Lost in the Froth – The New York Times
Amarilli, mia bella,
Non credi, o del mio cor dolce desio
D’esser tu l’amor mio?
And even after my soul-lifting, world-altering technologies flopped and the kitchens in my glass offices were no longer stocked with kombuchas and microgreens and microbrews, and none of my 15 remaining yes men had the energy for micromanaging or microblogging or microwaving the last remaining lunch items in the glass kitchen cupboards, I’d still put on my gown and glide through those glass hallways and sing my morning KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP! team-building, world-building memo in the form of an Italian opera:
Credilo pur: e se timor t’assale,
Dubitar non ti vale.
Aprimi il petto e vedrai scritto in core!
You might not know this, but ball gowns and Italian opera and a castle packed with fawning minions are the only surefire cures for burning out and losing it. If you think about it long enough — if you really meditate on how you, too, deserve to be flanked by a gaggle of sycophants — you might start to wonder how anyone puts their pants on in the morning without them.
This is why people get married and have kids: to create their own thriving microcosms of sycophants. Any spouse worth his weight in microchips doubles as a fawning yes man, a microanalyst dedicated to forecasting the microvariations in the microclimates of his betrothed’s micromoods, micromanaging every microscopic dip and variation in his true love’s micromindsets.
Later that day, at around 5 p.m., I find myself waiting in the very, very, very long drive-thru line at the Starbucks with my two teenagers. We have been sitting in the car for 30 minutes and counting. The line is barely moving. And suddenly I’m having one of those weird out-of-body, Talking Heads experiences where you look at yourself from a distance and you ask:
What bad life choices led a glorious ice princess to this sad fate?
Which brings us to the moral of our story: Anyone who aims to be flanked by sycophants eventually becomes one of them. Because what else explains landing in an eternal drive-thru line just because my teenagers experienced a few microseconds of unpleasantness in their brick fortresses of public education today, so now they’re craving pointless, expensive, frothy comfort? Why else would a former demigoddess willfully subject herself to such indignities, just to send a KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP! team-building, world-building memo to her moody teens in the form of overpriced sugary foamy decaffeinated multi-flavored froth?
And what is it with froth these days? Why is froth so sought after? What warped values led us to this frothy crossroads in human history?