The Impossibility of Being Earnest

Someone has left a dirty pitcher of water outside my office window and it’s reflecting the sun onto the ceiling in the form of a beautiful dancing light. I text my friend ‘someone has left a dirty pitcher of water outside my office window and it’s reflecting the sun onto the ceiling in the form of a beautiful dancing light’. She’s on her morning zoom call for work and won’t read it for another hour i think but she comes online immediately ‘are you ok?’. Oh no. It was too earnest. ‘Yes yes’ i reply. She’s still online. ‘Do you think I should join isis?’ That does it, placated she goes offline, she’ll call in an hour. 

It’s a classic millennial interaction. Maybe Bret Easton Ellis has a point when he says there’ll never be a great millennial novel. We’re too distanced from the world through irony and engage in too much cynical posturing to ever have something meaningful to say which isn’t layered in meta-referentiality. Or maybe mockery is the classic self-defence for a generation which are more likely to job-hop, be underemployed, be lonely, be depressed, be anxious, be disillusioned by the capitalist roundabout we can’t get off of than our boomer parents. The world doesn’t make sense and neither do we really. 

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I’m asking everyone what their spirit fruit is. Last week it was spirit animal and every week everyone is less into it. The laundas are sending predictable emojis (mA), then the actual replies, amrood, aloo bukhara, khobani [i like that fruits in urdu could double up as guerilla fighter names]. My friend says hers is nimboo, ‘And you know what they say ‘when life gives you lemons…’’ ‘…you squirt them into people’s eyes’ I finish. The real reason is that years of bullying left her with an acidic banter that most can only tolerate in small doses. We both know that. Another friend replies that he can’t do this today, to show i’m not angry i tell him to fuck off and walk into traffic. I’ll remember his reply in an hour and call to make sure he’s ok. I’ll also remember that lemon isn’t a fruit then google it and realise it is. 

what type of vegetable is this

There was a year [fine years] when I tried to just show up everywhere this guy was in the hope I could con him into being in love and obsessed with me [reader i couldn’t]. I called this doing the Humayun Saeed. When I told my friend my strategy of attrition she’d said it was the most pathetic thing she’d ever heard. How’s that for being earnest. I text her ‘They’re making another Punjab Nahin Jaungi how does my strategy look now you stupid fucking bitch’. She doesn’t reply. I think about all the millennial situationships which hover between being nothing and being something. ‘It’s not nothing but i don’t think it’s something, it’s not something it could even be nothing etc etc’. My sister is gen X and doesn’t understand this. What do you mean she says if a guy likes you he’ll ask you out that’s it. I actually can’t tell if she’s being serious. Later on my hands are again incredibly cold, I check not for the first time symptoms for having cold hands on google, the results tell me it could be nothing or it could be something. Can relate.  

tfw it could be something or it could be nothing

I’m waiting for a friend on the roof of Mocca, she’s five mins late and I’m passing the time replying ‘literally me’ to memes on a friend’s instastory. When she comes I roll my eyes and say ‘I was hoping you wouldn’t show up’ she replies ‘I wasn’t going to but the thought of you left here sad and alone was too much even for me’. We’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. I don’t know whether this sneering disaffection to hide the fact that we’re secret sentimentalists is as insincere as it seems or whether it’s a reflection of our post-modern time and anybody that can’t parse out meaning from this is willingly turning a blind eye to how an alienated society shows that it cares for each other. Or maybe we are just too afraid of being vulnerable to show that we care for each other.

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I’m feeling pensive again. I message my friend even though I know she’s on her morning zoom call ‘i think infatuation is finding out their favourite ice cream flavour is vanilla and thinking that makes them even more interesting but love is finding out their favourite ice cream flavour is vanilla and not thinking it matters at all’. She comes online. 

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