NON FICTION: When Nothing Means Anything

Photo credit: Jeff Bush

Photo credit: Jeff Bush

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

#

Your alarm clock rings, and you forget how many times you’ve hit the snooze button today. It doesn’t matter because the clock says 7:20. That’s five snoozes, plus you’re twenty minutes late.

You mentally swat at the cobwebs in your head — most probably from last night’s drinks — and drag yourself to the bathroom. No time for coffee today. As usual. You make a mental note to sleep earlier tonight.

The weekend’s like magic, you think. Can’t believe it vanished just like that.

Your reflection stares back at you from the mirror. You look like shit,  you tell yourself. Hashtag I woke up like this. That brings a little smile out from your shell of apathy. You wonder why you force yourself to work everyday. You contemplate this as fluoride suds bring new life to your morning breath.

#

You would’ve made it to work on time, if it wasn’t for the damn traffic. By now, you’ve used up all the appropriate excuses. You had a flat. You didn’t hear the alarm. The meds were too strong. You got stuck in freak traffic.

You plan to spend the commute thinking of an excuse for today.

Time passes, you’ve come up with a new excuse, and you haven’t even moved two metres. God damned rush hour. You entertain the thought of companies agreeing on different business hours so as to abolish rush hour forever.

You wonder if anyone in traffic is thinking the same thoughts as you. Again, you wonder why you’re living a life you hate, at a job you don’t want, for a goal you can’t see.

#

You clock in. You clock out.

Just kidding. It’s going to be seven lifetimes in hell before you even reach lunchtime. Your head throbs, and you want to avoid human contact, and it’s only Monday.

Suck it up, you tell yourself. You need to pay the bills, don’t you?

Yes, you answer, despite the internal monologue freaking you out. When did you even begin talking to yourself? Nevertheless: I know I need to make a living, but why does it feel so wrong?

It’s just another bad day. Everyone has bad days, don’t they?

And like a miracle, your mechanical self accepts this reality. You trudge through the day as though you’re watching someone play a first-person shooter — with your body. But it’s a good compromise. You do what needs to be done, and you get to detach yourself from the world.

#

Somewhere down the road, you realise that you’ve been seeing more bad days than good. You try talking it out with your friends.

They attribute it to your laziness. Not really what you wanted to hear, but you listen anyway. Perhaps if you left home once in a while, they say, you’d see the world and all it has to offer. You observe as accountants turn into physicians right in front of your eyes. According to them, the Vitamin D from sunlight helps reset your circadian rhythm, improving your well-being, automatically granting you a happy life — wife and kids included.

You just need to rekindle your relationship with God, others say. Or maybe find another God.

Or Yoga. Yoga always works. Because paying someone to teach you about happiness sounds totally sustainable.

“You just need to get laid bro. Sexy times help you release all that bad energy. Just pay someone for a happy ending. Totally worth it bro.” Sounds familiar.

Apparently, there’s more ways to be happy than there are stars in the universe. Become one with nature. Try out that new Crossfit box. Go gluten-free. Stop looking for happiness and let it find you. You shouldn’t be sad when people are worse off than you. Just get a hobby you lifeless loser.

The last one sticks. You pick up a hobby.

#

You try your hand at something you might like. Inevitably, you see some progress, but it doesn’t really drive you. Honestly, you’re doing it as an excuse to get out of the house. The hobby doesn’t really matter to you.

In desperation, you dig out your old copy of X-Com. You used to love this game. Chose to play it over studying for your high-school exam. Chose to beat it at Superhuman level than getting some rest for your first job interview. You fire up the game, mess around with the settings, and promptly quit.

That’s when you realise you’ve stopped caring. You don’t care about a hobby, you don’t care about your childhood joy, and you certainly don’t care about barely scraping through a mediocre life. Matter of fact, you forgot the last time you even felt something.

And like a misfire that sparks a gunfight, a tear turns into a torrent of saltwater. You finally break into tears, not knowing where you stand in life, or where to even begin picking up the pieces. You cry yourself to sleep as time envelops you in its meaningless passage, like it always does.

#

Your alarm clock rings, and you drag yourself out of bed. It’s 7:45, and you’re late again. In the bathroom, you look at your reflection and think about the ten years since your breakdown. Like magic, you think to yourself, wondering how life just passed you by.

And every day, you’ve asked yourself why you do this.

And every day, you’ve answered: I have no fucking clue.

But maybe it’s just another bad day.

2 thoughts on “NON FICTION: When Nothing Means Anything

  1. Hi Stuart.

    I’ve just read this and You’re Not Alone. They’re great pieces of writing, both of which I can relate to. I’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff.
    Keep writing!

    All the best,
    Dave

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