I follow in my ancestral footsteps as my coffee sloshes from my mug and leaves droplets on the carpet. I won’t ever wash it, I’m sure it’s fine, the house smells worse than coffee anyway, I’ve really only ever improved the scent. Like most other things, I’m making a mess as I find my way through.
It’s a new year. But somehow we already live in the second month. The one-year anniversary approaches of living away from each other, covering our mouths, worrying about more than we ever did, even though we already worried quite a lot.
Somehow life has mostly plodded on as usual. We’re expected to work, study, clean (but not the carpet – don’t ever tell anyone about the carpet) – all on our own. It’s more obvious than ever before that we’re on our own, surrounded by others on their own, surrounded again by an entire planet on its own. Society at large seems to be surviving only by definition, cemented by taxes and rule followers: families that wait to cross at traffic lights, dog owners who pick up poo, sweet ape-like creatures who dress themselves and go about life how they ought. The recent drama with the stock market only underlines all of this – it turns out it’s all a game, whether or not you know you’re playing. We’re all born into it, and we either learn the unwritten rules, or end up an utter failure in a coffee-stained hallway. Or worse – you might not like coffee, you might not have a hallway.
Though suddenly I’m much more grateful for everything I’ve ever had, whether or not I still have it. It might be just the coffee talking, here, but I’m appreciating my childhood friends, the multitude of houses I’ve called home, the books I’ve loved, and all of the people I find still in my life today. It also seems easier to let things (and people) go – probably because we’re all balancing so much. We’re playing on survival mode more than ever before, in a game much more confusing and with more challenging problems than our little ape-brains have ever had to face. (Or so I presume. I can’t speak for those of us who had to fight giant toothy cats to survive. I mean, it’s just a coffee spill and a global pandemic and stuff, right? Calm down.)
It feels though as we’ve all been collectively procrastinating (something I know how to do pretty well, thanks) and now everything’s due next Friday and we don’t really have enough time left. It’s all piling up on us, one by one by one, and it’s too much to manage, too much to comprehend, let alone fit into our Google calendar.
And that leads me to the whole point of all of this, which is that I’ve never claimed to be an academic – I obviously don’t like to follow grammar rules, let alone do scholarly research or make MLA-style citations. So, I think it should be acceptable to my professors, who hold the mighty red pen so loftily, that I leave a little note letting them know that I tried my best (mostly) and to give me a gold star sticker like I got back in kindergarten. I mean, who said older people don’t like stickers? Why is that a rule? I don’t know how to be an academic writer in the same way I don’t fully understand how the game of society works. So, let me get away with making it up as I want. It’ll all make sense in the end. (Mostly.)