“This Dog Just Can’t Wait To Go Swimming.” “Tips for Getting Raped.” “So, I passed Chuck Norris on the highway.” “At least it happened in Anatomy Lab.” “Instead of leaking celebrity photos we could leak pdf versions of college textbooks? Idk just an idea.” A set of 39 gifs of various people, Mr. Rogers included, flipping off the camera for “when you need to share the little bit of rage inside of you.”
An hour and an uncounted number of Imgur posts later, whatever exhausted me so much that I had to collapse onto the couch with my laptop feels distant. A lot of things do. Such as the glass of water just past my arm’s reach or the light switch four feet away. I live in a studio apartment roughly a mile away from work. It takes less than five minutes to get to the grocery, a movie theatre, and most restaurants I could want. Nothing is distant, but I try really hard for it to be sometimes. I do a lot of scrolling down.
A white, uncluttered kitchenette. “There is nothing peanut butter and a spoon can’t fix.” Pumpkin Bars. A picture of a door: Thorncroft Chapel. 50 tiny and adorable DIY Stocking Stuffers. “Love those green chairs!” Buffalo Chicken Wanton Cups. Great shoes; love the red and love the height.
I can’t be the only one scrolling down so much because Pinterest is a thing and BuzzFeed is still publishing The Definitive Rankings of the World’s Hottest Gay Rugby Players (“Fancy a ruck?”). I might scroll past that one, but probably not past “15 times Tina Fey Got Real with Us.” 15 is a lot, though, and the pictures are big and the internet slow—so we scroll.
21 Times New Zealand Proved It Was Funnier Than Us All (“Does New Zealand even exist?”). 15 Of The Strangest Song Samples In Music History (“Oh, you put airhorn in your song? That’s cool.”). 16 Things No One Wants To Tell You About Being A Woman (“You’ll be slut-shamed.”).
Because I own the boldly-named but poorly moused Aspire netbook, I prefer to use my keyboard to scroll. A twitch of my ring finger on the key with an upside down triangle sends the computer to shifting, the page shimmying downward. Others might depend on their touchpad or an iPhone screen, skimming a finger over the surface, controlling what’s visible. Skim. What’s next. Scan. What’s new. Down. Past. Through. Scroll.
Sometimes I don’t even notice all the prepositions are capitalized on BuzzFeed and that proper nouns rarely are on Imgur. Call it self-preservation, but I rarely stop to look at the titles long enough to see them. There’s so much available and so much of it is detritus. So we scroll.
Elaine Schnabel (’11) spent her twenties traveling, blogging, and earning various master’s degrees. Now earning her PhD at the University of North Carolina in organizational communication, Elaine researches and writes at the intersection of religion and communication. You can find her blogging at Religious (Not Crazy).