From Superwoman to Supersloth in Four Moves
I just received an email from a friend and erstwhile colleague. After much deliberation she has decided not to assist me with a marketing plan; her mother is unwell, her daughter is doing a major exam this year and with funding (and therefore resource) cuts, her job has suddenly become even more demanding. Whatever happened to etype and superwoman? Remember those of us who managed fulltime careers, childrearing, housekeeping, gourmet cuisine and Ikebana and kept ourselves stimulating, sexy and slim! Perfection!
I know what happened. Some of us saw the light before the collapse, created new lives and our own businesses, went to rock concerts with the kids, dispatched the vacuum cleaner and Le Creuset, exchanged Kafka for kaftans, bras for bare breasts and gave away the size eights. There was enough money in being entrepreneurial and we had enough time to lie on the beach and eat ice cream without guilt.
My career as an artist and writer grew. I took the first byte of an apple in 1987 – a trendy Mac Plus, went back to university and scrolled unix codes on an ‘under construction’ information super highway until a dog called Fetch began retrieving for me. Smart bitch. Mosaic paved the way, software morphed and I gave up the easel for a Wacom and spent more time on my bum than on the beach. Screen time grew along with the waistline. Time passed. I wrote less on the creative edge and made art even less often.
And then what happened? I know what happened. Suddenly, and just as Terence McKenna predicted, the world wide web had spread its sticky filaments into every waking moment. Wetware was on the horizon – the connective tissue of the new world order and I had fallen into the wayside of chaos. The list of never ending things to do and all of them urgent and important kept me at the screen face until the small hours long after other tasks were left half done and cluttering house, heart and mind. I did not write a single greeting card at Christmas time although I did receive one from my only remaining (ninety year old) aunt. Making the fruitcake was a chore and the size sixteens gathered mould while I expanded ever outwards. It rained.
I had a meltdown. My life so creatively reinvented is on the edge of obscurity. I have no tour bookings on the horizon. My website languishes beneath the radar of any search engine – it is ‘under construction’. The ‘free range’ sustainable clothing range I designed for women just like me falters. The book I am writing stares at me accusingly from its folder on the desktop and my credit card threatens to swallow any income for the foreseeable future! All good non-sustainable fuel for any meltdown.
My life post Le Creuset has somehow missed the next move. The answer is simple. I am not i-friendly; I do not own an iphone, ipad, ipod or even have an ilife. Google is too big for my boots. I have fewer than one hundred friends on facebook (shame), I do not tweet and my blog no longer ‘shares’ seamlessly – it is now entirely dependent on circles that insidiously appeared one night and in ever expanding complexity.
The truth of it is that I do not have time to maintain or entertain more than the five friends with whom I am in contact somewhat irregularly. I could not begin to contemplate the 150 that evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorises is the maximum number of friendships that the human mind is capable of handling, let alone the thousands that some boast of on facebook. I do not have time to create circles or i-dle chat. I am too busy reordering my office, constructing a website, writing a book, promoting a business, designing the next range of clothes and attending to the ever expanding list of things to do – along with the waistline!
What happens next? Well today I will be slothful and hang by my toes, gaze on the half done, undone, not-ever-to-be done and dream of lying on the beach eating ice cream with the Jabberwocky. Thank you Lewis Carroll for landing in my hands as I cleared the bookshelf. This state of affairs is, after all, a nonsense of my own creation. Brillig! Enjoy!
‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.