As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Leanne Simpson – Fiction


I’m going through your instagram feed making a list of all your likes this month. Then I’m splitting them into categories: bands you saw, books you read, pets, babies, & special places you went. Then I’m going to go through all the photos you posted this month and split them into the same categories. Then I am going to go through my feed and categorize all the likes I got from you this month and use this to increase my likes from you next month. I know you love my dead animal photos because even though you’re vegan or an animal rights activist or something like that you get NDNs on a fairly deep level or you don’t mind dead animals or maybe you just imagine my dead animals are sleeping in NDN heaven. I know you never like my protest photos, photos of my kids doing awesome things or my farmer’s field series. I might shelve that series. I thought it was arty and you’d get it, but you’re not getting it. It’s not producing likes from you so I’m going to leave it this month I think. I’m going to save these four charts in excel until the first day of next month and I’ll add in my new stats. I haven’t had to add a category to your chart in 4 months now so I’m pretty sure that your liking and posting status has stabilized. You get the most likes from your friends for band and pet photos, and the least likes for books. Honestly you don’t post very many baby pics, you don’t have kids and near as I can tell you’re not a baby person but everyone once in awhile you do post one, I think out of obligation because we just turned 40 and it’s everyone’s last chance to procreate so we have to act excited and supportive. It’s the kind thing to do.

After I’m done with instagram, I’m going to go through our texts and figure out who instigated each individual texting conversation and who was the last one to reply. I personally hate being the last one to reply in a texting conversation. It’s like the other person just disappears or tells you to go fuck yourself, so I try specifically now to leave most texting conversations first as a matter of principle. Except for the inner circle. Everyone who now holds membership in my inner circle always signs off a texting conversation with XO or a xx or a xoxo or a xox or the deadly x. To get into the inner circle, in fact you can’t be a texting abandoner. That’s a fucking rule.

You are no longer in my texting inner circle precisely because of these statistics. For instance, last month, you instigated 6 texting conversations and I instigated 5, but you text abandoned me 9 out of the 11 conversations. This month is different. I’m aiming for 4-5 abandonments at the most because I know I can quit better than you. If anything I am the quitter in this relationship. It means that our conversations are a lot shorter and shallower but I’m not getting caught with my pants down so to speak. Maybe I should add text length to the chart?

Next I’m doing your fb stats. These are a lot harder to calculate or a lot more time consuming anyway. I stay online for the entire time you are up on Mondays so I can clock and average how much time you’re on fb based on your iphone. On average, you spent 4 minutes per half hour of waking time on fb. You could have used those 4 minutes to check in on me, via text, but you didn’t, so that’s reason number 2 why you are no longer in my inner circle.

You keep quitting and then rejoining twitter so twitter use is hard to clock. Plus I think you mostly just read people’s feed, you never participate which isn’t giving back what you are taking. Reason number 3 why you are no longer in my inner circle: problems with reciprocity.

If you texted me right now, I’d tell you that I’m having a dinner party. I’m having these “folks” over that use the word “folks” regularly in conversation. They are visiting his parents here on the rez and they’re from the west coast so they’re food snobs. Which is probably my issue. I always feel like a cheap trashy NDN when I’m on the west coast what with all the goddman trees, mountains, ocean and salmon, and all the goddamn white people tripping over themselves to stop pipelines. WTF. Anyway, I’m not actually that good of dinner parties. I’m good at inviting people over, drinking too much and then collaboratively making Kraft dinner well after midnight. See? That would have been a funny and uplifting texting conversation. You’re loss.

I’m going to do three hundred sit ups today because I really want a ripped abdomen and time is running out. You can’t get a ripped abdomen after forty, well probably you can, but your skin is so lose and gross you still look gross so why bother?

After I do three hundred sit ups I’m going to the beach. I hope you text me when I am the beach and asked me what I’m doing because I already planned I’m going to send you a selfie of me with my nearly ripped abdomen in a bikini. I took it last week, ok, I didn’t take it. I got this dad at the beach to take it because I simply cannot take a good selfie of me on the beach, then I filtered it and photo shopped it and now it’s all ready to go.

Remember that game we played when we first started texting? You would ask me “what are you doing?” and I would have to text back immediately with whatever it was I was doing. Same went for you. Fuck. It was a great exercise really, because I got out there and did some really cool stuff in case you texted, at least at the beginning. And then I realized that if I just made a list of all the cool things I could be doing that it was more fun than actually doing all the really cool stuff. Because it felt like kind of a burn when I did something cool that I definitely wanted you to know about but then you didn’t text me so you didn’t get to hear about it.

I’m going on vacation next week and I have NOT decided how to handle that at all! How do I want to play it?? Do I want to pretend that I’m off grid? Having such an incredible fantastic over the top real life experience that I can’t possibly be dragged back down into the shallow waters of social media? Do I want people to wonder where I am? Wondering if I’ve logged off completely? Do I want them to miss me, and feel sad/bad about themselves? Or should I post the most outstanding 4-5 photos per day, maybe off my instagram feed just amplifying the shit out of any glimmer of fun I do have? Then they’ll feel bad/sad about their own lives or lack of fun and adventure and they’ll put me on a pedestal of really how to live your life to the fullest. And you. What how the fuck am I going to play it with you? Remember when you went to Boston and you *almost* forgot to tell me and I would have been all wtf you hate me, no texts in 7 days but it was just because you were in the States and were avoiding those deadly roaming charges but not tech savy enough to buy a new sim card? I sort of want you to feel like that. Like maybe I should forget to tell you I’m going and just see what happens when there is no texts from me for 7 days and probably I could even go longer then 7 days because for the first 7 days I am going to be having some approximation of real fun in the real world so if I could go for say 5 more days, that would be approaching two weeks. Burn for you. The only risk is if you didn’t notice, which is a fairly big risk.

There is a third option. Say nothing about the vacation. Post a few stellar vacation photos to fb when I know you’re on your phone, and then text you the selfie, with a quick “so sorry. that wasn’t meant for you. soon. xo”

Leanne Simpson headshotLeanne Simpson is a writer of Mississauga Nishnaabeg ancestry. She is the editor of Lightning the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Protection and Resurgence of Indigenous Nations(Arbeiter Ring) andThis is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades (with Kiera Ladner, Arbeiter Ring). She is the author of Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence(Arbeiter Ring) and The Gift Is in the Making, a re-telling of traditional stories, forthcoming Spring 2013 (Debwe Series, Highwater Press). Her first collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love is now available from Arbeiter Ring.

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Issue 3February 14, 2014
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