The Art of the Feel

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Ben Gibbard, clad only in a black t-shirt and toe-socks, reclined into the comfort of his vintage Eames lounger and ottoman. He extended his legs and reached forward into a delicious stretch; his hammies sore from his 5th ultramarathon this year.

Ben exhaled deeply and stood, pulling a lock of hair that fell forward and tucking it behind his right ear. He headed toward the kitchen of his mid-century Seattle ranch. He searched for his sustainable, free trade, shade-grown, organic whole coffee beans, grinder, and Chemex and set about making his morning brew. As the amber liquid dripped into its beaker, Ben quietly hummed the chorus to “Home is a Fire” by Death Cab for Cutie.

Inspiration for his highly anticipated 2017 album, Sad, has evaded him. His divorce from Zooey Deschanel lost its initial sting, and his creativity evaporated along with his tears. It’s hard to delve into the emotional depths of one’s soul when one has a bendy 20 year old girlfriend and a diet fantastically high in omega-3s.

At the crescendo of his favorite part of the song, Ben sang:

Home, home is a fire

A burning reminder

What would he write about today? The curve of Adeline’s spine as she sleeps? The billions of stars in the inky night sky, tiny pinholes of light under a heavy velvet blanket? He reached for his Moleskin, still singing:

Of where we belong, oh

With walls, built up around us

Walls. Adeline has walls, the emotional hangover of a bisexual encounter in high school she’d written nine essays about and submitted to The New Yorker. He’d tried to tear them down with yoga, Omega-3s, and elderberry syrup, reach deeper into her heart, but she’d resisted, blaming her period.

The Great Wall. Wallflowers. Tearing down the walls… Ben tapped his fountain pen against the creamy paper: thinking, searching. We’re going to build a wall.

And Mexico’s going to pay for it.

A flash of light surged through Ben’s eyes; his groin tingled. Adeline twisted in her bed. That’s it.

Ben grabbed his enormous iPhone from the marble counter, almost knocking over the Chemex with excitement. @realDonaldJTrump, he typed. As if by magic, the tweets tumbled down in front of him, like so many moths to a flame.

On 8/1/16: “The people who support Hillary sit behind CNN anchor chairs, or headline fundraisers – those disconnected from real life.” So disconnected, he thought, just like Adeline and her refusal to join him in his enthusiasm for pescetarianism.

He kept scrolling back, the inspiration surging through him like bolts of electricity, the solar kind. On 7/9/16: “The dishonest media didn’t mention that Bernie Sanders was very angry looking during Crooked’s speech. He wishes he didn’t make that deal!”

He pieced the tweets together eagerly, like a master craftsman who’s been out of work since NAFTA. This would be the hit single on Sad.

 

Scandal!

Composed by Ben Gibbard

Lyrics by Donald J. Trump

 

Disconnected from real life

He wishes he didn’t make that deal

He just wants to shut down and go home to bed!

 

A borderless world where working people have no power

Waste of time

Waste of time

 

Millions of wonderful people living in poverty, violence and despair.

All of that work, energy and money, and nothing to show for it!

 

Corruption and devastation follows her wherever she goes.

She is the only one with judgement so bad

That such a thing could have happened

 

A borderless world where working people have no power

Waste of time

Waste of time

 

His legacy will never be the same.

 

Sad.

 

 

Erin Williams is the illustrator and coauthor of The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People, published by Plume, available now for preorder. She’s written for Buzzfeed, Scary Mommy, Pregnant Chicken, and Ramshackle Glam. She lives in New York with her husband and daughter.

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