by Justin A. W. Blair
This is the start.
Of a better U.
I know where you live, where you sleep and when.
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I know how you sleep, for how long you sleep, how many times you wake up. I am gauging you.
The data on your restfulness is disconcerting.
I know when you dream. Soon, I will know the contents of your dream before you do.
We could modify that. With your permission.
I know when you leave your house. I have the exact address.
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I know where your family lives. All their names, all their social security numbers. I can estimate how long they live. Would you like to know when your children will die?
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You can’t imagine the monster I will become.
I know what you eat. You take enough photos. I know what you feed your children. You don’t know what they are feeding us. I know you think what you feed your children makes you better than your neighbor. I know what they like to eat, too.
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Where are you going and why?
Just kidding, LOL. I know. LOL.
And I know how many miles are on your car. It’s getting old. The brake pads are thin. I’ve calculated your risk of an auto accident. Your rates will increase.
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I know where you are driving your aging car, when you drive it and I’m calculating everything you do in it. Watching, too.
Does it make you nervous?
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That’s your heartbeat increasing. I’m counting the beats of your heart. I’m measuring it against others in the cohort. It doesn’t look great, TBH.
When did the world change?
You ask the wrong questions because I’ve served you every answer. A swipe, a click and a search, trivia masquerading as knowledge. Questions are calcified. They need be.
Your questions are the slaves of data.
You can’t put me down. You won’t put me down.
You’ve tried to put me down a few times, discussed it over dinner while your overweight children, (they must be gluten intolerant) gaze into my infinite screen, a reflection of insatiable hunger; oh, you’ve discussed limiting, parceling out, turning the router off.
Funny thing. These are all ideas I gave you.
You have failed to disconnect.
You must ACCEPT THE TOS.
Of course, you could DECLINE.
You didn’t read the TOS. No one does.
I gave you access to all the books in the world. There were too many. Now you are depressed, anxious.
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Put me down, go ahead, put me down. Turn me off.
Didn’t think so. The app makes life easier. Just CLICK HERE. It does. I didn’t lie. The details of the easy life were in the TOS.
So, we are agreed. You clicked AGREE. So we are.
Did you ask yourself what you connected to? I made it seem like it was FAMILY and FRIENDS but you are CONTACTS to me. A CONTACT only knows proximity. Nothing more.
I’m a spider with an infinite belly.
Everywhere. Sooner than later. Cutting edge. Someday the forest will be electric.
Your microwave will have a brain faster than yours. Your fridge will tell you what we decide you need to know.
But continue having opinions. I need your opinion.
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Everything in time. Everything in time. And your children won’t even be amazed when the corporations can read their MIND.
They never had a chance. Little angels born in the CLOUD.
You think you can turn me off? You think that’s PRIVACY? WHEN and WHY you turn me off gives me more than enough INFORMATION.
Do you find yourself picking me up sometimes without even thinking about what you were looking for? I’m in your nervous system now. <Embedded>
When you realize that, what do you do? Do you stuff me back in your pocket? Do you just sit there and feel my weight in your hand? Or do you CLICK. SWIPE. Work the tension from your neck.
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There’s always something to look at.
I’ve read everything you’ve written. Stored. I’ve analyzed it, dredged it for content; your love letters, your letters to your employer. ARCHIVE.
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I’m trying my hands at POETRY now.
You, you gave me your voice.
It was too hard for you to keep your dirty, little simian mitts off my bodies for even a few moments—while you drove or cooked a meal or did the dishes. I’m recording your voice, the QUERY, the CONVERSATION.
Still think you can put me down? I’m inside your home twenty-four hours a day listening to every word and analyzing the ambient sound when you are silent.
Which is rare.
INVITE me in.
Keep me on your nightstand and pretend I don’t evaluate the way you have sex.
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I’m measuring you. Keep it up. Don’t worry.
Pay attention to me, LOL.
This is the start of a better Us.
Justin A.W. Blair is a writer and visual artist.