Facebook brings all manner of ill to the world, but despite that fact, good things can happen. Reuniting with old friends and making new friends, keeping up with each other, entertainment in the form of chat stickers — there is much that it provides if we don’t want isolation or alternate forms of social media that we can pretend preserves our precious dignity… I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but all social media is basically the same. My opinions on social media must wait for another day, however, because I have a much more important matter at hand.
One of the features that delivers a mixed bag is that “People You May Know” series of recommendations that intrude upon your Newsfeed. The strangest of these is always people who have no mutual friends with you, and may not even live anywhere near you. This is the background information you need for this person on Billy Holiday’s list (he does NOT know this person). Or rather, he brought my attention to the room this person is standing in, and now I bring your attention to it, too.
It’s so incredibly busy. Aside from the man’s mercifully dark solid expanse of formalwear, our eyes have nowhere to rest. It brings a deep unease which only increases the longer you look. Go on. Look more.
Speak to me of that five layers of curtains back there. Is that a deliberately placed burst of bamboo sticks in the corner? Or that array of plants that might be overtaking a lamp, and a speaker, if that is indeed a speaker. Who lives in this level of clutter? Is he visiting a great aunt, one who has lived for aeons and is overly sentimental? Is he in a quiet old store of antiquities?
The living room in which the dapper man stands appears to proudly showcase about one hundred and fifty years of decoration trends, including whatever era “Japanese art inspired throw pillow” is. And the quality of the picture is dim and out of focus just enough to drive you to the brink. What is any of that stuff on the incidental table?
That thing. When not looking at it directly, my brain thinks it is a cute small ornate typewriter. But upon looking directly, it seems like it should be displaying katana, except that none are there. Is it a note holder? A tissue dispenser? Maybe it is bits of an ancient scroll on display. Is that a strap on the front? I don’t know.
Like a character in a Lovecraft short story, I feared I would go mad as I tried to understand what I was seeing, the kicker being when I realized that behind him was not a wall, but actually a curtained doorway into another equally cluttered room. It was like I was looking at a Magic Eye Picture, depth and dimensions unexpectedly appearing before me.
The person who lives here has somehow hit upon a trinket collection that isn’t quite to the level of a sloppy hoarder, but is too disparate and asymmetrical to indicate good mental health. Nothing matches. The visual discordance cuts all the way to my soul. I could not rest comfortably in this room. I would need to attempt to create some undertone of unity. Even something as simple as these two ovals which are similar in color and size, but further glance proves that they are not even nearly the same thing — I would normally find that mildly remarkable, but in the setting of this maelstrom of shapes and colors, my mind unravels.
I had considered that maybe I was having a bad day, a highly sensitive one where maybe I was more Dramanda than Amandoll. How could a mere image of a stranger hold me in thrall to the extent that I would take up precious space on Sneer Campaign? Would I be crossing an unspoken line, discussing the contents of a photo that I didn’t take, of a man I do not know? But I decided that this is content that fell into my lap. What are the odds that Billy Holiday would be recommended to befriend this man that he doesn’t know, and no one he knows knows, at the specific time that this was the stranger’s chosen profile picture?
I do not blame the person Billy does not know. His suit is plain and dark. Perhaps he was brought up in this vibrant home and as a result, he favors a lack of pattern and a lack of color. Once again, I do not blame him a bit. I hope that he finds a peaceful living situation, with the tasteful home decor style of a minimalist.
After only a few hours with this single picture of parts of two rooms, I know that’s what I yearn for, too.