I was in a hospital waiting room today and while I’m ever grateful for free healthcare, the hospital and people in it, made me feel like John Simm in Life on Mars. For someone who struggles with being grounded in reality at the best of times, it was a real struggle not to feel like Walter Mitty. It was also, in another sense, totally grounding – being faced with the lump that at the time could also be my own mortality. Now I know it’s just a blocked saliva gland and I was panicking for months over nothing, but the point still stands.
Those grounding moments that we all have put things into perspective like never before from appreciating the little things to the big things. It sounds wholly cheesy but for me, sat in that boiling waiting room with the world’s largest collection of elderly Northerners, I began to put things into perspective. I’m less stressed about looking for a job brought about by my realisation that maybe I’m overthinking it and overselling it like the bloody lump. Or perhaps my own job hunt was just a personal distraction from what I need and what I need is something to alleviate the boredom. It’s true that idle hands to the devil’s work because in my case it’s chewing my nails to shreds and the beds really need time to recuperate if I decide to hold on to my dignity and not go to the nail bar.
Just looking around in the waiting room with all the people and their loved ones made me think about the future and that dreaded horrible realisation that maybe I do want someone. I’m disgusted with myself, taking pride in independence – emotional or otherwise -, solitude and existing in a strange aura of ambiguity that I’ve been told I have. Problem is, I like perhaps millions in this situation, have no idea what I actually want from that. Maybe it’s an underlying problem with our own ideals of perfection within relationships and companionship that can never truly be lived up to. Or maybe perhaps, most of us are too willing to compromise rather than do the braver, selfish thing of saying no to compromise. As a partial-subscriber to libertarian beliefs, the latter makes way more sense. Lets’ consider for a moment the people who seem to get through marriages like toilet paper; are they happy? Fuck no.
It’s all one big journey and when it comes down to it, we all need to learn to read a fucking map. We may all look at the roads in different ways but in the end, they all end up the same way: a coffin (or an urn but that’s less dramatic). I’m not judging what people do with their time but when constantly faced with death’s door, like the fossils in that waiting room, why not inject some fucking spontaneity. Take a risk, take a road not travelled because why not? I’m sure I’ve definitely said something like this before but perhaps the repetition is the universe trying to tell me something. So, if I want to effectively tell my friend of eight years that she looks hot in her new Facebook profile picture in a weird cryptic way to not totally look like a creep, dammit, that’s what I’ll do. As long as it’s not hurting or bothering anyone else, where’s the harm in getting up and doing what the hell you want to do?
There’s my new mantra and perhaps one for us all: ‘why the fuck not?’.
I had a nightmare about space, which is a first for me considering the usual bad dream consists of the woman I care for being roundly fucked while my grandfather scolds me for a bad school report. This cosmic odyssey seemingly tried to tell me that no matter how much space we have to move and get away from each other, we’ll always feel choked. A strange notion considering that humans are supposedly herd creatures but now after feeling something that livid, it makes me wonder that perhaps we are inherently solitary.
In my life right now, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so quite literally alone yet contrastingly I’ve never felt so trapped within a fish bowl of what I can only understand to be my own creation. Perhaps this is a common feeling amongst the modern, 21st Century human being as we are all trapped within our own well documented lives available at the click of a mouse. Long gone are the days where we can move away to a new place and start anew because whether it be a horrific photo of us that our mothers post on fucking Facebook or incredible debt, something is always following us around. Is that a new notion or one as old as the universe itself and the grim reaper just does business under a different, digital name?
Of course, it’s an entirely hyperbolic thought but I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking a piece of me dies every time I go onto Twitter. Perhaps Perry Como’s ‘Killing Me Softly’ is more relevant in the Digital Era than we ever thought it could be while we swim around our own little goldfish bowls. It’s a cliché to say, yet it’s true: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result and if that doesn’t surmise human life, I don’t know what will. Like literal goldfish swimming around the bowl, repeating the same three seconds over and over expecting to find some new patch to make our own.
If we all hop into our dream convertible and drive into the sunset we would all find a place where no one would know our name. Yet the dream of true freedom would collapse entirely as soon as we access an ATM or that someone finds internet connection and discovers that you’re a former checkout assistant from Whittlesey. Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a connected human kind destroys the idea of individualism and the freedom to be individualistic in a way that has forced us all into a mass hysteria, exploding in our pants at the thought of the new iPhone. Most employers in 2017 use social media to check out potential employees and fire current ones because their definition of humour differs – hooray for civil liberties.
Perhaps the most hopeful ending to any film I’ve ever seen is that of The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne is able to erase himself and Selina Kyle from everything using a ‘clean slate’ device. Even within the film, the writers note that the idea is ludicrous and the world today is far too small to truly start a new life, whatever the fuck that may entail. Yet it’s a thought that while wholly fanciful is perhaps the underlying dream ending for us all whether we be that mysterious stranger or a former checkout assistant. This is exactly why the final frontier is so attractive: it’s mysterious and endless and just out of reach so some arsehole somewhere hasn’t ruined it yet.