ha’bir’day to us, mr. william s. burroughs

mermaid goblet

Old Bill and I celebrated our birthdays last Monday. I’m guessing he spent the day passed out, after a naked lunch, on junk and scotch in the Afterlife; while I was spoiled by the women in my tribe, all day (and we went to dinner that night…er, dressed).

There were so many presents by the end of the work day that, on Tuesday, I had to ask one friend to help me get them all down to the Dinah Beach Yacht club’s pontoon and my dinghy, in her pickup truck. I rowed my loot home at dusk, slipping through a crack in the wall between rain showers and thunderstorms, where the oil of the sun came leaking out.

Sadgroves Creek

Among the pressies was a pre-loved iPhone, so my Instagram account—created, and used briefly, in October 2016, when my brother let me take his spare phone along for a weekend in NYC…oh, Tallulah, I feel a digression coming along…

*I ended up staying a week…spent my second day working as a labourer, helped shift 2 dozen large paintings from a warehouse to a gallery in Brooklyn; stayed at a crash pad in Queens—se habla Español—with 8 other people, and having the best time hanging out with, mostly, Colombians…but this deserves its own story)*

—is active again. Though I am still very much a cautious, shy, laconic Instagram poster. And hashtags baffle me. Some people put so many hashtags on each post that soon Instagram will have to invent meta-hashtags to help you navigate the hashtags…

There should be an app where they’ve simply hashtagged the entire dictionary, and you can just copy-paste all 171,476 words to accompany each photo or video you post…just to, you know, get it over with…find everyone by looking up everything, every time.

January letter mail drop

I’m slowly learning to edit and post photos with the phone…frustrating for someone who’s used a DSLR most of her life; but have been unexpectedly enjoying playing around with some of the filters and with Picmonkey’s phone app, which is like the lobotomised version of Picmonkey for laptops.

Friends have already warned me that it’s addictive, but I think I have a few weapons against that, up my sleeve. For one thing, I am a fast typist on my Macbook, and I really hate the clumsy pawing at teeny-tiny letters on a greasy, fingerprinted glass screen with my fat fingers. I tried to Google the Philippine city of Davao, and Auto-Correct wanted to know, “Did you mean ‘Satan’?”

Also, my eyesight seems to get worse every year; if I have to run around looking for my glasses every time the phone dings, just to be told that so-and-so liked this-or-that, and commented such-and-such, to whom…forget it, I simply do not have the patience.

“If someone has died, the people around can ring me,” I mutter….and if no one has died, then it can wait till the hour that I check social media in the evening.

Social media aside, though, I am charmed by the iPhone’s uses as a tool. The camera is good and convenient. It has been nice to carry my e-mail, bank, and Etsy accounts in my pocket. And I am a data hound who loves bar graphs, charts, and statistics, so I have been tripping on all the apps for monitoring, counting, and averaging everything…from my sleep patterns, to the number of words typed for the Morning Pages that I usually write at midnight, on most nights of the week.

N.B. The sleep app is dodgy and I have removed it…I woke up feeling fantastic nearly every morning last week, but the little bar graphs tell me that I have been “awake” for several hours every night, that my sleep quality has been “poor,” and that I am in “debt” to the tune of 8 hours of sleep..! Which is, of course, hogwash: imagine! owing myself sleep from the start of the week, and this app wants me to “repay” it! So I deleted it.


Though I must confess that, two nights ago, I was awakened by the sound of my own voice speaking a strange cat’s language of mewing chirrups and musical ‘prrring-krring’.

So maybe the phone isn’t entirely to blame for believing that I have been up half the night, talking to Bast.


6 thoughts on “ha’bir’day to us, mr. william s. burroughs

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