Expressions Of Modern Day Ennui
News feed. Twitter feed. Dashboard. Scroll through exclamation points and wedding announcements with times and dates spelled out and nudes you’ve already seen all the way to the bottom. Some sadist had invented the endless scroll and you can’t reach the bottom. Curious feeling of isolation; gentle pulsing headache. Close tabs, reopen two minutes later.
The window glass is textured with dirt; your eyes settle on smears of leftover Windex and desolate squished bugs. Wonder if everyone knows they see the world through dirty glass. Wonder if everyone knows there’s always glass. Shelley wrote something about the painted veil, what was that? That wasn’t this. Consider going outside for a brief second before remembering about mosquitoes and your halfheartedly molting sunburn.
You’re at the register. The lady’s total is $4.96. She’s looking for exact change. You watch her fish each individual coin out of her wallet and drop it in her other hand with the steady, marmalade slowness of sap creeping towards a prehistoric insect. Your eyes glaze over. She is at least 105. Each coin collapsing into the pile of others is shrill like a bell and the clock has not moved.
Open the fridge: a container of half-eaten yogurt and a wrinkling eggplant. The eggplant was purchased during a flash of inspiration – baked eggplant steaks recommended by a flashy vegan cookbook. Mentally review the process of baking an eggplant. Feel exhausted. Realize you’re missing the rest of the ingredients. Feel relieved. Grab a handful of peanuts from the container on the counter and walk away.
Something happens and you can’t recognize your lover for a moment. Who is this and what happened, and when? How did their heaving mass of biology happen to collide with yours? Peer at them closely, wiping your eyes. They talk about the season finale. Your ears are enveloped in a static hum. Reach for their warmth, arms heavy like wet sediment, unable to understand for a moment what a season finale is.
Hangover at 3:00 p.m., still going strong. The phone is two inches away from your face and it takes you two minutes to reach it. Order some food. It comes eventually, in minutes or hours or days, and you tip the delivery guy extra because you got a glimpse of his bright sad irises and the world is suddenly stripped down. Later, alone, pop open the hot sweating Styrofoam and chew mechanically through the contents while thinking about time.
Examine your face in the mirror until the features melt together, blending subtly like the animal soup of a Dali painting, viscous and lukewarm. Touch it with your fingertips and almost feel them fall through the fleshy surface, fall through the stretchy muscle into the cavities like chopsticks through the translucent meat of an overcooked fish. Blink.
A clock keeps ticking somewhere. Two clocks. They’re ticking at different times. Tick-tick. Tick-tick. Tick-tick. The noise becomes unbearable. You can’t find the second clock.
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Metaphorically or literally, you will be hungry. Hungry for something to do, somewhere to go, some point to getting up in the morning.
It is so much more simple to say, “Stop caring what a man thinks, ladies, you’re beautiful as you are,” than to address all of the myriad reasons why that likely doesn’t apply to her.
These discourses, these models of life, are insidious, egregious, and soul crushing.
I cannot see the middle of a relationship at the beginning, but I can see the end from the middle. I know that there will be an end. There has to be. This is just a stop on the road.