“It takes 500 milliseconds, or half a second, for sensory information from the outside world to be incorporated into conscious experience.”*
Which is to say, the human brain, even when it’s not consciously “thinking,” is absorbing and outputting a stream of content 24/7.
Here, on a commute home from work, we explore one representation of that.
Ensure audio is enabled by clicking the icon at the upper left. Click the orange words for a heightened experience.Ensure audio is enabled by clicking the icon at the upper left.
Hover over the orange words as they appear for a heightened experience.
Go down. Press the button with your knuckle because if you press with your finger you may forget you did that and then rub your eye. You may get pink eye this way. Because of the stuff on elevator buttons.
Walk inside. Count. Plus you. Nine. Too many. Pray the shaft doesn’t plummet. Spot your work Crush. Swoon a little. Headphones in. Set the mood. With your finger, not your knuckle. Which is ironic. Because phones have germs too.
Can he feel me staring at him?
Envision yourself in a movie. Golden hour. White linen. In this world you wear white. You order a spritz. You turn your face to the sun. And oh look! Work Crush joins you. He’s wearing white linen too.
If we have three kids and one gets into Stuyvesant, can we afford private school for the other two? Maybe they’ll all get into Stuyvesant.
Maybe they won’t exist.
Walk through the lobby. Refresh email—in case there’s been a development during the elevator ride.
Text boyfriend you’ll be running 15 minutes late. Meeting ran over. So sorry.
Ponder your daily number of lies. What even are lies? Is truth a construct?
Con – Struct.
Head down. Swipe. Bruise hip. Damn this cruel world. Swipe again with comically slow precision. Scan platform for anyone appearing unhinged and capable of pushing you into the track. Think about a wave of spontaneous psychosis possessing you to jump in yourself. Think about death. Counter sensation of walls shrinking.
Find a seat. Decipher a mattress ad. Laugh manically.
Walk out of the subway. Ignore them.
Sparkly! Take a picture of the storefront.
Head to bar. Close your eyes for a few paces.
Is this what it’s like to be blind?
Approach bar. Flip hair to other side. Enter. Touch arm. Smell pine. Kiss cheek. Smell mint. Drink drink. Thank him for ordering. Ask him about his day. Did he miss you? Would he still love you if he had to feed you every meal? Explain to him the importance of hypothetical questions.
Your ex always asked hypothetical questions. Wonder what he’s doing. In this moment. Probably sleeping. Time difference. Time. The Ancient Greeks had two kinds of time. Clock time. Human time. Marvel at the Ancient Greeks.
Drink more drink.
Spot a baby through the window. A baby in a stroller. Stare at her staring at you. Stare at her tiny face. Her gigantic eyes. Stare until all is quiet.
At least for a moment.
*Jeff Wise, “What is the Speed of Thought?” New York Magazine. Dec. 19, 2016.