phone on. I was going to bury this wrong person in a mountain of facts and data and piles of precise and illuminating sentences. I was going to use my brain like a baseball bat and beat this person with it unmercifully until they cried out in apology. And then I remembered this is the internet. And so, I stopped.
But, I was awake and there was no sign of sleep and my stomach hurt. I laid in bed and scrolled through archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and the Twitter feed of my favorite comedians and fell into a rabbit hole of Waylon Jennings live performances on YouTube. The sun came up and finally I was drowsy and so I fell asleep, finally, listening to a lecture on P vs nP.
My day has been shot. I’ve taken two naps. I can’t write. My stomach still hurts. And there are still people being wrong on the internet. There are always people being wrong on the internet. I really need to stop reading the internet before bed.