Time and again, I’m hit with the realization that I’ve probably been born at the wrong time. I see myself belonging to a black and white era, devoid of the complex gradients of greys. My moods belong to the intense extreme ends of the spectrum. I love too fiercely, hate too strongly. There is no middle ground. No room for the grey drapery of deception or diplomacy. A sharp contrast to the world I'm made to inhabit.
Welcome to my world. A world where we constantly have to thumb and contract our thoughts. A world of pings, pokes and likes. A place where the only touch we feel is the one on screens, the laughter we hear muffled behind a stoic ‘lol’ and our annoyance contained in a monosyllabic ‘k’.
No, I’m not ranting. I’m happy, really. Just have a look at my 67 photos with me and 5 others. Don’t you see me grinning at the camera? I mean, what spells happiness more than heavily filtered pictures of my dessert? Of course, I'm happy. My life is polished for others’ view, through the lens of the wrong end of the telescope.
We mask our personalities behind white and blue screens. Type unspeakable things on 5 inch screens. Yet our heart shivers to look each other in the eye and say what we feel.
I love you. You inspire me. I wish you would never have to leave me.
We tremble to mouth our sentiments.
Love is convenience, they say. This definition collides head-on with the one shaped by poets and singers, the authoritarians on love over the decades.
Love and leave. Come and go.
Monogamy is outdated. I think I’d be happier off as a prairie vole. We would cling to each other’s tails and mate for life.
But then pair bonding is a sensitive issue.
Were we really tagged in pairs with someone out there in the universe, only to be separated after birth, so that we could find each other through some predestined fateful meeting after tackling a labyrinth of societal obstacles?
Sounds improbable. Nature is easy. We’re born with all the things we need to survive. Two eyes, a nose, a working digestive system and so on. Are we evolving in a way that love is no longer a social need in the world? So that we only need a partner for reproductive purposes to advance our lineages, with no emotional needs attached?
It’s complicated to delve into all that, for we don’t have the experiments or the statistics to validate any claims.
But certainly the needed for deep, face-to-face conversation has drastically reduced. They have dried out, though the dregs of small talk has increased in this cup called social etiquette.
I cringe internally when I hear this word being floated around to fill in conversational gaps and distances. The word is a classic 21st century steamroller; smothering out any prospect of a meaningful conversation.
What happened to good old ‘how are you?’
Too committal a question. Who has the time to actually listen nowadays?
Uncaring. Nonchalant. Sup.
Uncaring. Nonchalant. Sup.
I'm cool. Nothing much. You?
I'm too tired of the meaningless words, the useless nodding and the non-Duchenne smiles that fade as quickly as they appear. When did our social fabric turn so coarse and bristly?
We have stopped living in the moment, we lead a life in constant retrospect. We capture momentary pleasures in a frenzy and post it to the world. Click-Click-Click. Each moment is preserved in a blurry photograph; a moment turned into a memoir even before it has been fully passed or lived. We are immersed in a wave of perpetual nostalgia, clutching at moments as they pass through.
Look at the sky. The stars twinkle tonight. The sun is smudged beautifully in the sky, splitting into pink and orange. Notice the smile of the little girl who passes by. The bird coos a haunted tune an early winter morning. Each moment is for you.
It’s all for you, not running away.
It’s you who must stop rushing.
Slow down, close your eyes. Hear the leaves rustle as they glide across the gravel, flirted away by the breeze.
It’s all for you.