The past few weeks since I decided to sell a physical manuscript of my Facebook have been very odd.
Around December 31st, I spent $257 on a round-trip ticket to Las Vegas to visit a friend who I had been talking to for the past several months via the Internet. I was to arrive on something like the 11th or the 9th and stay until the 13th or something; I forget. The person is actually a sweet girl who I find very attractive. Looking forward to vacation and maybe something really nice with a person, I excitedly told all of my friends about her. I requested 5 days off work. We planned to go to LA for a day or two. We talked daily. We even watched “Last Tango in Paris” together over Skype while I was in Pennsylvania. Then, the day before I was to depart to see her, I received a text at 3am that said that her mother would no longer allow my stay, and that the trip wouldn’t be able to happen. The initial text message seemed apologetic; it recognized that it was her fault for trying to organize the trip, and it also ensured that I would be reimbursed by her for my trouble. She seemed genuinely distressed that she wouldn’t get to see me.
Suddenly, I stopped hearing from her as much, and after a while I ceased my attempts to correspond with her as well.
After about a week, I sent her a Snapchat that drunkenly reminded her to send me $257. She responded to this with an accusatory and insulting series of text messages, explaining that none of this was her fault and that I was just eager to ‘suck’ money out of her. Of course, despite it being her mother’s ‘fault’, it is almost entirely her fault for encouraging me to visit—my fault, as well, for trusting her and buying the ticket. Her offer of reimbursement still stood, she said to give her a week. I always saw it as a very kind gesture of hers to offer reimbursement, but I was also very frustrated that she was so defensive and quick to accuse me of being a bad person. A gesture of money from someone who lives with their mom or can otherwise get by without needing to have a job is something that I don’t necessarily feel guilty about accepting. So, I began to rely on her reimbursement [by spending money a bit more loosely]. Then, naturally, she stopped responding to me completely. I felt like she saw me as some debt-collector. I really liked her! Now our correspondences consist an occasional 10-second Snapchat of her beautiful perfect face (one that, understandably, she seems to love taking pictures of all the time. A face that inspired me to try talking to her in the first place) being sent to my phone. Now I hold down the photo and view it for maybe 2 seconds. The majority of the self-portrait’s existence is spent as an 8-second countdown on my Snapchat interface. She ignores my texts, which have become increasingly expressive of my disdain for her as the weeks go by.
The day I was supposed to leave to Las Vegas, I got an email from a local organic produce/grocery asking if I could come in for an interview the following day. Having nothing else to do that week, I went in. I ended up getting a full-time position in a store that I actually respect and enjoy. They needed the help immediately so I started working a couple of days after I interviewed. Obviously, had I gone to Las Vegas, I would only return to my minimum wage 20hr/week job at a chain smoothie restaurant where I got my hours cut for explaining to a customer that the smoothies consist mostly of ice and water. I quit that place immediately without giving two weeks notice. It was the first job I had ever quit as opposed to being fired.
Now I am working full time again and I guess the $257 that I spent on nothing seems petty to worry about too much.
The main thing I have been worried about is the people who have ordered my Facebook archive. I keep having nightmares where the existence of my Facebook archive haunts me into my old age and eventually leads to various degrees of my demise/death. I’ve corresponded with a lot of people via email about the document, and what it would mean for me to release it. I have thought a lot about how I would want the piece to be interpreted. People either seem to love the idea or completely hate it/me. I may write an essay about the extreme and reactionary response I’ve had to the mere idea of it. I think I have a good idea here but I’m not sure this method of release is right. Also, I simply do not have the resources right now to print this. Every time I work on formatting the document in a word processor, my computer eventually crashes due to its size. I made February 1st my goal to complete the orders and I haven’t even come close to being able to print it. I was even prepared to absorb the inevitable printing costs, which would’ve been several times the amount that I charged. I’m really sorry to let everyone down. I expect I will try to do something with all of it some day, in a less profit-driven manner and, hopefully, a more conceptual context.
Today I downloaded a digital archive of my entire correspondence with my Facebook. Then I ‘deactivated’ my account, and tweeted that I’d be selling copies of the archive for only $12 USD.
30 minutes after making the tweet, and looking more at the archive, I realized how many peoples’ privacy this infringes on, for my profit. The archive includes ~5 years of private, sometimes intimate, correspondences with dozens of people. It also includes the real names and emails of about 1000 people. Not to mention all of the public photos, notes, status updates, dates and times that I’ve logged in, IP addresses I’ve logged in from, along with many other types of metadata.
After careful consideration, I decided I would only be doing physical copies of the archive, as more of an art piece, and for $25 per (includes shipping, US only). The physical copy would have all the names in the private correspondences redacted but nothing else would be edited. If you’re interested in buying a copy, please PayPal $25 to firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address included.
EDIT~ January 2nd: This is incredibly expensive, but I appreciate the response. For those of you who made an order, thank you; I will get them printed and shipped as soon as I can. I didn’t realize that these would cost so much to print; didn’t really think about it at all. I am no longer selling this for $25, as each copy will cost me ~$45 to print. If you would still like a copy, you can email me and negotiate your own price. Sorry!
Hello tumblr audience,
It’s been some time since I’ve really spent time on the internet. For the past year or two, I have been ‘working’ ~40-60 hours a week and doing a lot of IRL things. Recently I went on a week-long vacation to New York City (arriving a day before the hurricane hit) and then came back to Ann Arbor to find that I had lost my job at American Apparel and that the smoothie place (I also work at) isn’t doing very well.
Usually, when things seem to be going badly, I try to maintain this ‘nothing matters’ attitude, I talk to my friends, and everything seems fine. But now I am finding myself with about 40 extra hours to kill, which is great, but where are my friends? At work/school. Instead of interacting with them, i am reading more, am sleeping more, am writing more, am watching more movies. To fill this social void, I have been befriending people on the internet again, as I once did very eagerly in high school (HS being the last period of my life that I had this amount of free time). In the past, my opinion on relationships via the internet has varied wildly. I have had very good relaishies and v v bad ones via web. For the most part, I feel that they have enriched my worldview. IRL has also enriched my worldview, but not as immediately, and also not as inconsequentially. IRL —especially as a working highschool grad in a city like Ann Arbor— can become repetitive, boring, and, ultimately, disappointing. People IRL are cruel, sentimental, and passionate about their relationships. This can be bad for someone like me, who is just trying to be honest with everyone/myself. So in a lot of ways, I feel really excited about being able to spend real time on the internet again (as opposed to lazily scrolling through the feeds of people I follow and ‘liking’ things without learning about them more deeply).
Have also been rethinking my stance on college in america. Used to be very passionate about not going to college. For a time, I was surrounded by people that were 4 or more years older than me, working in the same position as me, attending the same parties as me, and seeing the same movies/bands/girls as me. Unlike me, however, these people were in a lot of debt, and may also’ve been living with their parents. These people attended a 4-year university and came out doing exactly what I was doing at 18 and fresh out of high school. This was 2010; I felt very excited, sad, meek, but had an inner confidence.
These feelings lasted until about October 2011, when my room-mate at the time punched me in the face after I had sent him an email regarding his ‘noise complaints.’ and his mother evicted me (and my current room-mate) out of her and her son’s home with 2-days notice. This was the first time I actually realized that my thoughts can have a strong effect on people. I say ‘thoughts’ and not ‘words’ or ‘actions’ because, up until I considered this event, there were no thoughts I had that didn’t actualize themselves into words or actions. I thought, and still think (but to a much lesser extent), that anyone who would get hurt by anything I said is worthless. I thought that everybody should have every action that warrants a response, backed up with a well thought-out justification. If someone ever said negative things about me, I had already thought of that thing they are saying. I saw every potentially ‘negative’ aspect of myself and incorporated the awareness of that into my persona. I already had a justification for what I was doing that would defend myself against any haters. I thought all people thought this way. They don’t. Most people don’t. Most people in Ann Arbor don’t.
Increasingly it is brought to my attention that people say that I make them nervous; that I am ‘judgmental’, mean, ‘cold’, etc. I don’t want that. My room-mate said that his friends sometimes act differently when I am around. He says that I ‘intimidate’ them and that that makes them say stupid things that they wouldn’t say otherwise, if they were comfortable.
Anyway, now this is all dawning on me and it always seems to come piling on all at once. So now I am realizing that I am, (this is a huge blanket statement here:) known but, largely, unliked by a sizable portion of Ann Arbor’s creative youth. That being said, there are only a dozen or so persons left in this town (many Ann Arbor greats have moved away) to which I feel a deep affinity / admiration for (some of whom I have yet to become close with). Of course, I’ve been thinking about moving for a while now (am not planning on renewing my lease in the fall; have been sitting with the ideas of Chicago, Montreal, and Brooklyn as places to try and make a go of it at).
The past few autumns of my adult life have been incredibly bleak, and they usually involve me feeling a need to change myself. This fall, I am worried about the jobs I’ve held. For the first time, I am working solely at a place that I actively dislike. It’s do-able, but it’s making me rethink my views on college. If I am already working at a job I hate and it is do-able, should I just go to college for something that also bores me but will ensure an equally loathable but significantly more profitable position for me? It’s a serious question I’ve been having.
I realize now that not everyone can work at a used book store or a record store or an art-house movie theater or a ‘loosely-managed’ retail place where all of your coworkers are engaging and interesting. My 2010 self would’ve been contented to work at a little art-house theater for $9/hr for the rest of his life. “I can just do this, pay my bills, have fun at work, and then do all my creative stuff on the side until that gets to be something profitable,” I might’ve said. I see now that it is a bit of a luxury to actually enjoy the thing you do for a living. Not sure if college is what I want. Going to school for something I actually am interested in seems like a waste of time / money. But maybe if I go to school with a goal of becoming some sort of mediocre salaryman, I can achieve financial comfort and then also the free-time to write my screenplays and cook my meals and use twitter and take girls out on dates.
I feel that if had an extremely wealthy family that I wouldn’t really think at all about any of this and I would literally feel comfortable doing whatever I wanted to do with their funding. Ideally I’d be traveling constantly and I’d own a car and a lap-top and a bunch of clothes and an apartment in a big city. These things are very aimless and that seems nice to me.
This all seems unnecessary to post on the ol’ zzellers tumblr here (which, by the way, is over 5 years old), but I feel like I wanted to clarify some things and provide an updated voice for this tumblr presence. I get a lot of ask questions that are just like “Why are you still in Ann Arbor?” or “What are you doing with your life?” or “Who are you?” and they’ve kind of haunted me for a while now. I wrote this post while listening to Pharoah Sanders’ ‘Karma’, Philip Glass’ ‘Glassworks’, and finished with Scott Walker’s ‘Tilt’. I was texting one person frequently, Skyping periodically with 2 others. I read over this once and did not change anything.