To say that life is one damn thing after another is too optimistic. The damn things overlap.Somebody
It’s a weird time to be alive, right?
If you’ve been living in the same insane dystopian quarantine hellscape that I am, that phrase is both simultaneously validating and infuriating.
On the one hand, when isn’t it a weird time to be alive? Human existence is a crazy concept, and even more so if you take a moment to really think about it. We’re all a bunch of primates who learned to put on pants and speak in complete sentences, spinning around on a hot rock that orbits a hotter rock, in the vast and endless vacuum of outer space, moving ever forward in an unstoppable procession towards our own eventual extinction, attempting to make whatever sense we can of our journey along the way. That’s never not going to be weird.
But on the other hand, this really really is just a damn weird time to be alive. And that phrase is starting to get on everyone’s nerves, but none of us can think of any better descriptor, and so we keep on saying it. 2020 has been the Year of the Weird Times. The Year of Historic Times. The Year of Unprecedented Times.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one am getting a little sick of living in weird, historic, unprecedented times. I have other things that I’d like to do with my future apart from being interviewed by schoolchildren about what it was like to live under the Trump Administration and the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Second Civil Rights Movement. I don’t want to get a cool new name for my generation based on all the shared trauma we’re going through. I didn’t ask for any of this to happen, and I am most certainly not here for it.
I just really miss the Beforetimes, you know?
I miss the days when I could go weeks at a time- months, even- without seeing the President on television.
I miss having the luxury of not paying attention to current events, because there simply wasn’t anything going on that was important or consequential enough to demand my attention.
I miss not having to wear a mask when I left my house, and not having to worry that sitting too close to a stranger on the train would lead to my imminent burial in a mass grave out on Hart Island.
I miss thinking that the KKK and Nazis were relics of a bygone era and not something that I would ever need to worry about encountering on the street.
I miss not having to fight with random assholes on the internet every single freaking day about whether or not it’s our moral imperative as a society to care about other people.
And honestly, most of all I miss knowing precisely jack-shit about how American politics operated.
Remember the Beforetimes? We really didn’t know how good we had it.
I’m not even ramping up to any grand point here. I’m just mentioning that things are still weird right now, and I’m nostalgic for the days when things were less weird.
I want to look forward to the Aftertimes, but I’m also not totally sure that we’re going to make it that far. As a society, as a civilization, as a species- I’m not sure that we’re going to come out of this mess the same as we went in.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Change is the only constant, after all; time marches ever forward, nothing stays the same, and for the most part it ends up benefitting the collective good. Things tend to get better over time rather than worse, if you’re looking at the BIG big picture.
But that doesn’t mean I want to stand here watching it happen. It’s just….it’s a lot, you know? If things could slow down for a minute and just let me catch a damn breather, maybe I’d be more inclined to show a bit of excitement about living through several future chapters of a history book.
But that seems about as likely as, I don’t know, us putting aside our petty differences to fix climate change before the Earth cooks itself alive.
So for now, pretty much the only thing I can say is that this is- and please say it with me- a weird time to be alive.