Notes to selfie

5.30am: Sleep is a mirror. The dreamscape is a Beyoncé video-album, in which I strut about in multiple costumes and guises singing songs about the minute changes in my moods. I awaken to the sound of my alarms – church bells pealing through the micro-speakers of my dual iPhones – and brush dreamy glitter from my eyes. As always, I remind myself that the waking world must endeavour to become more like the sandman’s domain: a reflection and refraction of my needs, wants and emotional states.

6am: The business of starting the day is never easy, because a #NoMakeUp selfie is difficult to perform with sleep still crinkling my eyes. I am, of course, familiar with a multitude of male make-up products that don’t look like make-up, but instead I choose to under-light the scene and take the shot from below, which emphasises my chin and takes the focus away from the wrinkles around my eyes. I upload to Instagram, and have 12 “hearts” by breakfast.

6.45am: Speaking of which, breaking the fast, like most meals, is a process. Meals are defined not by what I eat, but by what I don’t eat. Every single plate of food must cater to my dietary requirements. I am allergic to everything that an individualised digestive tract should be allergic to: gluten, lactose, grains, seeds, cooked food, raw food, fibre, vitamins A through L. Imagine a palaeolithic-era caveperson with an American Express platinum credit card, and you get a sense of what I consume. Tim Noakes is less an inspiration or a guru than a god.

7.15am: Gym. Oh, the gym! The gym is a song to myself, an ode to my abs and glutes and hamstrings. Mirrors everywhere. The gym is not, of course, a place to work out in the traditional sense of the term. It is rather a place to experiment with a range of powders and unguents and oils, either smeared over myself or consumed with French mineral water, subsequently sweated out in the sauna. Never easy to choose a celebrity body to emulate, but I’m working on the “Jake Gyllenhaal”, which will only require, it seems, a minimum of surgical work to obtain. 

9am: Work is a regrettable inconvenience, unless you follow a few handy pointers. There’s no “I” in “team”, but there is an “M” and an “E”. It’s important to focus less on actual work than on petty grievances between yourself and others in the workplace. Every slight must be blown out of proportion, and discussed endlessly with other co-workers with whom one must also have simmering issues. In this way, even the most altruistic endeavours – working in a children’s chemo ward, say – become about you. 

Midday: I find that the middle of the day is the perfect time to eat kale and upload to social media. Working across platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn – can be time-consuming, especially if you’re trawling other people’s postings. My hot tip? Don’t bother with anyone else’s crap — stay focused on your own life, and curate it appropriately. Take close care of what goes up in your iCloud, and make sure it contains the correct number of “embarrassing” naked images – remember, your account could be hacked at any time, and nothing would be more humiliating than having no nude shots leaked on to the Web. 

3.30pm: Time to post a staggeringly entitled comment on Twitter. The subject doesn’t matter, but your contrarian, me-focused attitude certainly does. I’ve found that it helps to be uninformed about current events, which means culling anything resembling a news site or a respected opinion piece from any of your feeds. An example of such a Tweet may be, “Big up Bill Cosby – fight the feminazi power”, or, “I really LOVED that Ray Ban sculpture in Cape Town. Madiba n Wayfarers 4eva!”

5.35pm: Have I let a whole day go without unleashing on a domestic worker, car guard or low-paid retail slave? This cannot stand. Nothing reinforces the Self better than humiliating someone a few rungs down the class ladder. (This is especially useful if you happen to be white, and the unfortunate in question is not). I find this can be easily done at Woolworths, while returning unsatisfactory organic fruit and vegetables. 

7.30pm: Finally, some Me Time. Regardless of whether you have a family, a spouse or any responsibilities at all, this is the time for you to be you. Hit social media, post some images of your 15-calorie dinner, or vent about the abuse you suffered at Woolworths. Your life cannot be banal, but either supremely brilliant  or catastrophically awful – the balance is important. 

11pm: Time to go to sleep. Before you drift off, take some time to think through your day. Have you done enough for yourself? Is there more of you in the digital realm? Excellent. Drift off to sleep with yourself in mind – sleep, after all, is a mirror.

Richard Poplak is a freelance writer who lives in Cape Town.

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