“Fuck, its hard work being a normie” he said solemnly. “All of the daytime is spent inside four walls, earning money to pay rent for four walls at night time, only to avoid living a life inside four walls!” He fumbled for his lighter, single Marlboro Red drawn slowly from the drab green generic packets that they had started selling them in. His soft hands slid back and forth up his legs, trying to find where the lighter had gone.
As he sipped his single malt scotch, he tried to avoid getting ash on his girlfriend’s laptop.
“But what are our options? We revert to a life of hiding things that aren’t ours in the front of our pants, in order to sell them to people who can’t or won’t take the risk of hiding things in their own pants themselves? A life lived not knowing where the rent is going to come from, where a Friday is exactly the same as a Monday? Where you only live for today and the problems and wars of another become so much less significant than the twenty-dollar piece of steak and a bottle of imported Vodka you just walked out of the store without paying for? They are, but the utopian construct of a bygone era, you would do well to imagine it with its hair slicked back with margarine, and washed down the toilet like last nights party..”
I sat back and reclined in my seat; I could tell he was on a roll.
“We could forgo all the niceties of the modern age and share a squat with a forty something Heroin addict named Donald who can’t remember the last time he called his mother? Or we wake up at the same time everyday, and walk into a building to make someone else more money than they pay us? Our options these days are, how should I say, fucking limited.”
His opinions on life were jaded and cynical at the best of times, but that’s why I liked him. The Jam’s Going Underground played at a moderate volume in the background, fading in and out of earshot above the sound of his bellowing and preaching.
He remembered where he had placed his lighter, as he took a deep sigh and slid another cigarette from its coffin. He shook them as if it would make more of them appear in the near empty packet, took a step back from his drink and as he calmly lit up, stared me right in the eyes.
“The weekend warriors who kid themselves they aren’t junkies, they are the worst.”
His stare wavered as he took a long draw on his cigarette.
“But what am I to know? I’ve been there, done that AND bought the t-shirt. But I was never raised to know otherwise. The two distinct worlds I can see living in tandem only exist because I’ve been a happy minion of both. What if they were only manufactured by my psyche, as I tried to rationalize the life I was living at the time? The truth is I cannot, and will not, ever know. But if I were to try and explain this bipolarity to someone else, how can I expect him or her to interpret it the same way I do? You know what I mean don’t you?”
I nodded, but I didn’t.
“Of course you understand, because you’re one of us. One of the chosen few.”
He burped loudly and unashamedly. I could smell a combination of the greasy aftermath of what he considered food and expensive scotch, lingering in the air between us.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but misery is the kindest mistress you can keep. If nothing can make you more happier than to be sad, the happy moments mean so much more, right?”
The self-destructiveness of his being was overwhelming. The next thing he would probably try telling me would be something about God. I reached for my glass and tried to finish my drink as fast as I could. He wouldn’t give a shit that I had to go to work the next day. He would more than likely pull out some highly illegal object soon, in a feeble attempt to rile a response from me. I was used to this from him. Last time we were in this same situation, he pulled out a bunch of war medals and a semi automatic handgun from underneath his bed and tried to get me to go down to the river and shoot fish with him.
“Remember when I used to hang out at the bus station? And just wait until I saw a face I knew? That was my life. I used to just wait until someone who had a life different to mine would walk past, and I would stick to them like glue. I would try to live a few hours of their life, because that was all I had. No job, no car, no girlfriend, just other people’s fucking lives. And I can tell you one thing, people have boring fucking lives.”
He filled my glass for me. I really needed to go, and I think he could tell.
“But in turn, I became a bit of a Pied Piper myself. I remember when you used to follow me, following other people. Now THAT’S a trip! You used to bump into me, remember? Or I’d bump into you, same same, and we would go wandering around together!”
I stared at my now full glass, wondering how long it would be until the next train.
“Yes.. That is true.”
“Now, the kids these days, they just follow people on Twitter. They don’t get their hands fucking dirty! They just read about what another halfwit kid thinks about the latest meal deal they are selling down the chicken shop.. They couldn’t give a fuck about getting lost somewhere..”
The scotch had definitely taken its effect, as he had now gotten up out of his chair and was now parading around the room shirtless.
“Get lost you should, how about that? You should fuck off, I’ve got to write my next piece for the blog and I’ve got no fucking material, what good is it for me to just sit here drunk talking to you? I’ve got to spread the good word of our saving father, the Government!”
He stood on the table, feet sweeping playing cards and rolling papers to the floor.
“We are the youth, and we are getting older! One day we will be able to stand behind the podium and tell YOU what YOU have done wrong and who to hate next! We will stand proudly under the one flag, united! And then there will come the people who grew up next to us, oblivious to our world, standing in the podium next to us, telling us that it is in fact WE that are wrong! And so forth we will tumble, in eternal chaos, cowardly placing faith in the fact that the newest hash tag trending on Twitter will somehow distract you! The true meaning of propaganda is not to tell you a version of the truth my friend, but to make you so disinterested in the truth that your apathy overwhelms you! And when your apathy cannot get any stronger, that is the moment, that is the moment your smartphone tells you to vote for us!”
I slowly packed my bag and got up to leave.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, yes?!” he said, still standing on the table.
I nodded briefly as I closed the door.