I’m lying on the couch trying to read with my hair all spread out to dry, just very well situated with my pillows and a cup of tea and a nice stack of reading material all ready to go at my side, and the computer is sitting maybe seven feet away (nothing in my bedroom/living room/library/office/studio is more than seven feet away from anything else), and it’s making the most pathetic little noise. It’s kind of a gurgling or a clearing of the throat, if a computer could clear its throat. It’s almost cute, except it’s not.
Since I am sitting over on the couch not touching the computer at all, I have to assume that the noise is the computer’s intermittent difficulty in performing whatever minor and constant internal maintenance tasks it performs when it’s on and asleep. I’ve always found it very poignant and endearing how the computer’s little life-light breathes in and out while it’s asleep, but the little gurgle is not a sleepy noise so much as a barely perceptible but certain death rattle, which is surprisingly saddening and maddening when its coming from the being/object you spend more time with and tell more things to than anyone else. I spend all day talking to a machine and now I have to deal with the fact that I’m talking to a dying machine.
I’m trying to enjoy my reading but I’m actually listening with most of my brain for the next little gurgle from my fitfully sleeping pathetically overworked computer, which still has more power in it than the computer that sent the first men to the moon, which begs the question of how a computer could be powerful enough to send three men to the moon and back but not powerful enough to display a few thousand pictures of my largely wasted youth without a prayer and some special precautions involving the closing of all other applications and what are becoming increasingly violent and foul-mouthed threats on my behalf, if I’m being honest with myself about the point to which this relationship has degenerated, which is a rather extreme one, I mean there is no trust here, none.
And without trust what do we really have in a relationship? Trust is the backbone, the basis, the bread and the butter. It’s the foundation. It’s the earthquake-proof resonant spring system underneath the foundation. It’s the structure, the steel girders holding up the operation, and not the steel girders a few terrorists can hastily melt with the burning fuel of two jetliners, but the new and improved steel girders awaiting placement in the Freedom Tower. Trust is the steel girders of the convoluted symbol of a nation and an empire that rises defiantly skyward yet again, steel girders I’m certain can withstand the unbelievable heat of probably more than three jetliners’ worth of burning fuel and a thunderbolt hurled by an angry God. In a world where God is a terrorist who might attempt to fell the towers of our enduring freedom, there has to be some trust, somewhere, to hold things together when they so desperately want to come apart.
Because if you have trust, you can really be yourself. If you have trust, you can let your guard down. If you have trust you can finally open up and experience real intimacy. If you have trust, you can try new things in a healthy, loving and mutually fulfilling sexual relationship. If you have trust, you can begin to experience something real, as opposed to all the other times, where you were experiencing a reflection of your projection of who you thought the other person wanted you to make them believe you were.
And if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything, not even a single-serving packet of ketchup, not even a single-serving packet of mayonnaise. Without trust, you have nothing, and not the nothing that exists in museum lobbies, a calm, echoing nothing trapped between the stone walls of the original museum and the new glass of the controversial entryway. Not the nothing of deep, outer space and not the nothing of the chatter of superficial women. The nothing we have when we don’t have trust is a cold, metallic nothing, and not the cold metallic suction of the wind before a storm, but a cold, metallic emptiness, like you might see in the eyes of an undead cyborg zombie who has committed and witnessed so many acts of mechanical brutality that its eyes were aggressively empty. When you don’t have trust, you have to consider the possibility that everyone else is an undead cyborg zombie, a possibility that engenders a certain measure of fear.
Indeed, without trust we are our most fearful selves. This causes us to run and hide in bushes where we are scraped by thorns and stung by bees. Without trust, we lob witticisms from behind walls and gates, we wear masks in houses of mirrors. We project flickering falsehoods onto screens of delusion. We hastily scribble our deepest feelings on scraps of paper, crumple them into empty bottles and cast them into seas of obfuscation, where they make a tiny splash and quickly bob out of sight, pitching on the nauseating tides of self-disgust. Without trust, we flail drunkenly in darkness, we grin toothily in clouds of smoke, we endeavor to disappear into the crowd before the next time our eyes meet, lest we give away to the untrustworthy the paltry secrets of our hardened hearts.
As I’m listening for the next little gurgle I realize that my stomach is also making gurgling sounds, and half the noises I’ve been attributing to the computer are actually coming from my own body, and as much as I do not trust the machine I also do not trust myself. It’s quite possible that I am my own worst enemy and I, too, am incapable of performing without pathetic and intermittent noise the relatively few internal maintenance tasks required of myself at rest, and I just don’t know who to blame for all of this and I just don’t know what to think except that there is no peace and quiet to be found for someone who just wants to spend a relaxing Saturday at home washing her hair and reading.