This is the latest in my series of Imaginary Conversations. You can read the rest here. This one is... not so imaginary.
What the Hell is even happening anymore?
I don't even fucking know
Like I literally have no idea what is happening right now. Have I taken crazy pills? I feel like I've woken up in fucking crazy town.
Well to that pill analogy, perhaps it is more like the Matrix where it has always been like this but now you see the people hooked up to the machine and you are like "What the fuck? When did this happen?" But it has always been like that.
I mean I get your point, but I really don't think it has always been exactly just like this. I'm pretty sure this new shit is a whole different round of what-the-fuckery than the normal shit. I mean even taking into account my privilege and my lack of experience with some of the normal shit that other people have to deal with, this shit seems like pretty crazy fucking shit.
Is this what it was like during the Cold War?
I mean this feeling. This feeling like the world is going to end. Or even if it isn't going to end that it could end. Like that big end of the world clock deal that they have is closer to fucking midnight, you know what I mean?
Ah.. yeah I get what you are saying
Where do they keep that fucking clock?
Ya know the end of the world clock. Like they have this big clock and when things start to turn to shit some dudes in suits come out and move the hands of the clock. It is like this giant novelty Publishers Clearinghouse check of symbolic clocks.
I know what you are talking about.
Is it in a storage unit or something until the clock keepers decide to move the hands of the clock? Do they just reassemble it for their big press conference of clock hand moving or does it actually just sit there in some office and people have to walk by this clock every day reminded that like the Earth could end and shit.
You seem really emotionally invested in this clock.
Well, I'm just saying that the clock is probably going to have to be rolled out again, ya know? I'm just wondering what the clock might be up to.
You know I'm sure you could probably Google this.
Eh fuck it, I'm just bullshitting about the old doomsday clock. It doesn't strike you as odd that we have an end of the world clock?
Yeah, it is pretty odd. It is like those terror alert colors we got rid of a while ago. It was almost always on Orange anyway. Like what does Orange today mean compared to Orange yesterday.
Well sort of... but it has been at 3 minutes to midnight for only like 2 years now. It was lowered from 5. Last time it was at 3 was in the early 80s and stuff. I was too young then to remember, really. I don't remember what it was like to think the world could end. And like obviously I am not the only person who has this feeling like the world could end. Obviously the people who manage the clock moved the hand on the clock a little while ago for a reason and I bet you anything they are going to move it again soon.
So end of the world, huh?
I mean that's kind of dumb, right? It is dumb to talk about the end of the world as a thing. It seems alarmist and childish. But... I dunno, people in the 50s didn't think it was bullshit. They were making bunkers. We are somehow under the impression that bunkers aren't necessary because of that whole mutually assured destruction thing, but what if some men want to watch the world burn.
Have you been watching Dark Knight again?
No, but I've been thinking about it ever since our nation elected an actual fucking comic book super villain.
Maybe it is a digital clock now
Whatever. Whether it is a digital clock or an actual giant novelty clock it is a thing and it fucking scares me. I can't even look at regular clocks anymore. I keep thinking of this clock.
Really. I have gone from being sad and depressed to being pissed the fuck off and disappointed in America to being really and genuinely terrified. I know that fear isn't exactly the most productive emotion. I should be thinking proactively and stuff like that. But... all I can feel is fear right now. I am not joking around I am seriously worried about the end of the world.
I know you aren't joking around. I'm just worried about you.
Well, thank you for your concern and all that, but you shouldn't be worried about me, you should be worried about the myriad of ways our democracy has been/ is going to be undermined, what our nukes are up to right now, and the fact that global warming is irreversible and nobody is doing shit.
It's not like I'm not worried about those things too, but you seem to be really preoccupied by those things.
HOW CAN'T I BE PREOCCUPIED IT IS OUR LITERAL SURVIVAL?!
Just... Ok I don't want to tell you to calm down. I don't want to be dismissive of your feelings. Just... just don't forget to breathe and all that.
I am finding it hard to
I know. I see that. You seem very anxious.
Anxious doesn't even touch it. I am feeling complete and utter existential dread.
That can't be very healthy for you
Neither is war. Neither is the irreversible destruction of our natural world, the polar ice caps melting...
No, those things don't sound so great either.
I try to think about people in the 50s or 60s. Like how they didn't know if Russia was really going to attack. Like how they actually thought that it was possible that nukes would come down. That they had duck and cover drills for that shit. It seems so removed to me. Even though I was born in the 80s I don't remember that feeling of fear. I have a lot of disconnect watching movies like Red Dawn or Hunt for Red October and all that. That whole fear just seemed kind of silly to me. I didn't understand it. I wasn't old enough to understand it then. 9/11 was scary but even then it was like... I dunno... I did feel like our nation was protected somewhat. Now I just don't even believe in this country at all.
I know. I understand what you are trying to say.
A while ago we were talking about the apocalypse and you kept saying how you thought that Trump would never get elected and if he did get elected he wasn't going to be Hitler 2.0 and if he did get elected Immortan Trump wouldn't have roving bands of war boys off like, ya know, tearing women's hijabs and acting like actual Nazis. Remember that?
Alright, so I was trying to be optimistic
That's what I'm saying. People try to be optimistic and dismiss fear as alarmist and insensible. I told you. I TOLD YOU. I told you fucking 6 months ago that the future we were heading toward was closer to Mad Max than Star Trek and you didn't believe me. What do you say now, hm?
I am worried about the state of our nation, but I still don't think we are in some kind of disaster movie or dystopian YA novel. The people in charge are shitty and they are going to continue to be shitty, and people are going to suffer because of it, but they have a financial interest in not like completely destroying everything and just maintaining the status quo. I agree our environment is pretty much fucked, but the effects of that will be on our great grandchildren not on us at this very moment. Do I feel shitty about the way things are? Yes of course I do, but I still don't think things are as bleak as you make them out to be.
I just can't muster even that sliver of optimism. I just can't. Right after the election I was worried about having a shitty president, a shitty administration, about roll backs of civil rights, about lack of progress, about undocumented people being kicked out or Muslims being rounded up. Even some of those things people thought I was being alarmist about. But now? Our very democracy undermined by Russia? China annoyed? Fundamental faith in the election process destroyed? I don't know how our republic can even survive this. Before I was just sort of being hypothetical with the Mad Max shit but now I really don't know how America gets out of this as America. We either become a banana republic or a military junta or we completely disintegrate. I don't think there is a coming back from this. Before I was talking about the apocalypse as a hypothetical and now I am even more afraid. Whether the guys moved the hand on the clock or not it feels more like 2 minutes than 3. I don't know how we are going to survive.
Life finds a way.
Fuck it I would take fucking dinosaurs over this. I would take aliens coming down and ruling us. We don't deserve this fucking planet. I don't want to be a fucking plucky rebel freedom-fighting Katniss motherfucker. Fuck Jennifer Lawrence and her bullshit. I just want to live a normal life. But I feel like things will never be normal again.
What did Jennifer Lawrence do?
Fucking sat on some sacred rocks or some shit. She is a bitch. I'm over her.
So anyway. Where was I? Oh.. end of the world. So yeah I mean when we had this conversation 6 months ago I told you all it would take would be one thing to send the whole shit crashing down and you didn't believe me. But I think we have reached that moment. Or we are reaching it soon. The tenuous grasp we had on this reality is failing. I don't know what comes next. And I know you don't believe me. You think it is all hyperbole and anxious rambling. But I can't take my eyes off the clock. I used to have some semblance of optimism and it is gone now. I am just broken.
I... I'm sorry.
You have been pretty quiet lately. You haven't been as chatty as you used to be.
I'm scared too. I'm trying to be the voice of optimism and positivity but that is hard for me too, ok? I really didn't think he was actually going to win. I really didn't think that any of this would really happen. I really didn't think actual Nazism would be normalized. It seemed absurd to me. Now I don't even know. I don't even know what to believe anymore. I want to be the voice of optimism for you. I want to tell you that its okay or that we will make it through or that things aren't all that bad but... I can't. I can't do that. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry too. I've been so focused on my own feelings that I haven't even considered how you are feeling about all this.
I'm feeling not that great, if I'm being honest. I'm feeling more like we really are in that Star Trek scenario where we have WW3 before we get to any of the good stuff. I'm feeling like you were right.
That's not good. You are supposed to be the sensible one
I know that. But I just... Can we just talk about something else?
What do you want to talk about?
I dunno. See any movies lately?
Moana. You wanna talk about Disney movies?
I don't even know. I'm having a hard time even escaping lately. Escapism isn't even working like its supposed to for me either.
Well what am I supposed to do when you are all depressed and I am all anxious? One of us is supposed to be normal.
Maybe this is normal
Depressed anxiety is normal?
Maybe. Maybe it is now. I don't know how you live in this world and not be kind of depressed and anxious.
Should we see somebody about this?
What are they going to do? Are they going to change the president or make Nazis go away?
Well... no... But maybe they can help us
I don't think there is helping us.
That's... wait a minute you are supposed to be the sensible one that is a really shitty attitude to have. We really need to do something about this attitude. I mean yeah okay I think the world is going to end but maybe we can have a... good... shit I am terrible at this. You are supposed to be the optimist. I don't do this very well.
Don't say sorry just say... We are supposed to end this conversation on a hopeful note.
Spider-Man Homecoming looks dope
Yeah it really does... wait.. this doesn't solve anything. We haven't resolved anything