The Loneliness—and Comfort—of Being Online

I’m into the internet as a gateway to systems of care—the kind of care that turns a sad finsta post into a spontaneous visit, a phone call, a gift; turns a silent question into 1,000 late-night answers, turns the monster within into a collective hum.

by Aisha Mirza
Jun 20 2018, 2:00pm

This story appears in VICE magazine and Broadly's 2018 Privacy and Perception Photo Issue. Click HERE to subscribe to VICE magazine.

Sometimes when I am in bed I frown because I feel a sharp pain inside one of my stomach rolls or on my arm or behind my knee and I take a look and what I find is that I’m being burned by the overheated white square part of my computer charger and when the pain subsides I smile because it’s nice to have something warm in my bed. Sometimes I catch a view of my legs in the bed with all the wires and the hairs and the differently sized screens and it’s like watching a family through a window. I feel sick because if there was an apocalypse tomorrow I don’t know what I would do to help and my least favorite thing is to feel useless, which is one of the reasons I love the internet.

Two or three times a week I stop what I am doing because I am panicking. I am panicking because I’ve remembered I have no idea what the internet is, either physically or conceptually, like what the fuck is an email, is this a womb or a war zone, why are my nudes in the sky, who is my king now. My brain then automatically presents me with the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Mike Teavee is transmitted from one part of the room to the other, followed by a short clip of the early 2000s British exercise show for toddlers, Boohbah, and I return to whatever task is at hand. I mean I don’t know what the internet is, and I don’t particularly want to excavate anything personal about it for VICE, anything “identity” about anything, but I’m broke and easily flattered and I want something to put on the internet.

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