Discover more from Inane Consumption
Boring consumptions & the start of a story about the dying of small things
I’ve been re-consuming more lately: playing through old games, rewatching old TV shows, and obsessing over Hop Along lyrics like it was my livelihood.
Playing through Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD & Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind (or whatever the actual complete long names are). I’m reminded of how gonzo the actual story is, like they keep saying words that correctly fit into sentences and yet mean nothing. Anyway, maybe it’s because my gaymer status has increased or the fact that these are games for literal kids, but they’re not as hard as they once were. Somewhere in that is a great metaphor for aging, I don’t care to make it though.
Watching season 2 of Drag Race. I think if you told someone in 2010 that Drag Race would become an international sensation and that by 2023 our biggest national conversation would be whether or not trans people deserve basic human rights, they’d shoot you in the face.
Some new consumptions
The Adventure Zone’s first campaign. It’s really good! I’ve been reading the graphic novels primarily but then got to a point where they were no longer current so dove in at the end of the first campaign to listen to the final arcs. Usually, I can’t listen to D&D podcasts, even though I like the fundamental concept of world-building that TTRPGs provide. Primarily they’re too fucking long. 2 hours of uninterrupted talking, that’s only reserved to me when I’m drunk!
Mrs. Davis. I’m only two episodes in right now so can’t give an accurate answer as to whether or not I actually like it. I can say it seems to be doing the same thing that Rabbithole (another TV show about algorithms and spy stuff) wants to do, but like making it actually fun to watch.
The Diplomat. Good TV, no notes.
Honkai: Star Rail I didn’t think it was possible for another gacha game to break the hold Cookie Run Kingdom has on me, but sadly here we are…
Francis Forever I’ve been repeating the lyric “I don't need the world to see
/That I've been the best I can be, but/I don't think I could stand to be
/Where you don't see me” for a while now. Once Zach playfully asked some variation of “is this what you think about all the time” and like, yes it is.
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a brief start of a story about the dying of small things
I met L in the back patio of an Austin dive bar, whose name I no longer remember. It was late summer: the dark heat of the night stretched out above our sweaty bodies, stale and unmoving.
My friends abandoned me for a new dance spot three streets over. I didn’t join, a consequence of having bad knees which threatened to give way under the slightest bit of stress or movement. As a child I dislocated one of them running around the house during a hurricane. I spent the powerless days laying on the couch and moaning. A year later I dislocated the other in middle school, a time of my life I never wish to repeat again.
L said he came here a lot. “They pour strong but cheap drinks,” he said. It’s a great place to start the night, provided you don’t blackout first. By his telling his friends hadn’t abandoned him, he abandoned them. “I’m a conscientious objector,” he said. “Refusing to dance unless it’s my own original decision.”
My read was different. I figured he was about three drinks in and no longer had the sense of coordination needed to move from this picnic table to the sidewalk and back down the street to the dance spot where my friends, and his, were currently finishing the night. Instead, he was resigned to haunt this spot for apathetic gays nursing suicidal ideation with a steady stream of vodka sodas.
We talked for an hour, maybe two. L said he was finishing up his degree, something to do with Entomology. I told him I was afraid of bugs—too many legs—and he pretended that was the first time he had ever heard that joke. We rode home together and tried, but failed, to have sex. He let me stay over and in the morning we grabbed biscuits from a food truck that used too much gravy.
I was with him for six years.
When I broke up with him he wrote me a long letter (by hand and with citations) explaining how all the bugs were dying. He wrote about the shrinking rainforests and how scientists knew that certain bugs must exist, even if they’d never been seen before. Soon, he wrote, things will die we never knew existed. Kingdoms and phylum and species more delicate than our waning interests.
The smallest things can be invaluable and yet so hard to find.
After reading his letter I kept waking up in the middle of the night, terrified there was something crucial I was forgetting to remember. I cleared out my office supplies and scribbled delirious strands of thought on postage notes. In the morning I would package each into neat little stacks, sliding them into a folder of previous nights’ notes and fears and hallucinations.
I never wrote him back. There was nothing I could say. I thought about what someone different than me might write. An apology for past wrongs, a genuine expression of love and grief, a half-hearted sympathy, to keep things on speaking terms.
Once I asked him out for drinks but never followed through.
He moved to some small university, teaching freshman-level classes between bouts of research where he would travel to the heart of rain forests to catalog dying bugs. They called themselves the Brigade of Dying Bugs and wore cute yellow patches on their work shirts of the Megadytes ducalis, a species of unique water beetle. L told me once, on his birthday, that the megadytes ducalis was special. Before 2019 only one specimen had ever been collected, in the 1800s, hundreds of years ago. When someone found more of them in Brazil it set off a surge of collectors rushing to claim their own beetle. This unique form of bug trade ultimately led to the beetle’s extinction. To him, the story symbolized the harm of reckless discovery. To me, consumption and extinction were the consequences of being known.
Once his group was covered in the New York Times Magazine. Meet the Brigade of Dying Bugs: the Scientists Cataloging our Dying Earth. He was in the center of the photo: bushy beard and broad chest, shirt half open, equipment all around him, doused in sweat and grief and joy.
They wrote about his time in Austin, studying bugs in a still-blooming world. About a man he met, years ago, who was afraid of bugs. I think a part of me, he told the interviewer, is doing this for him. Or people like him. Hopefully by cataloging each one of these dying things I can eliminate some of that fear—show him bugs are good, important, and easily forgotten but never replaced.
obligatory throw in Mitski lyric: And did you know the liberty bell is a replica
/Silently housed in its original walls/And while its dreams played music in the night
/Quietly/It was told to believe just wowwww