“Civilization was created by few, built by many, and given to most,” my father told me from his deathbed. “It was given to my generation, and we destroyed it, now it’s time for you to create a new one.”
“I’ll do it” I had said half-assed before he closed his eyes and passed away. It took me months to revisit that moment in time when I sat next to my dad in his deathbed at the hospital. I had tried to block it out; just like almost everything that comes my way in this shitty city during my walk to work. Like that over filled trash can, or the hobos who ask for food, money, drugs, or alcohol, or attention, or just anything that you can give them. Scums of the earth. I’m a scum of the earth too, as I kick that trash can on my way to the office. The leg of my pants get stained. It was a start to just another god damn miserable day.
I go to the men’s room and try to wipe it out with a soaked paper towel. Now there’s a seemingly obvious wet spot on my gray pants. I get even angrier as I walk out.
Because I’ve been in a bad mood, work was especially dreadful. My interactions with people were quick and dry, my motivation was low, and my morale was tainted. I hated everything about work; I hated everything about this city. I hated my life and I hated myself. Back in my apartment, I look at the mirror before I head to bed. I brush my teeth just to feel a bit more human. What disgrace I see in the mirror before me. I had ungroomed beard stubble and there were bags underneath my bloodshot eyes. I couldn’t comprehend how on earth women found me attractive, but they did. And because I hate myself, I hate them for not despising me. It’s like the analogy of a puppy in a pet store; you’re standing there thinking it’s so cute, but it’s miserable and it wants out or it wants to bite your face off.
In the limbo of the next day; I stand outside my apartment balcony in the morning and look at the sunrise as it slowly creeps up and starts to blind me. The concrete jungle sprawls before my eyes, and it just sickens me even more. Everything sickens me about this place. My dad, in his delusional Alzheimer filled last days, wanted me to create a new civilization. I promised him I would. I spat the mouthwash on the flower pot and headed inside. I had gotten up, dressed up, and now planned to show up to work. I looked at the hoards of sheep-like people before me, who looked just like me, dressed just like me, and behaved just like me. Anger and frustration in their faces; just like in mine. We were all zombies who lived and thrived in this concrete city.
“Start a new civilization” said my dad. I spat my gum on the gray sidewalk and disappeared in the force and momentum of the moving crowd.
If there was one thing I had, it was time. Had? Already discussed. Needed? Not necessarily. I knew what he said, I knew what had to be done, but in the tangled rubber band ball of a “plan” in my mind, nothing discernible could be found. When one doesn’t have a plan, what else is left but time?
I step on the metro.
See this peon’s face in front of me. See his slack jaw and hear his loose tongue, in your mind. See him hitting on women at bars and then getting belligerent at them for not sleeping with him. See the role model in front of you.
I turn on my phone.
Look out the window. Watch a few skyscrapers claw their way past the train (relativity?) before the deadly blackness of the tunnel consumes its prey. Look out. Always look out.
I look at the time.
The commute was little over 45 minutes long. I’m lucky, by relative standards. I’m a lucky bastard. I’m lucky I hate women. Attention begets violence, begets loneliness, begets death and nothing but death. Possibly debt on the way. Am I in debt? The groggy morning mindset finally hits me full in the face after another restless night of sleep and I realize once again who I’m working for. Beside my useless education, Talk Corp–a combination social media/phone/talk buddy corporation. Who knew it took so many peons to run a company that helps people… well, talk? What kind of world do we live in where people can’t just talk anymore? I hate it. I hated it then and I hate it now. The flashbacks start to show up and I block them out once more…
Talk Corp Incorporated, the megacity of the social media scene. The unofficial monopoly of smartphones and smartphone bills. (Because of course the government won’t lay a finger on what keeps its citizens in check.) And of course, the inventor of the talk buddy. What Amazon started and failed to fulfill, Talk Corp raised the ante on and won. Government statistics state that approximately 47% of all citizens owned a talk buddy. They popped up in Japan, but were a bit one-dimensional and only a niche market for the lonely 20-30’s business-nothing wanker. Then came the soccer moms: How do I deal with my passive aggressive husband who doesn’t pay attention to me except when I’m cooking and stealing his children’s attention? Honest questions. Honest answers. At least, that’s what the company strived to provide. I stretch my mind and remember a Kurt Vonnegut book about it but block that out, too. Too much history before a day of psycho-suicide isn’t good for the lungs. I haven’t decided whether I’ve started smoking, quit, or started again yet.
I… do not own a talk buddy. And it shows. If there’s one thing I haven’t lost, it’s my attitude.
And the one resource I do have, I notice, is slowly slipping away as well. The train arrives at my company’s stop. A city in and of itself. But this time, a faux-eutopia rather than a dystopia. The kind where the murders happen hidden in the minds of the victims behind closed office doors and li
velihoods are ruined over typos in thousand-page reports on labor law influences in the married couple’s talk buddy relationship. Let’s talk together! I almost say, “I wish I could talk to my father one last time…” but block that out before it enters my prefrontal cortex, too.
I step off the train.
Time. Time for another miserable day. And another. And another. Time time time. Time to drain, decay, and segue. Do I have time on my hands?
Time to think of a fucking plan, you idiot. Argh. I fall irritated with myself. Perfect mood as I step into my cubicle and start the daily routine.
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