The Pacific Ocean is bigger on an iPhone 7 screen than it is anywhere else. If you are at, on, or in the real Pacific Ocean, it’s really no bigger than Lake Michigan; you can’t touch the bottom or see the other side anyway.
If you are flicking across the surface of the world on Google Earth, you see that it covers about one third of the planet’s total surface area. You can position the globe such that scarcely any land is visible around the edges. Though it’s not technically the farthest from land (that would be Point Nemo at 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W), somewhere above 9°0′S 157°0′W or thereabout is a vantage point from which it looks like the entire world is being swallowed.
I suppose one comfort that the immensity of the ocean could bring is that, unless you’re in Guam, you’re probably nowhere near the Mariana Trench and Challenger Deep, especially not the eastern basin very close to 11°22.4′N 142°35.5′E, the abyss of the abyss, the deepest part of the deepest part of the deepest trench in the sea.
When you’re flicking on the screen, you could encounter this bastard at any moment, and my heart skips a beat nearly every time I do. Even in an image of the surface, it is so impossibly dark. It doesn’t help that, if you plug Challenger Deep or its coordinates into the search bar, the app will dolly in at a speed that feels like you are about to plunge into it.
I get restless at night. My brain flickers awake for the first time of the day, and it feels like I’m thinking about everything I’ve ever thought about at once. I once stayed up an entire night trying to envision what a certain shape would look like if rotated in three dimensions. I spent another entire night concocting ice cream flavors. It happens all the time. Maybe it sounds whimsical, but this shit sucks.
I heard somewhere that if you lie completely still for fifteen minutes, you will fall asleep; your body and mind will shut down. I’m not clear on the finer points of this. I figure that something small and barely somatic like scratching my nose or swallowing my saliva won’t set the clock all the way back, but some nights I’m too deprived of sleep and have something too important the next day to risk such a move. I think that thinking so hard about not moving is probably at least just as unconducive to falling asleep as actually moving, but I also think that maybe this fifteen-minute rule is just not a very good rule.
So a lot of the time, I grab my phone to give my brain something to do, figuring that the glow of the screen is less of a threat to my chances of getting adequate rest than the glow of my neurons. My favorite pastime when I should be sleeping is, for whatever reason, learning stuff about geography, mostly human geography. Wikipedia and Google Earth are excellent resources for this. I’m fascinated by towns I’ve never heard of and borders I never realized collided (China and Afghanistan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, shit!). Regrettably, sometimes, this scrupulous research gets us to the ocean. Wikipedia and Google Earth can place you at an unnatural proximity to some terrifying things.
Stygian blue is not a color. Not like not a color in the way that someone might say black is not a color when you say it’s your favorite. I mean it doesn’t exist, or at least, it’s two colors. It’s not a color. It’s essentially a shade of blue as dark as the blackest black. This isn’t possible under normal circumstances, but there’s a pretty easy way to conjure it. It requires staring at what’s called a fatigue template, in this case good old Christian yellow (255, 255, 0), for thirty seconds or so and then looking at a neutral background, in this case black. This temporarily desensitizes your eyes to yellow light, meaning that what remains is pure blue that when projected onto black is impossibly dark.
I heard somewhere that certain neurons only fire in darkness, when you’re unable to see. Support for this seems to be a little shaky from what I’ve found, or really from what I haven’t found. If it’s true, that would explain a lot about why I can’t sleep. Even if it’s not true, it’s poetic. Some guy on Reddit even had night terrors about this color, which… I guess we all have our demons. I have some degree of insomnia and apparently also thalassophobia.
Jeffrey (‘17) ultimately settled on studying film and media studies and French, though food is his greatest passion. He lives in Grand Rapids and is trying to teach himself computer science so he can, among other things, cyberbully Elon Musk.