Maybe it’s because I’m teaching Proust right now, but the neural pathways are firing when syntax feels familiar. So, when I was going to say “Careless Tech User Causes Unspeakable Pain,” I thought “Nice Yellow Rabbit Seeks Friendly Cabbage Patch.”
Here’s why: “Nice Yellow Rabbit Seeks Friendly Cabbage Patch” was a small space ad in the back of the New Yorker in the 1970s. It was an advertisement for a stuffed yellow rabbit—a toy—with a detachable carrot. The photo was black and white and the rabbit sat in a garden.
Where the mind travels. Careless Tech User Causes Unspeakable Pain sounds familiar right now for four other reasons:
I. Butt Dialing
It’s dinner time and instead of showing up you butt dial me. I listen to the steps, the destination. Unspeakable. Hours.
II. Changing Chip on Blackberry Reveals Photos
We are driving down an unlit dirt road in New England. The photo, bright with paralysis.
III. Leaving Email Open
I’ve always… No one needs to know what anyone has always done.
IV. Leaving Facebook Email Open
A variation on III
I may as well come clean: ________.
What’s the connection, you ask? Between the Nice Yellow Rabbit and the year of remote pain?
Look over there: it’s a lonely girl. She’s an only child, catching dust in streams of light. Her best game is to throw the cord from the Venetian blinds and see if it catches on the windowsill.
Her first soul mate comes in a box from far away. It’s a bunny. Her second is you. Her third is the child, waiting for her. She is waiting to be placed in a box and mailed far away. Do you see her? Oh, if only her toy were Cuddly Bunny, and not the pretty screen.
Who is she?
Many women these days wonder if they are Taylor, Nikki, or Kesha. She is so many women that she does not have to wonder. She is every character in An Education. And she is Carey Mulligan herself. Since Carey may play Daisy in Gatsby!
In An Education, she is the wife, home alone with the children. She is the young ingénue. She is the young ingénue’s English teacher. She is also the rake.
There she is, alone again. The dust still flies in the sunlight, but she is too tired to catch it.