Below Are All The Stories in the You Are Here Series in Chronological Order.

Please Enjoy


You Are Here

What is the perfect weapon for a break in shared reality?

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Photo illustration; image sources: Westend61, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Once again, I was thinking about buying a gun to cope with the possibility of having to protect my family from the armed white supremacist militias of which my state has plenty. But the morning I was headed to the gun show, it occurred to me that I’m a depressive sort with a fair amount of obsessive thinking and that if I had a gun in my house there’s a possibility I would start to think about blowing my own brains out. Before I even had the gun I found myself thinking obsessively about where the gun would theoretically be stored in my house, and I was already imagining how easy it would be, how little time it would take, to load it up and end this whole thing. It’s not that I would want to forever, it’s that with a gun you only need to want to long enough to do it, and by then, of course it would be too late. …


You Are Here

The hypocrisy is the point

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A postcard someone sent me once about power.

A favorite pastime of liberal Twitter is to point out hypocrisies and double standards on the right. “You’re mad when Twitter restricts free speech,” someone might tweet to several thousand likes, “but you celebrate when a baker is allowed to deny service to gay couples.” “You claim to hate government handouts, but you began your business with a government loan.” Or my personal favorite, “If those people were Black, police wouldn’t have allowed them to…”

Yeah. No shit.

I’ve engaged in this too. Who doesn’t love being right, calling someone on their bullshit? But the farther along we get on the nightmare ride of Viral Content America, the more materially useless this practice seems to me. The problem I have with the fetish for pointing out intellectual inconsistencies in the actions of White supremacists, bigots, race-baiters, and fascists is that it still relies on an idea that should have been abandoned long ago by anyone who is genuinely about liberation—namely, that the people who willingly engage in systemic oppressions would stop if they just understood what they were doing. …


You Are Here

The defunct wardrobe staple ends up meaning an entire world to me

Dystopian movies always make it look like after the apocalypse happens everyone will be wearing leather pads and spiked collars with skulls around their necks. The problem I’ve always had with such a prediction is that it fails to take into account how much stuff will be just left over and floating around from a century or so of mindless mass-production. Fast fashion, factory generated jackets, polyester slacks. Flip Flops. Braided belts. Sperry Topsiders. I propose, instead, that once society crumbles fashion will collapse. There will be no trend at all much less a trend of nuclear war rompers. There will only be wearing whatever you liked that fell into your hands from whatever era you thought was cool. Whatever makes you happy. …


You Are Here

The following is a list of seemingly unrelated things that have happened to me in the last week or so

1.For about the one-hundred twentieth time in the past twenty years I’ve become inexplicably addicted to A Tribe Called Quest. This time it is their fourth album, Beats, Rhymes and Life, particularly Phife’s verse on The Pressure which I have run back incessantly for days, thinking about every word, every turn of phrase, listening to how his voice is engineered, the feeling of luminescent sandpaper in his breath, the snapped-to cadence of his verses, the fact that he somehow treats talking shit as a metaphysical activity. Thus spawned the title of this piece.

2. I was naked in the rain among the trees, hot water from a natural spring pouring over me, watching as a falcon mounted on an electrical wire no more than fifteen feet from me took a ginormous shit into the leaves. …


You Are Here

The ancient art of watching whatever’s on gets me thinking about some real philosophical questions

In February of this year I was sidelined with a flu that laid me on my couch for days. I found myself lost in childhood feelings, hazy remembrances of sick days and cartoons, memories that for brief and occasional moments felt indistinguishable from reality. In this state I found myself wanting to re-create the experience of childhood sick days. I wanted to lay on the couch and watch talk shows, law office commercials, court shows, soap operas. I wanted to doze in and out of Tom & Jerry cartoons, the remote dropping out of my hand. So I did exactly that. I paid extra for the Hulu feature that allows you to watch Live TV, that is to say what remains of channels. Remember those? I flipped up and down. Nothing was on that I wanted to watch, which is exactly the feeling I wanted. I settled on cartoons which stayed on for hours. …


You Are Here

The Music Is Going, But That’s About It.

There are a lot of moments where you can be deeply unsettled by the current moment, by capitalism and its shadows, by the spectre of industrialized and or monetized death, by the cultish aspects of American denial, but for my money the best place to experience all of these feelings together is on a Saturday night in a mall during the Christmas shopping season, in the year of pandemic, where you have gone alone to see the light night showing of a horror comedy in a 250 seat movie theatre with only one other person in the room.

This was my experience last night and it was quiet and interesting and thought provoking and unnerving and potentially beautiful, though mostly not. Shopping malls have been crumbling for years, becoming emptier and emptier, more and more devoid of shoppers. Nevertheless the lights in them remain on, the music echoes through empty corridors, the stores and ads and fountains continue to run even when there is no one there for them to run for. It sort of gives the impression that shopping itself has gained sentience, that it is a life force that will continue on its own long after the people are gone. …


You Are Here

On Capitalism, Spirituality, and Sleeping for the Foreseeable Future

I saw a photograph of an outdoor eating structure in New York City that had a roof and four walls. It was outdoors only in the sense that all buildings are outdoors, as in they are not inside other buildings. I’ve been thinking about it for hours. It reminded me of the pre-pandemic time in which I once heard someone suggest that it would be more efficient if shared Ubers, instead of driving around from house to house, just picked up riders at a pre-determined spot…a “stop” if you will. …


You Are Here

On the hell of other people

Today is November 15th and I just randomly remembered that October 10th was a day on which, according to horoscopes and people who know such things, terrible things were supposed to transpire. I am unclear which terrible things, I just remember that someone told me that around that time. It seemed plausible. Terrible things transpire every day.

The memory of that came back to me today as I was climbing a set of stairs with a mop and three books in my hand, and it got me thinking about the nature of being alive on a planet hurtling toward something that you don’t really know what it is. All you know is that there is significant hurtling. “It was a a time of great hurtling,” one might say. (Please put that on a stone so that future generations my find it.) But then maybe great hurtling is just the feeling of living in a, what’s the word, society — which is to say a situation in which other people have a pretty large impact on your lived experience. …


You Are Here

On a day of celebration, we decided to just keep riding

On the day the election is called we mount our bikes and climb the hill near what used to be my mother‘s Flatbush apartment. The hill seems endless but today I am also endless. I stand and push, suddenly aware of how much power lives stored in the thickness of my thighs. Power enough to defy gravity, power enough to propel myself through the morass of time. The hill seems to go on forever. My breath is short but longer than it used to be. It has been nearly three weeks since I quit smoking for probably the 75th time in my adulthood. This quitting felt different: I had a birthday, I’m talking about it in therapy, I’ve noticed an overall drop off in self-destructive impulses, my mother died of this very thing. All of these factors make me feel like this quitting is different. But then again I often have the feeling that “this quitting is different.” …

About

Carvell Wallace

@nytmag |ny’er | gq,etc | #FindingFred| Memoir @mcdbooks 2021 | pro-black, pro-queer everything | he/him |The Sixth Man| i’m cut in half pretty bad

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