Okay, I’m a bit drunk.
Let’s say tipsy, for now.
This is pathetic for two reasons: the first is that I’ve had only one – albeit strong – beer, the second is that I’m alone.
I just closed another half-hearted attempt at feeling some human connection through a computer screen. I thought the occasion was festive enough for me to open a beer far stronger than what’s left of my alcohol tolerance. I was having what I guess you could call a conversation with people I have only seen once in real life.
All I see is myself, looking at myself nodding while taking a sip from an oversized glass
‘How was your holiday’ I ask, with my eyes shifting over the many tiny pixelated screens on which I can see my would-be interlocutors moving irregularly to the coming and going of the tides of my internet connection. Somebody responds, but all I see is myself, looking at myself nodding while taking a sip from an oversized glass; pathetic. After she is done, I reply with a nondescript grunt, completely void of any meaning. It is the closest that I will come to acknowledging that I did not, in fact, follow what it was that she did for her holidays. The awkward silence follows.
After a small eternity, I start a response, but so does another girl. We both stop talking to give the floor to the other. After waiting a few seconds, I realise she is also waiting for me, so I utter some syllables, but then so does she. We laugh our digital laughs, I take another sip and give a smiling impotent shrug.
At some point, there are only me and one co-worker left, but she is frozen. All I hear is occasional laughter through the ether, and her typing; we’ve resorted to the chat function by lack of internet. We try to arrange a meeting in real life, I have every intention of following up on this promise, at least in my tipsy fervour. Then I say a hollow goodbye and close my laptop.
Writing all this, I wonder why it is that I’m not depressed
And I am alone, and still tipsy, in the real world. I stand up, but I can’t think of anywhere to go, so I sit down again; my body is a derelict temple. My girlfriend is solemnly playing the piano next door, but she is sober, which, given my current state, makes her almost as inaccessible as any online being. So, I withdraw into my tipsy musings.
Writing all this, I wonder why it is that I’m not depressed. It’s a special thought, one I don’t have often; I only ever catch myself in the opposite position (though not too often, don’t worry). My best guess is that, although I have every excuse to wallow in misery, I don’t feel like this is going to last. At least we all have an excuse to be down, an excuse with a clear (though elusive) ending. Unlike the “everything is fantastic, why aren’t you happy, there must be something biologically wrong with you” which was the norm before all this. Being privileged enough not to be dying, I can unapologetically sink into the slow life, while I prepare a little for the more meaningful battles to come.
I do wonder what historians will make of it all. I’m sure that in retrospect it will make for a nice and meaningful story one day.
Luuk Slegers is masterstudent Internationale Ontwikkeling, richting Sociologie, en woont in Wageningen op Droevendaal met zijn vijf huisgenoten. Hij gaat graag ’s morgens een stuk wandelen in het Bennekomse bos.