Now let’s get this out of the way: this year-end “festive” season has been hideously depressing for me; the way I’ve spent these last few closing days of an abominable year can hardly be described as “celebrating”; I had about 45 minutes of fun at a small barbecue with some atheists on Christmas before the beer high wore off and I just sat in my chair too sober to stay but too empty to leave; the other days I mostly spent in a zombified haze watching movies on my laptop and scrolling on my phone; I hope for nothing and all happiness for me contains its own imminent disappointment. Life is nasty, brutish… and, as Woody Allen points out in the opening scene of Annie Hall, ends much too soon.
I told one friend that lately I feel myself drained of all libido, and the invites to illicit parties just make me feel a thrill that quickly subsides into emptiness, and he said, “So just don’t go.” The other day, I was telling another friend the same thing, and he said, “The point isn’t happiness.”
I want a baby. The people all around me always talk about how they’ll never have kids, how children are all a trap; a trap into a shackled life where one sacrifices all freedom for nasty, brutish, short little creatures from whom there’s no guarantee that they won’t stop asking you for money even once they reach adulthood, not in this day and age. They say that babies are vampires, sucking out all one’s youth and soul, leaving creases and wrinkles once they’re finished with you, and they’re never finished with you. They say it’s too much sacrifice, they can’t imagine giving up the life they have now.
And me, I’m wondering, like, What life?
I don’t know how I know what I’m about to tell you despite never having raised a child and despite coming from a broken family, but despite it all – the pain and the suffering and the world being what it is – I have an intuitive feeling that the life I’m living now will kill me sooner than a life with a child would. What they neglect to realise is that I’m already living an unhappy, shackled life, and that I am constantly trying to escape the person that I am, not preserve it.
I’ve been spending a lot of time at home recently, since the rise in COVID cases and a decline in my libido for anything, and I’ve been getting obscenely into astrology. I find myself Googling all sorts of nonsensical things at nonsensical hours of the night, trying to discover a deeper inner meaning for my existence. Late at night, with all the lights on, I sit on the edge of my bed, like I’m just about to get up and go somewhere, but instead I just sit stock-still hunched over my phone, Googling questions about the positions on my birth chart and reading other people’s commentary.
Astrology’s rise in popularity in recent years as a millennial/zoomer meme is a curse. I hate it out here. Here in the wastelands of reason, the gravity-less void of understanding, where astrological “facts” just float around and latch onto impressionable minds like a coronavirus. What will I start believing in next? Those Instagram Story random generator templates that tell you things like “What 2021 has in store for you” or “Which Evangelion character are you”?
Nothing has felt quite real anymore this year. Reality just seemed to slip out the open window, blown off by some wind while we weren’t looking. I Googled, “What does it mean to be air-dominant”, and a fire-sign user on a Reddit thread commented that they don’t like air-signs because s/he finds us to be flaky and inconsistent, too indecisive to commit to a trustworthy personality or set of beliefs. It’s true, but who’s actually enough of a shmuck to believe in anything these days?
As I Google all these things and go down into rabbit holes of links that stir only the most vapid and unexamined curiosity within myself, all I feel is a phenomenal emptiness. An emptiness so massive it paralyses me. It’s that emptiness when you find yourself having just been sitting rapt on your phone in the same position for half an hour, an hour, two hours, and all the lights in your room are still on at 2AM. This is how I spend the last few days of the year, searching random badly-written websites for some sense of myself.
I can’t live like this anymore. I just can’t keep living like this. Oh my God.
They know we know they lie
This is the part in like a 12-minute song after the sentimental (fake) denouement where it starts to pick up suddenly and gets more rock’n’roll; like Car Seat Headrest’s Beach Life-in-Death
Conditional Movement Control Order extended for another 2 weeks but it’s not like there’s much of a difference anyway. Everyone is acting like normal, having their illicit gatherings and not wearing masks around their friends. The police continue to write summonses for SOP violators. But what they don’t understand (or what they probably do) is that once you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile. Don’t want people to have New Year gatherings? Then lock them down properly. I’m tired of all this responsibilising (new word I learned off Twitter) the public to obey unclear and inconsistent SOP, while the numbers rack up every day. My theory is that they do it deliberately because they have given up on dealing with the virus. You see, things have already pretty much returned to the way they were before… Only now, if you get caught doing what you normally do, you’ll get fined! This way, you can allow smaller enterprises – Mak Cik Kiah and Pak Salleh, or whomstsoever – to continue operating without having to cut them another stimulus cheque (and if they have to close? Well, times are hard for everyone); you can keep the rich guys happy by allowing their already-behind-schedule development projects to continue so they can go and make more deals to develop something else somewhere else; and, now, it’s legally-sanctioned for you to hustle the average Ali, Muthu, Ah Hock for thousands of ringgit in public. The best part: when the numbers start to spiral, you can just blame THEM! You went on TV and laid out the SOP’s, didn’t you? Sure they were vague and sure your word doesn’t count for much, but people should just know and understand the weight of living in a literal pandemic. It’s a perfect plan for giving up.
Fuck you. How come you get to give up, but we don’t? How come you get the free pass, so long as you appear on TV every now and then to blink your eyes, scratch your head, and remind people that “the fight isn’t over”? There’s a reason I’m not in government: it’s because I’m indulgently self-serving. Everything I do is for myself and my own pleasure, and all acts of selflessness are only reserved for the people close to me. Fuck you. I don’t care about your overworked frontliners whom you bring up all the time as an emotional talking point. I’m not the one on TV, not the one in Parliament, not the one who gets to ride away from messy situations in tinted cars. I’m not the one who has any control over any life aside from my own, and I’ve never wanted that control nor ever been so presumptuous – not even for a second – to think that I’d be capable of responsibly utilising that control, which is why I’m not in government. Fuck you.
But what does it matter who’s in government, right? You guys are switched out all the time like how you switched halal beef for diseased animal parts. It’s a veritable Wuhan wet-market up in our supermarkets and yet I’m still getting your texts telling me to stay safe and obey SOP’s. I’m not the one in government – in any iteration of your government – and I’m not voting the next time.
Basic science says that all living creatures are selfish creatures, whose sole purpose is to selfishly propagate their species; and to that end, it’s a duel to the death to protect the interests of one’s species. The virus is a selfish entity that only wants to mutate into stronger forms and propagate itself all over the world. Government leaders are selfish entities that only want to multiply their generational wealth. I’m a selfish entity that only wants to multiply my own salary and the instances for my own pleasure. So, one of us has got to give. You certainly knew how to kill my spirit. At the start, even after all the Sheraton stuff, you had successfully tricked me into believing that you were acting in my interest. The masks are all off now. You’ve given up. I’ve given up. All hail the virus then.