We’ll always have Paris (and social anxiety)
I was sick and dreaming through a heavy sweat, an overnight fever. Accompanying me: shells, shrouds, ghosts, and ghouls, filing cabinets of half-lives and quarter-turns forsaken in a long arc of cautious decisions and a hundred more reckless. There is a monastery, a stethoscope, a field of green turf lined with white chalk. There is short-hand and quick-lived regret: the bottles of domestic I wish the disposal could have consumed before I laid my fingers around the cold and frosty glass, the broad shoulders of a friend in derision I could have shook about for days. An ice cream cone I should have shared with that golden-doodle. All of the words I should have said: yes, fucking no, what are you doing on Friday, wait for me, go without me, don’t wait for me, go away, leave me alone, don’t leave me, especially not tonight, stay with me, never leave me.
Regret will find you, finds me. From brunch envy to a career overhaul, next door there is the ghost of a master gardener absolutely destroying my naive sense of curb appeal. There is always something else. Always another HBO show that guts me, a host of Men’s Health bylines that promise nuclear bedroom magic, a male celebrity that looks better with long hair, and a camper-van with 800 square feet (the secret is behind a paywall). Another blip to illicitly capture my attention.
I knew I needed to quit Instagram when I had begun to regret Cabo without ever thinking twice about it before. I mean, we’ll always have Paris, an identity that precedes our next viewing of daytime television’s ‘Wheel of Social FOMO!’ We will always have Paris, meaning, we will always have that which moors us to ourselves, sticks us to each other. The core, the anchor, the innate sense of self, pull back the curtain, rip off the facade, the mask & cape, and there is nothing but…Paris. I think it is the expression of core values, the basement-bedrock feeling of personhood, that is going to keep me from undue and ill-timed feelings of regret. Despite all this, I still know how to find Paris, can still feel it deep in my chest.