On the Certainty that All Paths Lead To Oblivion
In which The Gay Recluse watches teevee.
There are times when we cannot believe how long we’ve been alive, and concurrently, how long — assuming a regular life span — we still have to go. Though admittedly it’s a thought that most often arrives during an afternoon meeting at work, it also crosses our mind at random moments in the middle of winter, when everything seems frozen and permanent, or during an unpleasant commute, or waiting in the dentist’s office, or really any number of things we are required to do that offer nothing but the tedious certainty that life is really nothing more than a pit of quicksand in which we are slowly sinking. (Oddly this never happens when watching teevee — no matter how bad the show — which is both its gift and its curse.)
It goes without saying that as we get older and accept more “responsibility,” we worry more than when we were younger. Money, our health, the health of our children the cats, the fear of dying in Washington Heights, the fear of not dying in Washington Heights; all of this and more relentlessly plagues our thoughts with an intensity we could not have imagined even ten years ago, which makes our future seem like a mountain that gets steeper and icier with every step forward, but which offers no possibility of retreat.
During these moments of existential despair, we look back at the course of our life and it seems that every time we reached a fork in the road, we went in the wrong direction. Why did we do x, we wonder, when doing y — an option that would have been simpler — would have spared us so much hardship? Why — instead of using our natural talents — were we so intent on squandering every advantage? Why did we search out those who wished us nothing but harm and misery? (Why do we blog/Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook?) We think of others — lottery winners, acclaimed artists and writers, teevee stars, anyone who owns a 2br/2bth apt south of 96th Street on the west side — with seething jealousy, given what feels like a certainty that their lives are so much more pleasant and joyful than our own. How did it happen that so many people are younger and smarter (and richer) than us, when we used to be so good at math and scored in the 99th percentile on ever standardized test we ever took? Why did we spend 10 years in a band, when 1-2 would have more than sufficed?
But this passes as we acknowledge an (admittedly delicious and decadent) inability to really do anything about anything. It’s like when we were in law school; the first semester we couldn’t believe that our entire grade would be based on one three-hour test (no quizzes, no mid-terms, nada), but by the second semester, we could not imagine ever going back to a system in which we would be tested more than once a semester.
In this way only does life offer a common denominator: all memories (like dreams and perhaps even regrets) are created equal, and all paths lead to the same oblivion.
Filed under: Conspiracy, Decay, Dissonance, Dream, Drivel, Landscape, Ruins, Search, Sickness, The Winter Garden, Washington Heights, Weather | 6 Comments
Tags: Cats, Depression, Fears, February, Layoff, Meetings, Recession, Snow, Tedium, Teevee, Work