An Ode To Instagram Fatigue

Legs locked, pale, dress like a folded napkin. Hands stretched to the step behind you. Inquiring tilt to head, cherry mouth with an open secret. Boredom. Being bored. Looking momentarily more so by the press of the camera’s attention. It crushes. It makes four posts a day feel great – the same lizard-print top in two, though couched in the extra skin of a jacket, leather, perhaps not – but there is Etsy to point to. Followers aren’t hollow. They just resonate meaningfully, and BOOSH, bless them for it. 

Here, now, the swollen crowds are just a fly buzz, a skittish effect that serves the fact you are not moving, no cause to, in the jam of the city. Just lean. Smoking is fine sometimes. The slow tendrils of a stump go well with your glasses. Or you can laugh at a thing. Any. As long as the smile isn’t deliberate. And have an entourage for nights after, when the fear of deliberative action must be calmed with others like you. The bar-booth is neat. Damn, this velvet . . . but do not smile. What people want to see is gorgeousness and boredom, so they themselves can be bored with what they have. You are heroic. So pose. But don’t. Learn to be effortless. Drinks are bought and carefully sipped.  

Naked, almost, in the afternoon. A rack of blinds helps the light sluice your body from neck to knee. Gold has become you. The leotard in the draw. Try it. Expose the elephant tattoo, where heavy eyes of the world peer from wrinkles in Sanskrit. No-one else knows the maker. It just turned up on you one day, through a soapy bath picture, and that’s been fun. Seeing the guesses. Watching people discuss a bubble of personality in a big world. Duvet sinks. You bend, arch, feel the material hug your ribcage. Sepia was made for the vanity of a bedroom and that’s why we aren’t sleeping. Side mirror angled to your silhouette, on the screen, the curves you worked for on the treads of a gym where makeup had to be scrubbed for something better. Fuck, the fucking wall-hanging’s too low, SHITSAKE – 

And the black-haired boy in shorts: you are the same. Raven-dark maybe, but playing too much in the fluorescents, pinning skin to muscle with a held breath. Abs like tiny punching bags. Selfie strength maximal. And later with buds in a hot tub, you hold a Budweiser even though it’s not your thing, leaving mouth parted. Crawl a hand around the shoulder of another kid, so your flesh is more whole.  

This used to be interesting. We hadn’t before seen ourselves in such colourful, suspended dramatics, where Nike and cheek powder and staircases could model our influence anew to fans we’d never meet. Yet I scroll and there is nothing left – no admiration, no joy. The house is too crowded. Men and women line the floors sniffing hearts from their feeds as their sponsors ring the door, ding-a-ling urgent, taking their queue spots like good gentlemen. There is you, and a thousand like you. Ten thousand. Forgive me for not caring. I’m just a tourist.