The decade has changed us. We walk, run, ride the bus or subway just staring into space. Our earplugs, neatly fitted to contain us, sing us songs we know by heart. Back home, back online, we flip through the avatars of people we scarcely know, and those of our closest friends, as if it were the same thing. And because the medium demands it, we try to shine out in these dismembered blurts of text, dousing our emptiness with irony or argument, every last one of us chasing that high of recognition, that spot in the culture, that drug, as if we each can get a cut of it, be famous for fifteen people.
This is the world our leaders have given us, a world in which we are asked only to work, consume and acquiesce, and accept suspicion: any one of us could be the terrorist. We are free people who don’t act free. And while we elevate safety to such heights that there are drugs to level even the emotions of risk, isn’t it delicious how mainstream living—the driving, the engineered food, the soft plastic containers—itself, is killing us? It is a quicksand, to struggle against it only helps it swallow.
All I want today is to turn the noises off, sink into a couch and play music neither of us has ever heard. I want to leave the weariness and cynicism to others, and walk with you someplace we don’t always go. I want to look actively, look for something we don’t always see. I want to stay up all night making stories with you, telling them, forgetting them—we can always make more. I want to spark a rebellion in favour of the one real friend versus the eight hundred “subscribers”, of the private moment versus the public display, of the things loved and let go against the things repeated and clung to, of the sensed and felt versus the analyzed and synthesized. I want a real life.
A note has been circulating. It is a list of all the questions one should ask, all the details one should demand, all the prudent tests and forays one should make, before opening up to love. I wish I could tear it to pieces and throw them to the wind. I want to get to know you through the music you love, the books that have changed you. I want to know you through your most fleeting and foolish fantasies, through my own senses. I want to know the you who has stayed up too late, gotten too drunk, indulged in too many daydreams out loud, and is not worried about how she comes off. The end will come, and probably just as our leaders have described it. And when that end comes, I promise I will not care in the slightest where we all went wrong.