After Corona, I fear I will never experience such a radiant summer or be blessed by such sweet sunshine ever again. I understand how this irony will be lost on you, so allow me to explain. The current imagined fog of fear under which you, my fellow city dwellers, currently reside in is laughable.
Oh, I understand that for you it is the most terrifying thing you can imagine and many of you have allowed your minds to construct all sorts of end of days conspiracies associated with this situation. But that’s all they are to me: dark imaginings with no shred of evidence, panicked imaginations constructing dragons out of storm clouds. You cavemen. Somehow though…I’m loving it.
I wander through this lock down city centre, past deserted parks, through empty train stations, all this quiet feels like freedom to me. What really inspires me are these vacant construction sites. Their silence is a sweet muzak for my rested mind and through my cloth mask I finally breath a free air.
I’m a model citizen of Depression Town. Mayor Anxiety has bestowed me with the key to this city. So, I’m doomed to commute from D.T. to your hometown: Perfect-Life City. All you, dazzling teeth smiling, head flung back laughing, back slapping, hugging, cheek kissing citizens of what I’m slowly beginning to believe is the exceedingly fake capitol of our shared country “The United States of Well-Being”.
I feel about as welcome here as any tolerated refugee, no matter the effort I put forth. You consider me a faulty gear interfering with the well organised, clockwork-precision that’s applied to your gatherings, conversations, body language or whatever the fuck. My apparent displacement is not tangible, yet somehow physically visible. I’m that grey cloud that has you tutting when it encroaches on the sunshine of your positive moment. I’m the shrugged shoulders of a cold front, the light rainy eyes of incomprehension, the down-trending mouth of being overwhelmed. I am that, that no one wants to see looming on the horizon, let alone in the same room.
I let your interpretation destroy me for a long time. I listened to all the therapists expound on the theories that there was something wrong with me. I suffered the numbness that medication inflicted on me….and now? Now I think you might have all been bullshitting me…. or yourselves.
But wait friend, it is not as if I too, am not prone to flights of fancy…. Accompany me to this wonderfully silent building site. Observe me as I walk to the chain-link fence, lace my fingers through the holes and take in this desertion and abandonment. How useless the once powerful machines of construction. How pointless the scaffolding that Babel-like tries to reach the heavens. My lips stretch in what I consider a smile but it’s more a facial tick that mirrors would rather not reflect. A grin that small children and pets shrink away from. But for me, my heart is glad when my skin stretches thus.
I imagine you all dumbstruck, unable to communicate, just like those poor saps from the bible. Also, just like those lost fools, I’ve observed you fall into tribalism and war which just enhances your fear of each other. Oh, the perfection of the virus that’s “just a cold” …. until it isn’t. I honk a laugh…. most would say bark but most of my laughs sound like geese honking or hissing. Yes, it’s ugly but it’s my ugly, so fuck you. Oh my! Please excuse that outburst do not leave offended but stay…. You will? Oh, will Corona wonders never cease.
I ponder those machines sinking in the mud of this construction site and imagine how they were once the mighty instigators and proud bearers of progress and here they lie idle, rusting. Is it this lack of progress, lack of the new, that partially scares you? All you small-minded consumers squandering Mother Earth’s gifts to us because you’re physically and mentally unable to just allow something to be. You need a new trend to validate yourself. A new toy. A new identity. A new… whatever the fuck.
Well guess what? It is that continual, unstoppable addiction to progression that robs me of my energy and steals my sense of well-being. This is one cause of my suffering.
I realised long ago, the uniqueness of my ability to stop and smell the flowers. Unfortunately it seems I am the only of our species who does this and thus I have in no way, shape, or form, the possibility of a meaningful exchange about it. This pushes me to the dark spaces I occupy. This lack of connection, added to my disorganisation and chemical-born anxiety, mean I do not appreciate the “beauty” or “effortlessness” of everyday, acceptable consumerism.
I let out a sigh as my brain rants. I take a second and rest my worried head on this cool metal lattice and watch as other thoughts form. This building site represents your idea of how the future should work. The future was something you felt was guaranteed. Due to that certainty it was plannable. As a species you’d plan and plan and plan. Time was your slave.
“No!” you cry.
Here are a few examples of you lording over time.
In a year: a wedding.
In six months: a holiday.
Monday to Friday: commuting to work.
End of the week: a weekend trip.
Thursday evening to Friday morning: a night out doing whatever you felt entitled to.
You didn’t give a fuck. Time was yours. In fact, everything was so certain you’d make colourful building blocks in your iCals underlining your inability to understand the fleeting.
And now? Your face holds a beautiful uncertainty. This feeling is my most loyal hound. My dogged heels stumble and fall and my faltering mental strength opens me to failure. I became a definition of unreliability. Jobs, events, girlfriends, family, they all experience the disappointment of my existence.
Oh yeah, it ain’t easy. All the, “Pull yourself together man”. All the, “This is not just about you”. All the, “Get over yourself”.
Now I sit back and watch as your uncertainty shepherds you into selfishness. Your inability to get over yourselves, your failure to see this pandemic as bigger than you, your ineptitude to recognise that this global event is not just about you all cumulating in your refusal to wear a piece of cloth to protect your fellow humans.
Oh, sweet irony, drive me to a pharmacy and get me an insulin shot. Sure, I’ve spiralled, I’ve even kamikazi-ed on occasion and yes, it took a year before my sister forgave me for missing her wedding, but I never put her life at risk. Now I get to see you all standing on the foundations of your fear-driven-righteous, indignation killing each other invisibly……. You bloody children.
I look up to the sky, feel the chain-link fence sway as my fingers release it. This new ray of insight has begun to warm me.
However, the day did not start this harmonious. Earlier I’d recklessly been following the news. God knows why. I recall the wise words of my first true prophet, Hicks, who told me that watching the news was like taking a spray can of black paint and spraying it over your third eye.
Whenever I engage in the supposed menial task of watching the news, it doesn’t take long before I’m teetering on the brink of a nervous collapse. The current news story was no exception. The pundits screamed: “Stay indoors. Wear a mask. Maintain two metres social distance.”
My pulse raced, my heart felt arhythmic, nausea pawed at my guts and burps rose deliberately through the sludge of my disposition. But it was no good, I needed cat food. And even if my own well-being is of little consequence to me, Seamus, my big-chested, thick-necked, black and white tomcat, butler and true companion, was not to suffer. Not ever.
On unsteady legs I set to the front door, opened it and stepped out. I assumed I’d be struck down within ten metres. But no, no divine intervention, no fatalistic punishment, no random negative causality. I stumbled on, maintaining a steady pace, labouring for breath behind the oddly colourful bandana (the only thing with which I could quickly improvise a mask). Ironically the tie-dyed bandana was in itself a reminder of sunnier climes before depression had gripped me. I proceeded, head-down, forthright and relieved.
Oddly, my body decided to lift my head. That was when I was blinded. No, that’s not accurate. I didn’t lose my sight. It was more that I was suddenly sighted. And what did I see? That’s right, I saw all you so-called mentally stable humans visibly suffering…. It reminded me of serving the wrong flavour of cat food to Seamus…. sure, he suffered but did he really?
My anxiety levels were high due to the news reports, but once I appreciated the fact the only thing that had changed was that now I wore a mask, and that was an act of heroism, my mood, by my standards, improved.
You all seem unable to appreciate your heroism. You trade it in for a martyrdom that is an insult to all true martyrs. I have been accused of martyrdom all my life. Still, my pain was chemically induced and needed treatment. Your suffering is truly self-inflicted and unnecessary.
Suddenly I found connection; oh no, not to you, but to myself. I understood how real my pain was. How it didn’t define me but belonged to me. It was more valid than the suffering you put on about your “loss of civil rights” at having to wear a mask to protect others. My disconnection is genuine, unlike that of the couple who scuttled by, acting awkward about not being able to hold hands or being unable to kiss because of the masks. They’d forgotten that this short-term heroism saved lives and was no real inconvenience. They still had the option to be nakedly intimate as soon as they got home. I realised this self-inflicted martyrdom was in no way related to my pain.
Now I walk these streets warm and happy. I imagine all you idiots protesting because you’re unable to distract yourselves from your lives by shopping. All you time junkies growing angry as the cold turkey of not being able to plan everything consumes you. Your fear and uncertainty leaking out into social media to expound your vitriol and conspiracy.
Yet you are spared the crushing, anxious insecurity that comes with considering the very real fragility of life. You know nothing of the real destruction forged by an inability to share this truth with the rest of your species. The fact that you are now all experiencing an approximation of this equates for me, connection.
I bask in this sunshine; for now. I know it will end. I realise my exodus will come and this sudden artificial association of ours will end. Oh well, not to worry, when the time for us to swap roles is upon us, do not fear, I’m much better equipped to deal with insecurity and fear than you. You’ll be spared the current trend of conspiracy and idiocy….
In the future….
if you remember….
try to be…..