We’ve been following each other on Instagram for, what? Three years now? And lately, I’ve noticed a pretty steep drop in the number of hearts you give my posts. Yet you continue to heart our mutual friend’s posts, so I’m pretty sure you’re not in a coma?
Yeah, I heard about that losing-your-job thing. Doubtless you’re less inclined to appreciate my new three-story heritage Colonial. Or is it my relentless vacationing? But I want to tell you something I’ve never admitted to anyone else. In reality, my life’s not rosy either; I’m actually a ciranolid isopod.
Maybe you suspected it already. I mean, how spontaneous, how genuine could these Instagram moments be if I’m constantly photographing them? I assure you your suspicions are one hundred percent correct.
Take that selfie I posted yesterday (“Mornings 😊”). The one on my flagstone deck? A ray of sunlight hits my Noguchi-reproduction table at just the right angle, intensifying the amber voluptuousness of an egg yolk, slow-baked in an avocado. A fisherman’s sweater draped over my shoulders, I have turned away from my breakfast, inconsequential, it seems, to the spiritual nourishment I receive from the day’s first light. My eyes are closed, I wear a faint smile. I am in communion with… what exactly? It eludes you, poor soul: you only know you’ve never seen a more exquisite three-quarter profile.
Who, you wonder, wakes up perfectly made up? You got me there, blew my cover right open. Would you believe my makeup took five hours? You can’t imagine how many layers of foundation it takes to make my tiny translucent form look humanoid. And don’t get me started on the strain of all that artificial hair on my fragile exoskeleton.
And that pic of me with my chiseled husband, sharing a tender, beachside moment (“❤️ 10 years and still SO in love! ❤️”)? Does anyone seriously believe my marriage is a never-ending Nora Roberts book-cover? Bingo!
The sad truth is, Branedict and I barely spoke to one another, except to get that shot. How could I focus on him, doting as he is, when thousands of my fellow isopods were calling via an intricate and not yet fully understood combination of seismic signal and pheromone release? Do you think we make tri-annual trips to the Australian coast for fun? Maybe, but you try living this shallow life of dinner parties and keeping up with the Joneses, when all you want to do is burrow in a spongy anglerfish gill at approximately 3000 feet under the sea.
Stop it right there. I know what you’re going to say. Isn’t the common woodlouse also a tiny, semiopaque crustacean? And couldn’t I seek solace with some woodlice in my gorgeously landscaped, two-acre backyard? I won’t judge you for that, insensitive though it is. Maybe ciranolids and woodlice used to hang, but that was, like, three hundred million years ago. Suffice it to say I was less evolved at the time. Sure, we belong to the same species, but look a little closer — preferably through a high-resolution microscope — and you’ll instantly discover your mistake. I’m sorry, but my eight to twenty legs are far too long to curl under my body. I’m obviously so beyond rolling in dirt.
The takeaway here is that every last pic of my gifted and well-groomed children (“So proud of our Xyzavien, who took home the National Toddler Chess trophy AGAIN this year!”); of me amongst a swarm of stylish friends, sharing a hilarious inside joke (“love my girls!”); of a fresh-faced, beaming family in the autumnal countryside (“YAY antiquing!”) — every one is a charade for your benefit. A total, baldfaced lie.
Surely I’m oversimplifying, you say? Telling a convenient story? There you’re sorely mistaken.
The motives of envy-baiting are various, complicated, and not entirely deliberate? Ha! The truth of a person not so easily separable from her social performance? Wrong again, Sigmund Fraud!
It’s hard enough to come to terms with being a single-celled organism without your coarse presumptions. I am compensating, you hear me? Compensating big-time! You try being a marine parasite, then come back to me with the occasional grainy shot of public art, likely taken between toilet-side weeping-sessions, or whatever it is you do with your days. Not so easy, is it?
It’s alright. I am a magnanimous being, and may come to accept your apology in time. For now, I expect you to go online and gush over the Timor-Lestian lavender creme brulées I just made.