A dark street at an unknown time of night calls me in silence after another sleepless night. Walking the center of the street, my thoughts unconsciously return to the previous days and weeks. I try to distinguish them by something, anything, but in vain. Days are monotonous, creating the illusion of stagnation of time itself, and at this moment, the time has really stopped. Some lights in front of the houses are on, but there is no life. I focus on the sounds around me, and total silence embraces me. No cars, no noisy teenagers returning from a drunken night, no raspy footsteps of a man returning from a night shift. The world I knew until recently has changed, and I am trying to accept it, but I cannot. I’ve never been the type of person who likes to socialize, in fact, I’ve actively avoided it and still do. However, that’s me, and I don’t want everyone else to be forced to do the same. They are lonely. They are sad. They turn to violence, alcohol and drugs to find a trace of excitement in this dark world. Others turn to reading, listening, learning new things in general, but this world was not good even before this pandemic. Faced with these cruel truths, they try to suppress their emotions, their empathy. They freeze their hearts so that this gloomy world does not burn them.
We become socially distanced, not only physically but also emotionally. We are told that our neighbor is our enemy, a potential reluctant killer just because he walked down the street without a mask, and then we should expect to return to “normal” after this? Everyone looks at each other with suspicious eyes. People panic if a person just coughs. They push their ideals on each other, and expect those same ideals to be unconditionally accepted.
What else can be said about social media? For those social attacks on the psyche. As soon as people lost the possibility of physical conversations, they switched to electronic ones. The lifeless avatars of seemingly ideal versions of persons communicate with each other without saying a single important word. Cold words, without a single heartbeat in them, are exchanged countless times every day, every moment. Mindless quarrels, vain promises, meaningless optimism and unreasonable pessimism are spreading with incredible speed even right now, while I am thinking about this.
The sound of an approaching car makes me think. I move to the end of the street and don’t have the courage to look into the driver’s face. I am not afraid of the possibility that he is sad or apathetic while driving in this darkness and silence, in this disintegrating world. I am afraid of the possibility that he is happy, that despite all this, he is still somehow happy. The headlights blind me for a moment, and the whistling sound of the wind fills my ears. When the senses come back to me, I’m already alone again, and the thoughts come back along with them.
In this age, people seek solace. While some managed to find a distorted version of that consolation in previous things, others relied on persons. Not on your family or friends, but on celebrities. The cult of personality has been reborn. They rely on their appearance and words, ignoring character and deeds. This has always been present, but this degree of faith and prevalence is inviolable in my short life. We are convinced that no one can manipulate us, that this was possible only in the era before the global access to information, but we are wrong. We believe all kinds of lies and insane promises based on the popularity of the person who speaks those verbal manipulations. A lot of people believe in that person, so that person must be good. This socially toxic logic is deeply ingrained in the minds of many people who are most often unaware of the parasite that lurks in their subconscious. We listen to the carefully planned words from carefully prepared people on hypnotic screens that do not convey the core of their thoughts, but banal combinations of panic, support, sadness and positivity.
I came to a crossroads. I have to choose where I’m going now. Two paths are presented to me, telling me that I had the freedom to make a decision, despite the existence of only those two paths. Faced with this dilemma, I make the only decision that makes sense to me at this point. I turn around, and I go back.