I cannot exist at my job any more. There, I said it. My ability to ignore the truth for long periods, even after I’ve recognized it, stuns me. Why am I still here? I don’t know. The part of me that takes definitive action seems to be asleep. Why? I don’t know. Even in the face of all that I have learned my legs are frozen. My heart is frozen. My face is frozen from my constant, practiced neutrality.
So maybe I should just quit. Quit it all! The job, the frozen face, the immobility. Quit. It. All. Because it’s making me crazy. I wish I could be locked up with the other crazy women so we could sit around and talk to each other, our needs taken care of by people in white clothes, lovely pharmaceutical nothingness, no more pretending to be sane, no more pretending to care about whether or not I’m “managing” my future correctly.
I don’t care! I’m not sure the extended lifespan is doing humans much good anyway. All we do is worry about who’s going to take care of us those extra years. What’s the point? There is no security, only the Marketing Department’s ad for security. Apparently, the real story is if I don’t spend half my life talking to some financial guru, I’ll be destitute. If the mutual fund in which he sticks me succumbs to the laws of Chaos, I’ll be destitute. If the boys with the guns and the fluorocarbons don’t wise up, not only will I be destitute, I’ll be living in some kind of bunker by the time I’m sixty. Do you suppose they’ll charge me rent? (Yes.) If one of those big meteors decides it’s time to visit cousin Earth, I’ll be destitute and dead in a bunker. Or at my desk, because my breasts weren’t big enough to merit a place in the New World Order. How do I explain to my soul that slavery was worth it when the ground starts to shake?
It seems to me that I have not looked hard enough for an acceptable alternative. I have allowed others to cow me into inertia. I have decided prematurely to hedge my bets. There is no hedging, only diluting. And as my solution becomes weaker and weaker I can feel my future fading, its colors pretending at washed-out familiarity, its song popping and crackling with the nostalgia of insecurity. It’s a wonder that old people living in Homes don’t set fire to them. I can see the news now. A perplexed newscaster wearing one of those perplexed newscaster faces ticking off the details, the damage, the dead. And then, stunning footage shot by a nurse with an iPhone of old people in dressing gowns knocking over lunch carts, waving bits of burning furniture, setting the pretty pastel drapes ablaze. One of them rips the phone out of the nurse’s hands (we hear her startled “oh!”) and flings it through the window. Tinkling glass, sky, then static.
Everyone I try to talk to about this ends up telling me the same nonsense thing. Be true to yourself, but not so true that you end up with no money. Take risks, but don’t take risks. Follow your dreams, but stay here. Live just enough so that you don’t die.
You know what I really want to do? I want to get rid of all the crap that corporate America has spent trillions of dollars selling me. All of it. The bullshit entertainments, the cutesy furniture, the over-the-counter remedies for problems I wouldn’t have if I stopped living this lifeless pretense. Convenient this, plastic that. Crap is what it is. (I’ve been working really hard to buy crap.)
And the last thing to go, so I can savor the moment undistracted by lesser evils, will be the television. Greed spouter, sucker of energy, unrepentant mercenary killer of ideas. Sheepdog, pacifier, and flat out liar all rolled into one. I am convinced its chatter will follow modern civilization even into the depths of its own destruction. When the bombs go off or the greenhouse starts to sizzle we will still be looking at car commercials. Or maybe we’ll switch to bunker commercials. And when you take your coffin-like place underground in the New World Order (assuming your breasts or your balls are big enough) you’ll find that, just like everything else, it doesn’t look like the ad.
So that’s it. I’m through. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die free, and happy, and quiet. Kill the television, honey. I quit.
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