(NB: This email was received prior to Covid19)
Home, not quite Alone.
Hi. I want to be anonymous but I am passing this on, to the writer Anthony J. Langford, so that someone may read it and learn from my mistakes.
I am 22. Whether I am male or female doesn’t matter. I’m not gender neutral. I just don’t wanna say what. I am writing from my bedroom, where I spend 90% of my time. I spend some time in the loungeroom but I don’t like being with my mum and my brother. So I hang out here most of the time. It’s my hideaway. My Me space. It’s also kind of a prison. Because I never leave it. It’s my own doing though. I can’t blame anyone for that. But I kind of do in a way and I’ll explain why.
I was your normal teenager through secondary school. Normal meaning like all the usual dramas, ups and down. And plenty of those. But mostly it was ok, I guess. Then I went to uni. It was better than school, at first. But then the work got hard and I had to get a part time job too to help my mum out. She insisted. Thanks for that Mum. It could of made my life better if I didn’t have that job.
Anyway’s I loved it for a long time. University, not the job. Mostly because I had a group of friends and we had a lot of fun together. Especially that first year. We had lunches, barbecues at each other’s houses, lots of drinks out at bars and club. All the good stuff.
The second year was more serious and we kind of slowed
down a bit, with the partying. Not that we went crazy partying, but with
hanging out. Plus, it’s expensive to go out too. I don’t know. People just
retreated a bit and before you know it, it’s Year Three and we hardly hang out
except for at Uni and on our phones. Instead of doing group work at each other’s
houses, we did it online. It’s not the same you know? It’s hard to get meaning
across. You realise that when you’re doing something like group work. It’s
different if you’re just talking shit or whatever but when you’re focusing on a
stressful assignment it’s a freakin nightmare. And that’s when I really
starting stressing out. Uni stressed me out. My friends annoyed me. Especially
online with all the shit they talk. Notice how some people you think you know
them, they talk shit online? You begin to wonder which is the real person.
It turns you off wanting to hang out with them. Not that we were hanging out so much, but it annoyed me having to see them at Uni and sit with them in lectures and pretend we were friends, when I know they had just posted some shit that pissed me off. They act all tough and warrior like and pretend to care about this issue and that but I know they actually don’t do anything about it. It’s just all talk to act cool and get some attention. I hate that. Pretending to care is bad enough but the attention seeking thing is really super annoying. I guess a lot of people do it? But I hate fakeness when it’s so obvious because I know those people in real life and I know what they’re like. And they’re not like that!
Take my friend Steph. Not her real name. She’s obsessed with tatts. Hers and everyone else’s. And also nails. Her nails. Not everyone else’s. She posts about the environment all the time. That’s fine. A lot of people do it. But she never does anything about it. I mean, I don’t expect her to chain herself to a tree in the Amazon rainforests but at least don’t buy takeaway juice containers and throw them in the trash. They’re made of plastic. She buys takeaway coffees and iced tea and I mean, her carbon footprint is pretty big. She hasn’t changed a thing about her own life. Know what I mean? If your gunna sprout crap all the time, then at least do something about your own use of plastics and rubbish. She’s terrible. I don’t think I even want to be friends with her anymore, because of her online profile. I have had to snooze her profile so I don’t see her but of course she pops on all plenty of other socials. And sometimes I have to go like her posts so she doesn’t get agro. She can be a real bitch sometimes if she wants to be.
At least I don’t have to see her anymore. Which is kinda my main point here. Which is why I started this in the first place. I don’t want to see her anymore, or any of my friends, or anyone, period. The thought of seeing people makes my skin crawl. Weird I know but here me out. It began with people. The idea of being in a crowd. I started avoiding lectures because I didn’t want to swallowed by the hordes. Bumping into them because they’re on their phones. Its so annoying. The crowds on the bus to uni. The crowds on platforms. I began going to Uni later so I wouldn’t have to hit the peak. It was really stressing me out. I’d put my headphones in so I could at least block the sound of them out. Them. The people. That worked for a while. In time though, it stopped working. The music made me feel even more enclosed. I couldn’t hear people behind me, then I was the one bumping into others. It was creepy. Bodies ramming into you. Sweaty, smelly bodies. People’s leftover lunches and body odour and sushi snacks and chips and juices and drinks and more phone lights than a Christmas tree. I bet if you turned off all the lights at an underground train station like Town Hall, it would be like a moving light festival. A living Christmas tree.
A similar problem began happening in other places, like supermarkets. I would be walking along looking down at my phone, and someone would deliberately bump into me, that’s what I felt like anyway. It was really freaking me out. I guess I had to put my phone down because that didn’t happen so much but the last thing I wanted to do was to look people in the eye so I would look anywhere else but at them. The Floor. The Isles. In the middle of nowhere. When I went to the checkout I would never go to where there was a real-life person. I would always go to the self-checkout, no matter how busy it was. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with any one.
Now I don’t go to the supermarket at all. I couldn’t think of a worst place to go. Those people with their baskets and trolleys and kids and old people and people on their phone who are more obsessed than me, getting in your way. It’s just horrible. Actually, there are worse places than the supermarket but you won’t find me there either. I used to enjoy getting a takeaway juice. I still like a good blended juice but I don’t want to have to line up in a cue. Worse than that is waiting for it afterwards when there’s a pile of people standing about and if you’re really unlucky it’ll be some older person who decides they want to try and talk to you. What’s with that? I don’t know who they are. Why can’t they all just let me alone?
A few weeks ago, maybe a month ago, I had to go to the Service Centre as there was a problem with my car registration. I tried dealing with it online but no one responded to my emails. So frustrating. If I didn’t sort it out very soon, I was going to have to pay a lot more. I was out of time. I was forced to go into a suburb I hate. It’s a long story but it was so stressful. I had to ask Mum to come with me because I couldn’t cope with the stress. She was really unhappy about it but I’m glad she was there because it was a freakin' nightmare. There were people everywhere there with numbers and tickets and counters with all different people behind them. I don’t think I would be able to work out what was what. I hope I never have to go through anything like that again. Certainly not by myself. And most of the time I don’t have to.
That had to end. It all had to end. It only got worse. So here I am. Alone in my room, sitting at my laptop, writing this to you. I have a small desk at the foot of my bed. I’ve got plenty of Wi-Fi so I set it up on the edge of the desk, turn all the lights off, put on my wireless headphones and pretend I’m at the cinema. I like it. It’s fun. That’s at night. During the day it’s a bit different. There’s too much light, even with the blinds closed, and the screen is a pasty grey. I don’t like the days much. . I’m aware of where I am. Trapped. Enclosed. That’s when the 10% comes in. I’ll go out. Get some sunshine, as my mum says. Ill walk around the backyard. I do two -laps one way then two the reverse way. Sometimes I’ll do that two or three times a day. Or if I’m feeling really flat, ill just sit on the grass and stare at it, imagining the life between the blades. Microscopic insects, doing their thing. A life beneath us, in the dirt and clay. Life on top of life. That’s all we are. Larger insects running around like we’re all insane, on top of the ground, while just as frenetic, (that’s a good word) but more organised life teems below us. And so, it goes on generation after rotting generation. Milling, scrambling, fighting, killing, reproducing, pausing, finally dying, quickly replaced, so fast in fact that we never really notice it. Just a slight gap before its filled with new beings and the whole messy journey begins over, unable to pass on life’s learning and experiences. Just make the same old mistakes.
You know, I saw a sign a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe it was on my phone or something. I don’t even know what they were advertising but it said, ‘Does your puppy chew your furniture?’ or ‘Why does my dog chew my furniture?’ something lame like that. I didn’t take much notice of it at the time. Then later, I was thinking about it for some unknown reason. I thought, do people really not know why their dogs chew their furniture? I mean, human beings have had dogs around for thousands of years. If we haven’t learnt their behaviour by now, then we must be really stupid. We don’t pass on the learning. We should all know these things. Yes, I think we are really stupid. A stupid species. That’s why I don’t want to be a part of them. They can turn on you. You never know who or when. Even your friends. They can stab you in the back. You can walk down the street and a car runs off the road and bang. Or you can walk down the street and some creep makes a grab for you. Or work in retail and someone abuses you. Or the boss perves on you. And you get underpaid. And have to work too much. And spend years trying to climb the ladder but there’s always another step, another person above you and too many with you. It’s all so pointless. I don’t want anything to do with it anymore. And I didn’t then and that’s why I got out.
My parents carried on like you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe you do. I don’t know. I don’t know. I only know that they wanted to categorise me with a big stamp so they knew how to deal with it. Deal with me. Depression, they said. You’re depressed. Blah blah. I’m not. Not really. Anxiety they said. Well, maybe. I’m not even sure that I know what that is. I know they wanted me to go to the doctors, which I had to. And get put on anti-depressants. Which they tried to do. I bought them, well my mum did, but I refused to take them. What if how I’m feeling is completely normal? What if this is just a reaction to the world around me? Is it my fault that society is set up a particular way? This way. The way that were supposed to all be content with. Is this life? Is this all? Surely there’s more ways than this. Work until you die. Is that it? Maybe a holiday occasionally. If you can afford it. Gotta pay for the car. Or the public transport. All the bills. And save up, so I can maybe get a mortgage of my own that will take 60 years to pay off. I’ll likely be dead long before that happens. Doesn’t sound like much of a life. With or without the fucking mortgage.
Mayne I could move to Vietnam or China or Russia and try the communist way of life. Then it doesn’t matter if I have a good job or not. I still get some money, right? Ill live in a hut in a village at the edge of a jungle and knit baskets and raise goats and kill chickens and smoke tobaccos leaves and sweep the dust from my loungeroom floor. And sleep in a hammock and plant rice in a paddy. And ride a bike and read books or maybe I won’t even have those. We’ll sit around and tell stories and make up shit and entertain ourselves and those stories will get passed down to the next generation and ill grow old there and sing songs about the old days and Ill be able to play some sort of instrument by then. A bamboo guitar or pipe. And ill have plenty of hours for sitting around watching the clouds gather over the mountains and dump rain everywhere and half destroy our village but we wont care so much because we had nothing much to begin with. And the next day we’ll begin repairs and we’ll whistle while we do it and we’ll be happy because being happy is living the simplest kind of life and not being a slave and not being surrounded by thousands of people constantly all with their self-important missions on that gravy train to fame that never reaches its destination. That won’t be me. I want no part of that. I won’t be suckered in by the lies like everyone else. I don’t buy those lies. And its all lies. They’re all in on it. The media, the social media sites, the government, the television, even the movies reflect it because they’re all inside it. I’m not ready to give up watching my movies and shows just yet but the day is coming. I can feel it trying to pull me back into the vortex. Sucker me in with those false promises. But they won’t get me. I’m not out to impress others. I don’t care what they think of me. I don’t need their approval to justify my existence. And that’s what most are suckered in by. Especially my generation. Well, all young generations, I guess. They see the glitz and glamour and the glory. I don’t. I see broken dreams and lies and misery. I know that sounds negative but I’m just telling it straight. It’s a dog chasing its tail and never quite getting it. Never satisfied. Nope. I’m out. No phone either. Ill get rid of mine soon. I’m slowly extracting myself from those sites. Closing down certain people is just the beginning of the process. The last person I close down will be me. I will have opted out completely. And I won’t miss a thing. It’s a no thing, dressed up behind a never-ending scrolling screen.
As for relationships, well, there’s no one I’m really going to miss. They know where I am. They could have come and see me. Just because I’m available by the tap of a thumb doesn’t mean they’re really communicating with me in a meaningful way. They could come and physically visit me. Give me a hug. Ask me if I’m okay. Not all but maybe one or two I would have thought might. Just possibly. I would have gone to see them if the reverse have had happened. But that’s too much to expect, I guess. Then they weren’t my friends. Not really. Not the sort of friends I would have hoped for. Not the sort of friends I’ve got. Or chosen. Or ended up with. Who knows how you end up with certain people? Maybe no one would have come to see me. Maybe I’m the problem. Or maybe everyone’s just on their own fucking journey these days, as there all so self-important with their selfies and their bullshit posts about things they don’t even care about and their animals and their food and their fakeness. That’s all it is. A big screaming ball of fake dressed up in superficial emotions with pathetic icons to represent something so vast that it’s a literal joke. That in itself, shows you how fucked the world is today. The essence of humanity boiled down to a cartoon face. Wow. We really have regressed huh. I think we must have gone backwards. About a hundred years, I think. Soon we’ll be back in the Dark Ages, all fighting over each other, ripping each other apart from the inside out. It won’t be like World War 2. It’s not country against country anymore. Its individuals against each other. Little groups of Me. Thousands of them. Millions. We’ll rip each other to shreds from the inside out until there’s nothing left. And our precious technology won’t mean a thing. Not that it ever did. Its all set up to make a select few rich and the rest just follow along, consuming as they go. The Sheep. Sheep People. The Sheepeople. And they think I need medicating! Oh, that's really ironic!
Well, I think I’ve said enough, and perhaps I didn’t actually say what I wanted to say to begin with. I’m not even sure I knew what I wanted to say. It was a warning, a letter of advice maybe, in case there was anyone else like me out there, somewhere. I hope there is. There’s got to be. But I have to say, I’m really losing faith. Fast. I thought I could help someone else somehow. But maybe I was the one seeking help. Or maybe just making my peace with the outside world. Yeah, I’ve said enough.
Thanks for listening. Or reading. Or not reading. I wonder how many who started reading this actually got to this point. A sliding scale I reckon. Sliding into disinterest. I don’t blame them for that. I’m disinterested too.
Maybe I'll have more to say another time. When I’ve learnt what my next move will be. Or maybe I'll just disappear one day. And find myself in that hut by the jungle, standing in the rain, singing my song of life. The simple way.