[Eyes blink open. Birds chirrup outside.] Hmmm … I wonder if there’s been any more blowback over the condolence call to the Gold Star widow. [Reaches for phone.]
@pamwriter: NO! DON’T!
OK, I just want to check on Puerto Rico then. How much water, electricity …
Well then, I’ll just check the temperature outside. [Reaches for phone.]
@pamwriter no, you know where that will lead
This is not fair. Not fair at all.
@pamwriter completely, eminently fair
C’mon — just a little pick-me-up before my shower. Before this crazy crush of a day begins. I just want to see what Josh Marshall has to say about the soulless coward’s lies about —
@pamwriter NO! Think about how much time you waste EVERY SINGLE DAY trying to satisfy —
That would be #EDIFY
@pamwriter no, SATISFY SATISFY SATISFY your craving
But I need to know —
@pamwriter no you DON’T —
… whether the latest tweet from POTUS —
@ pamwriter your blood pressure is already rising —
… could lead us to World War —
@pamwriter DON’T say it!
… but what about #Noko? And #DACA? And the latest push for #TaxReform? And those paper towels? The ones he called soft and beautiful. I need —
@pamwriter no, you don’t NEED. The thing is, you are addicted —
Oh, pshaw …
@pamwriter yes, ADDICTED — to outrage. Think about how you crave it, how it takes so much more to make you feel outraged today than it did only a few months ago
But there’s so much to feel outraged about! #EveryDamnDay
@pamwriter it’s a scab you can’t leave alone
But the paper towels! Jeez! He threw them out like they were T-shirts at a basketball —
@pamwriter Your outrage is a cesspool. It’s sucked away your productivity, your ambition — your ability to connect deeply with others. It’s even drained your desire to write —
But … my inspiration is … gone.
@pamwriter precisely #Micdrop
But how can I write when our democracy is one crazed midnight tweet away from unraveling?
@pamwriter our democracy is not that frag —
I just want to check the feed. Five minutes.
@pamwriter remember what five minutes turned into yesterday? An entire morning of thumb acrobatics.
I can quit any time I want. #peeved
@pamwriter glory be … how about today?
But the #Resistance — it needs me!
@pamwriter and pray tell how retweeting the latest outrage fortifies the #Resistance?
My anger is righteous!
@pamwriter Best you get off that high horse, missy — it needs a constant supply of oats and outrage —
But these little bursts of indignation …
@pamwriter they’re like Cheetos —
They leave me momentarily satisfied, but with orange gunk on my fingers … and an ache in my throat. The only way to soothe it is to seek out more like-minded souls tweeting LET THAT SINK IN & new and imaginative uses of the word #DOTARD …
@pamwriter exactly that
I used to follow only writers and readers and thinkers. But that changed last summer, when the presidential campaign turned into a bumper-car ride.
@pamwriter and then you hopped on
I started adding political writers to the feed — pundits, pollsters, @NateSilver538 — people who could assure me that the unthinkable wouldn’t happen.
@pamwriter it happened anyway
It sent me into paroxysms of fear and anger, and WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
@pamwriter and the feed turned into a raging river
Part support group, part town square, part echo chamber, it washed over all of us. It became my outlet for shared angst and outrage.
@pamwriter you bathed in it
But outrage turned to fear, then despair, then —
@pamwriter paralysis, inaction, heavy stones lodged where your heart should have been. The overlay of terror onto sleepless nights —
… and guilt — that I should be doing more.
@pamwriter by staying glued to your device?
Really. I can quit any time I want. #miffed
@pamwriter how about now?
I should paint the bedroom, switch out my summer clothes. The pile of bills keeps growing. I feel exhausted, jittery. #OutofSorts
@pamwriter you can do this
Everything around me is the burnt color of umbrage.
@pamwriter step out — for a few hours, maybe even a whole day. See how your life can wing back to you. See how much easier it becomes to breathe — to create —
Yes, yes. But how about one super-quick peek @maddow, just to see …
@pamwriter that is not the answer.
Oh, this is hard.
@pamwriter the trees outside are in their full-throated glory
Maybe I’ll go for a walk … oh, wow. Look. The birds. So many birds!
@pamwriter remember those?
And the pale light of the morning sky, the zinnias stiffened by the first fall frost, the chalky pink behind the pin oaks. All suffused with … oh my goodness …
Pamela Schmid is a writer in St. Paul.