Living Online

I live in the online world. I don’t go out much. I see things going on outside – trees blowing in the wind or something. Brick walls. I hear telephone rings and builders working away, playing their shit music and whistling. Online – the information is all there, ok maybe not all but most of it. Probably. Everyone has something to say online. There are professional voices, paid editors, or voluntary bloggers. There’s a review of everything. What’s the best cat? What’s the ideal bedside lamp? You can learn stuff that you wouldn’t admit to not knowing. How do you cook an egg? How do you touch your toes? It’s endlessly fascinating, endlessly entertaining, even if I no longer smile or feel the need to. I think the internet has evolved me. I only really go out for fags or Haribo.

My world is infinite, tolerant, free. I watch YouTube videos. Funny videos, sport videos, film trailers, game previews. I watch people talking into their webcam. Skinny people, stupid looking people, attractive people speaking into their webcam about boxing, games or whatever. I don’t know these people, will never know them, I don’t want to know them, but they talk to me like they know me. It’s all very informal, the internet. I can’t be arsed to use capitals when writing emails to people I know. People I want something from I pop in the capitals – back comes the school training, the punctuation, grammar, all that.

I work online. I look for jobs there. I run things. I write things. I get feedback for things which makes me feel appreciated. I think. I check the hits on my things. I see where all my readers are coming from. Denmark. Germany. Japan. I’m happy – I love Japan, but I’ve never been there. I can’t afford to go there so I look at pictures and videos and reviews of hotels or places on the internet. Like I said, there’s a review of everything. How fast is the bullet train? How much faster is the bullet train compared to the crappy London trains? I’ve learnt a lot from the internet although I’m not sure what I’ll do with all the knowledge. Most of the time I go on the internet because I’m bored or lonely or both.

I play free games. I download things I can’t own up to. And I’m a social media guy too. I use Facebook a lot. I read my friends’ updates. All about their cats and dogs and cities and relationships and I look at my friends’ photos, the ugly and beautiful ones. I belong to a community, the virtual one. I’m happy there, possibly. Or unhappy, doesn‘t really matter. I don’t add many status updates on Facebook. I don’t like typing and I don’t want to sound stupid. I’m a Twitter user as well. I retweet mostly. Some poets write their poems on Twitter. It’s pretty good stuff. My baby is cooler than yours. My book outsells yours. When I need something I buy it on the internet. Food, pillows, books. And eBay, you know all about eBay. When I’ve had enough of browsing I’ll put myself on sale. Starting bid: 1p.

The internet is all around me. It’s on my phone. The internet is in my pocket when I leave my home and wander the streets or sit on buses. I no longer have to look at people or their spots or their bad hair days. I can look at my phone instead, check my emails. Maybe today is my lucky day. The internet is on my TV. I don’t have to watch TV reruns anymore. I can watch Netflix. I can watch new films, old films, documentaries, TV series. That’s how it is. The internet gives and gives while all else is reduction and sadness. Disappointment. I am immortal, defiant, in-control, talented. If only the internet could take the rubbish out or vacuum or bleed. How do I make a life plan? Where is the best place to live?

Bogdan Tiganov. His short story collection, The Wooden Tongue Speaks, is out now.

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