It’s been hot. It’s DC and it’s summer, so. Hot with the threat of storms. One day I was supposed to go on a boat with Seth and his parents, but it was supposed to storm, tree-ripping gusts and car-busting hail, so we walked around the Mall instead. And guess what, it didn’t storm, but it was hot, hot, hot, and we walked outside for hours. Hours. I got dizzy and headachey. Then we found ourselves indoors for the evening with a blessed river breeze. I drank two liters of water and two small glasses of champagne. Then another half liter of water. Then, with dinner, two more glasses of water…
At a certain point it scared me.
Where does all the water go?
You can google it, but don’t. I prefer asking laypeople and here’s what I’ve gathered: it doesn’t sit around. Your stomach does not expand three liters. The small intestine sucks it up and disperses it immediately throughout your body. Immediately. Suddenly there is water sloshing around in your fingers and toes. All your organs go vavavoom. There is water in your eyeballs. You drink a glass and your tear ducts leak. Your brain becomes a river. So much water. Cells are water. The space between cells is water. It’s all water. Even bones aren’t all bones. They’re water.
We came from the ocean, now we’re here.
I’ve been thinking of the world as an organism. Not sure why. I read a book where the world is actually a simulation and disagreed with it strongly. No, I said, we’re not living in a simulation. We’re living in an organism. If the world seems to heal itself up too neatly after civilizational collapse, it’s not because of a glitch — it’s the kidneys at work, slowly flushing out the toxins. I don’t know. There’s something I enjoy about feeling like I’m just a cell in a grand celestial being, and that every life that surrounds me is part of a bigger, more life-y life. Or the way that life works in fractals. How everything on a small scale reproduces itself on a larger scale. Listen to the first thirty seconds of Andrew Bird’s Tenuousness. It sounds like the world’s synapses are coming together into the very first thought.
But on the other hand, explain this:
Bucket hats. Bucket hats, I thought with certainty, all my life, are the world’s item most commonly recognized ugly item. Yet they’re everywhere in DC. High schoolers, who are supposed to be cool and trendy, are all hidden in the bucket. Tourists and grandmas, yes. Also middle schoolers in their high-waisted jeans and belly shirts. At the shop around the corner, what’s the model mannequin wearing? A bucket hat. What’s her friend mannequin wearing? A flower-patterned bucket hat. What did Sally Rooney’s publishing agency sell alongside her new novel? A bucket hat. (Apparently people were angry about this on Twitter last year; I quit Twitter but just finally read the book, so that’s how I learned about the hat. I definitely recommend the book. Not the hat.) I googled bucket hats. Apparently Emily Ratajkowski likes them? And a few k-pop stars? What is happening to the world? A lot of terrible things are happening all the time, but I thought we could all agree on bucket hats. I was wrong. They’re everywhere. What could be a plausible explanation, if not a glitch in the matrix?
And explain this:
I was on the metro from DC to Dulles, staring at people, trying to guess their emotions, where they were going, what they ate for breakfast. Directly in front of me were two college boys with large backpacks. I remember them distinctly because I guessed they were about to backpack in southeast Asia. They had that carefree look with post-pubescent mustaches. Total bros. They drummed their thumbs on the plastic seats beneath them. The world was their music video.
I thought I would never see them again. They had suitcases on the metro to Dulles. There is nothing in Dulles except Dulles, the airport. (And an airplane museum which is where I was going.) But I saw them the next day! I went to the National Mall to read and found myself at David’s Tent, which has Jesus music 24-7. I don’t know why I was there. I actually kind of morally disagree with it. I’m not opposed to Jesus music, but the goal of the tent is to make Jesus “Lord of America” and to make DC “known as the place where the nation gathers to worship Jesus.” No. DC is a real place that exists in its own right. But the tent had shade and the music was nice. Mumford and Sons-esque. I was the only person not employed by the National Park Service sitting in this tent. Until these bros showed up, backpack free and careless. I recognized them like they were my own brothers. I had spent a forty minute train ride staring straight at them. I almost said hello, do you remember me? I was staring at you. I didn’t say hello. They started dancing. One of them lifted his hands like a DJ. The other walked back and forth, nodding his head to the music. They were in it. Like, really in it. They were supposed to be bro-ing out on motorcycles in southeast Asia. Instead they were dancing to the lyrics: “You’re so holy. So, so holy.” Then they left.
Really, where did the three liters of water go?
You know those old Gameboy games, where the tiny pixelated main character finds a pixelated meal that’s three times the size of him? Like a giant plate of corn on the cob. Then the MC opens his pixelated mouth and eats the whole thing. The corn disappears, the health points go ding ding ding, and the Pokemon trainer goes on his merry way.
These are all things that happened in the past two weeks: I drank a lot of water. I saw a lot of bucket hats. I spent time with the Jesus boys. These things are unconnected, but here I am, forcing them together (with effort). Do you feel any connection between them? Maybe, because I’m telling you to. Am I… programming you?
But really, who cares if we’re in a simulation, or if we’re cells in an organism, or if we’re just here and that’s that? Either way we get to sit on trains and run away from boats. Either way we get to gift water to our organs. We get to flush away the toxins and see what’s left. And if we want to, fuck it, we get to wear bucket hats.
70 percent water and mad about it:
I feel like the brim is too floppy and not wide enough to adequately protect from the sun..