“What kind of restaurant is this?” “Massage.”

Our Goodwill Guide in Osaka was walking us down “the longest street in Japan” on the one cold and rainy day of our trip when we passed a pachinko parlor and my consort, Mr. Curious, asked if we could check it out. We stepped inside and my world was instantly rocked. After more than a week of living largely in real life, seeing and experiencing rather than compulsively clicking and reacting, I had just been transported into IRL Twitter. It was loud, a steady, rhythmic din of slot machines, like the firehose feel when everyone is responding to something either newsworthy or stupid (or, these days: both). It was too bright and too young and too neon-y but somehow still dark. It was smoky, very smoky, and even that felt right despite the fact that Japan has pretty much ostracized old-style nicotine addicts — assholes can always get through. It had everything but my keyboard and the instant notifications/gratification. I was almost vibrating.

Then I saw the writing on the wall:

This space overflows with dreams, hopes, stimulation and excitement

Dramatic developments await you

Please be released from everyday life and enjoy yourself free.

May the fortunate goddess smile at you.

@Jack could not have put it more insidiously better.

I was still scribbling that down when Bob reacted the way he did at Churchill Downs back in the early days of the consortium when I once won a few bucks on a horse. The same guy who insisted I get on Twitter (“if you do the cat book, you can drum up interest in it”) grabbed me by the arm and said: “We’re getting out of here.”

And here I sit, with the sound off.


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