Between boredom and terror

I hate closing shifts. The boredom is crushing. Especially at a coffee shop that also wants to be a cocktail bar. Even more especially at a coffee shop in a part of town in the early stages of gentrification. In the first floor of a mammoth apartment complex that used to be an historic theater.

Because fuck old theaters. Fuck people gathering for a live performance. Why have a theater when you can piss away millions of dollars on a star destroyer luxury apartment building? Can’t let one square inch of the city be wasted on poor blacks. They stand on street corners in tattered loony tunes t-shirts and burlap bag pants, smoking crack, pcp and weed, yelling at no one. Harassing white women and begging for change.

Get them out of here. Push them farther out into Maryland where they can continue their downward spiral of drug abuse, crime, and dereliction. There will be expansion. Always pushing farther and spending more and building and investing in gated commities for the rich. No apartment building is expensive and lavish enough. Tear down these old buildings, these take out restaurants and theaters and barber shops and gyms. They’re ugly and poor people can afford them, which means they don’t make enough.

Open up a building with 500 studios and apartments and just wait for the white women and gays to fill them up. They will bring Whole Food’s, soul cycles, and yoga studios. Then all the people who were already barely hanging on, scraping and grinding to pay rent and working for next to nothing will be priced out of the neighborhood.

When you’re already sitting on millions of dollars in investments, you can afford to lose money on grandiose, gilded construction projects and pet passions. Might as well build a pyramid and push your slaves to the brink of death. When you’re the working poor that buffs the floors or makes the coffee or cleans the toilets, you miss one week of work and you’re sitting in the dark without food.

Now I’m just going to bitch about the basic responsibilities of life. I’m going to focus on people who have more than I do and feel bad about myself. That’s the American way. Everyone has a grievance, an axe to grind. Wherever you are, someone somewhere is taking something from you. As you sit alone in your poorly heated matchbox of a room, a rich guy is getting blown by two instagram models in a solarium.

At least we all meet the same end. At least people who have more than us still don’t have enough because there’s no such thing. Not only do wealth and success not protect you from the grim reaper of annihilation, they don’t even spare you a moment of torment in the stark here and now.

Those greek myths of torment in the afterlife were really guides to life here on earth. We are all sisyphus, rolling a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down again. We are all tantalus, perpetually straining for nourishment we’ll never reach. Everything you build will collapse. All your accomplishments are dust. Did something great last week? Well what about this week?

Clean your room and in three days it’s a wreck. Eat a rich meal and in a few hours you’ll be hungry again. And that means spending more money on groceries and then washing, chopping, cutting, sautéing, grilling, baking, and seasoning another meal until it’s perfectly mediocre just like everything else you’ve ever done. And then you have another round of dishes, of plates, bowls, skillets, measuring cups, forks, spoons, knives, ladles, spatulas, strainers and graters to wash.

If you don’t do a perfect job and leave one speck of crumbled sausage or a leaf of spinach, then your kitchen will be overrun with swarms of ants and cockroaches. Alien species of insects from the unholy outer reaches of deep space will colonize your kitchen. Your roommates will resent you because they’re vegans and subsist on oreos and popcorn and never cook.

They know it’s all your fault. That’s what you get for trying to thoughtfully prepare healthful meals for your solitary self. You replace the ache in your stomach from eating pizza and grinders every day with the pain in your ass from all the work of making food yourself.

One of the things that makes me consistently dysfunctional is my impatience with day to day maintenance of life. I know it’s at least theoretically possibly to tap into a kind of zen contentment as you toil your life away, but I’m not there yet. Not even close.

Everything is work. There’s your actual job but that’s nothing. It’s the rest of your life that really takes it out of you. Clean your room, the kitchen, the bathroom. Do the laundry, pay your bills, pay your debts. Go to the gym to grind out tedious sets so you don’t look like a bag of slop even though hot women won’t fuck you anyway.

And having fun is work too. It’s also expensive. Track down a reliable drug dealer. Convince an attractive woman to sleep with you. Go to bars and lame ass events in a futile attempt to make friends. The universe is arranged for maximum tedium, cruelty and suffering. It’s a lesson in pain and boredom taught by no one to no end.

Author: The Empty Subject

Born curmudgeon

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