Alt+Tab Persona – Dale Brett

I am stepping onto an escalator, my soul-structure inhibited by a fleeting feeling that I am actually not. Sometimes, on escalators, I feel like crying. Like letting out tears with a little vigour. Little quantum forces dribbling down my sides. Tiny, powerful orblike bodies slipping over my skin cells, impregnating my rudimentary day-to-day mask. Only they won’t come, no matter what I try. I want them to cascade down my cheeks, flowing like an unchecked, unbridled auto-assault cavalcade. But there isn’t anything welling up. 

I am paralysed by who I want to be today. Am I healthy? Am I unhealthy? What sub-culture do I want to pretend to be part of this afternoon? 

—This is me: the guy who orders the organic, sustainable cabbage rice tray while listening to new age and browsing bone broth products online. 

—This is also me: the guy who orders a bowl of ramen noddles and pays $3.5 for a canned coffee that doesn’t even taste good out of nostalgia for another moment in time. 

—This is also [also] me: the guy who orders a hamburger dripping with fat juices while sinking boutique IPA pints, pretending to be versed in video game history and online memes. 

These are all me & I love it & I hate it & I am incredibly undecided. My body constantly dragged along these extra-terrestrial currents, wasting hours upon hours trying to resolve which category I fall in. 

—I can’t be cyber if I’m health-conscious.

—I can’t be into wrestling if I listen to Eno.

—I can’t be obsessed with Japan if I want to die with someone. 

Ctrl+Alt+Del the aesthetic that doesn’t apply, every hazed emotion seething in a fit of a rage. 

The most pathetic part of all of this is that no one will care. No one will see. It doesn’t matter which mutuals I follow, what kind of persona I try to curate, no one will see my annotations of like-minded artists, the meticulously crafted playlists, the overview of my weekly fucking meals. But I need to feel like I belong to something, even if it is something I cannot decide. Even if it is merely temporary. Even it is ever-transitory, the superficial image ripped and teared until I am an entirely new being. Satisfied for what would seem like ‘…’ of Alt+Tab moments. Let’s erase the data when the alternate personality isn’t looking. Let’s light fire to the communion and begin the countdown clock. 47 hours, 23 hours, 37 minutes… Please, I forgive you, let’s start again. 

It is time for me to let go of the compulsion. To realise that the defective jigsaw is the sum of its parts. To make a stand in a crowded city pedestrian overpass while I decide to eat lunch and say out loud that I’m no longer bound to categorisation. Forget the weary looks, forget the meek impressions, forget the robotic masks. It’s time for the rules of my inner criteria to fundamentally change.