By Jamie Marina Lau

Missives from the Future: 2020 (Jamie Marina Lau)

Dear Q,

I am a big fan of your work
 
I tune into your drone live-stream almost every day unless tuition goes over time or if mom or dad takes up the Wi-Fi.
 
I’m excited that your live streams are becoming more consistent as you become more popular online. Your everyday life is something i aspire to. You live in the Sunny California that I want to live in. Your streets are painted yellow and orange.
 
Yesterday morning, i tuned in as soon as you woke up. I admire that you made the switch from frosted flakes to the Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal Golden Flax. I have made the same decision this morning. I have found it a little dry but if i wait 15 minutes and organize my coffee machine in the meantime, the Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal Golden Flax becomes a little more moist and edible. Where i am from, we must order our food online if it is not accessible within a five-kilometer radius. This morning i have had to order another box from the u.s.a. they said it will come in a few weeks (it takes a while to come through Beijing customs, especially our region). ((I also tried the Kale Cheerio – have you heard of this?))
 
I enjoyed you washing your face yesterday morning, you use the neutrogena? Neutrogena is very popular here. The foam-up neutrogena is really good – it looks like to me that you’re not adding quite enough water before you lather the liquid onto your cheeks and t-zone, though. The foam should be quite globular. Hot water opens the pores.
 
In my apartment the air conditioners are drying to our skin, and make apparent the acne that sits beneath. I’m often flaring up, i’m glad to see that even where you are, you have similar problems. Sometimes i think it’s just the air in my apartment block. Everybody in this block is young but a hikikomori – that means loner in Japanese. I’m not Japanese but I’ve spent most of my nights streaming SiTV Japan and Korea Best.
Last night I heard somebody throwing a pan at their partner, instead it hit the wall between us. It was exciting but when I heard one of them leaving I never heard them come back. I’ve heard stories of people who leave and don’t return and just go to live somewhere else, leaving all their things behind because they’re paranoid moving everything will leave them outside for too long. If you look down at the streets from my apartment, there are only a few people walking the streets at a time and they wear masks. Everybody is still paranoid the masks won’t do much for you.
 
We live on level 5, so we hear the shopping centre noise and the restaurants, which is comforting. Have you been to The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada? They have ceilings and lights that deceive you into thinking there’s a sky above you. It performs sunsets. That’s what it’s like downstairs in my building. It was renovated recently.I don’t get to speak in reality to many people outside of the building, because my mom always makes me stay inside. I’m glad to see that even though you don’t have lock-in laws or regulations in the u.s.a, you mostly stay inside too.
 
You listen to jazz - listening to music is one of my hobbies. I listen to Om Supreme by Alice Coltrane every night before I take a shower. It goes for nine minutes and a half. They repeat “in California” so many times in choral voices and it gives me chills because I know that’s where your house is.
 
I wonder if when you drink three glasses of Ballantine’s from your dad’s cabinet some nights if you are worried that the drone outside your window is connected to the law in some way, because when I googled you on famousbirthdays.com, it says you are nineteen. You listen to really sad music which you’re able to repeat and control on your Apple Watch. Your life is like movie soundtrack. You shouldn’t drink so much on your own at night, it defeats the purpose of having Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal Golden Flax every morning.
 
I’m also wondering if you are OK with them zooming in specifically on the areas that your skin is troubled? I wonder if you had to sign a contract when you became a drone star to say, yes i agree to have my acne filmed from afar and slowly be zoomed upon as I scrub. Your skin defects are a reminder that human beings are imperfect. That’s why I continue watching your day-to-day livestreams.
 
I have an alarm clock dedicated to your daily motions. Sometimes I really like to tune in when I know its afternoon and I can just watch you smoke Viceroys outside the Little Caesars. You get this look on your face as soon as you light up, like everything’s returned to a certain way. Sometimes I try to do this, and I go to the rooftop of my apartment block, but it isn’t the same. Where you are, the sky is so red and pink but here it’s bright grey and there’s a lot of neon circles blinking and filling the space. The security guard at the door stands there on his phone but doesn’t watch me. He times you. Ten minutes max, then inside. I can’t phase out the way you do at Little Caesars, sometimes you sit there for forty minutes. There’s no Little Caesars here. Are you comforted to know that people around the world watch you completely all the time?
 
And then I get really sad because even when I’m on the roof top I think about how nobody is filming me, so what is the point then? I’ve told nobody this before, except maybe one of my mutuals online, that I’ve always had a secret desire to be filmed by a drone, and for people to see the details on my face when I’m cleansing it, or to watch me as I eat rice and turnip a grain at a time by my shuttered kitchen windows. Only I know that they wouldn’t commission to film me of all the people that are living in my apartment block, there are plenty more interesting people who don’t even have time to listen to nine-and-a-half-minute songs. Last night from the rooftop I see a friend of mine in the apartment building next-door and they are dancing alone in their bedroom. When I search them up, I see that they are live somewhere.
 
Tomorrow I’ll be tuning in to watch you turn your ‘crappy’ final college paper in to Professor M. I wish you luck for that. Thank you for being honest with your viewers.
 
Kind regards,
L-Y

This story was written by Jamie Marina Lau.

Portrait of Jamie Marina Lau

Jamie Marina Lau

Further reading