BOTH OF ME

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story / Anne Walls

illustration / Agata Królak

In my perfect Saturday, you can see I had brunch at a whimsically boho converted farmhouse where they serve homemade coffee cake on vintage patterned china. I then found an ironically phallic vintage lamp at a flea market, nibbled on a flaky chocolate croissant (again, served on vintage china because duh), then took a close up my dog and later the bead of condensation dripping down the side of my chilled martini glass.

In my realistic Saturday, I waited 2.5 hours for a mediocre brunch, paid way too much for someone else’s lamp, gave myself a stomachache from said chocolate pastry, and came home to a surprise pile of you know what from my otherwise-cute dog. On my carpet in our guest room. The day before my dad came to stay. Hence the martini.

Why do we do this? Why are we fixated with creating a perfect life online, one that doesn’t reflect the perfect chaos of our real, offline lives? It’s definitely a competitive thing – a sort of grown up Show & Tell where it’s a constant battle of whose life is the most effortlessly glam, shabby chic, or jet-setter posh.

Here are a few of the most common types of Insta-Offenders out there:

– THE WOE IS ME SELFIEST – WE GET IT. YOU’RE SAD. TODAY YOU’RE SAD IN BED.
YESTERDAY IN YOUR CAR. THE OTHER DAY AT THE ‘BUX. COME ON. GET HAPPY.
(AND DRINK BETTER COFFEE)

– THE FASHIONISTA – SHOES, PURSES, PERFECTLY-RIPPED JEANS, BANGLES FOR DAYS. HER CLOSET IS NOT ONLY COLOR COORDINATED, YOU KNOW HOW SHE FOLDS HER DESIGNER T-SHIRTS (HINT: SHE ROLLS THEM – FOLDING FLAT IS FOR PEASANTS)

– THE CURATED PALETTE – HAS ANYTHING EVER GONE INTO THIS PERSON’S MOUTH THAT HAS NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY IG’D? YOU KNOW WHAT… DON’T ANSWER THAT.

– THE WORKOUT NINJA – YOU WORK UP A SWEAT JUST SCROLLING THROUGH THE COPIOUS AMOUNT OF SPANDEX-CLAD HIKING/SPINNING/YOGA POSE PIX THIS CHICK POSTS. NAMASTOPIT.

– THE BABYLADY – YOU THINK IT’S THAT GIRL YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH BUT YOU’RE NOT SURE BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN HER FACE, ONLY THE SCRUNCHED, SEMI-FAMILIAR FEATURES OF HER OFFSPRING WHOSE EVERY SMILE, SCREAM, AND OTHERWISE FEATURABLE MILESTONE HAS BEEN INSTAGRAMMED FOR POSTERITY

Look – full disclosure: I’ve been guilty of most of these at one time or another. We all have. Well, everyone except for my husband. He doesn’t have a Facebook. Or an Instagram. I convinced him to get Twitter, but he only relented after setting up an account that’s a political/economic satire with 6 followers.

Sure, I catch him looking over my shoulder as I scroll through @MarnieTheDog’s latest shenanigans, but otherwise he lives a social-media free existence, and seems pretty happy about it. Instead of Instagramming what we’re about to eat…he eats it. At Christmas, he enjoyed the views of spectacular Costa Rican beach we were on with his eyes, not through his screen.

Besides the fact that he’s probably the best human I’ve ever met, he’s also one of the most patient. He has his own rhythm. When he listens, he REALLY listens. And I sometimes wonder if that’s partly because he isn’t plugged in to the interwebs 24/7 the way most of us are (well, until baseball season starts).

He inspires me to leave the phone at home sometimes. Look up at the trees. Remember with my eyes, not my IG account. Does it always work? No. But it’s helping me to live my life a little more…unfiltered.

Well, okay, maybe slightly Valencia’d.

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