I was watching two pigeons on the roof of the garden across the way from ours. I was hoping they were more than they appeared to be, imagining two people instead. There was a third one that came in intervals, swooping in on the two from behind. When the third bird spread its wings, the insides of them were white— it was its own thing. The other two were one in the same. They were so obviously inseparable, all three of them.
These are a week’s worth of passing thoughts, sort of.
I think about this often, I don’t have many opinions these days. It’s feeling quite problematic, so it plagues my thoughts. And I say these days— but really, it has been a long time.
It feels awkward, suspicious to be someone of few opinions. I don’t really count that as an accurate way to describe myself, but it is more true than not. You round things up in life. It’s a rare and fortunate thing to come across something that encapsulates another so completely, that you don’t have to force it to fit. I don’t want to use the word passive, I don’t even want to brush past it, it stings. It *can* be true though. And it feels weird that it takes a lot— too much, to get a rise out of me. This has been on my mind since I read it, and it’s been too long since something has held onto me like that has. The anger feels disruptive. Within all that’s happening around me, it takes too much for something to grow on the inside and alter me in some way. When it really hurts, it stays, and only then. I hear about a lot of things that hurt; I don’t mean that I’m some android or half-dead person with no kind of passion, morality, or emotions. I mean that things happen, and I have opinions, but they don’t often seem to stick with me like they do everyone else. I find that I don’t struggle to shut up about things I do feel strongly about, and they don’t invade me like they do others.
I was telling myself that it’s the line of work I’m in, barely, but I’m in that world. Journalism is opinion boulevard, isn’t it. You build immunity when you’ve had too much of a thing. When someone tells you to do something, you don’t want to do it. It was three years of being told to think something of everything I came across. It’s easy to blame the world at large too. I’m on Twitter, but not for the thrill of holding an opinion on everything that comes floating down the timeline. I’m on Twitter to laugh, mostly. Laughing, catching a joke isn’t the most passive thing, it is passionate mindlessness— not the strain of passion that opinion requires. But you start to feel boneless, being on there and being unable to prove that you care about it all, enough— as much as everyone else.
I used to say I’m burnt out, not rebelliously nonchalant. I’m too tired to have opinions. Too fatigued from studying and managing, slotting together my own life. But I’ll bear it all. The truth is, the world is not on my mind, because I am. It is a burnout of my own making, and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. My head is full of opinions about myself, the things that orbit me.
A Reddit user considers themselves the same, sort of. They think we’re broken.
“95% of the time I’m just thinking about work/friends/what’s worrying me and it’s pretty much the same thing going round in my head all the time, any advice?”
There are things in my own life that if I don’t care about them, who will? It’s such an arsey thing to say, but people care enough about some things that they care enough for me as well. There are people minding over the things we all care about, not because they affect us, but because we should, or just do. And there are people who look and live like me, caring about the things that affect people like us— so much, that they’re covering for me too. There are so many caretakers, that I can keep my arms around the cares that are wildly specific to my life, and leave the world to carry my load. I am one person, running around my own sphere, managing things that I feel inadequate in managing alone. Who will clean it all up if I leave things to run amock, to care for the things outside of my own head? It is a selfish way to live, to keep myself distracted with me. But it only distresses me mildly. Mostly I’m indifferent.
“Practice with yourself in front of a mirror,” was someone’s response to the Reddit user failing at life, “think of random things that happened the past day or two and try to just make comments, out loud, about them to yourself.”
“It just takes practice and time, you’ll get there :)”
Observations are just the right amount of passion before things begin to teeter into exhaustion. I do the early shift on a Saturday, and when its time to fly free from work in the afternoon, I’m always delirious. I sit on the bus like one of those blinking dolls, lifeless and fixed into joy— unable to believe I made it through. Every Saturday for long enough now, I’ve waded through an anti-vaxxer protest to make it home. They’re always just standing there, too close to the edge of the road in their fews, blasting traffic with their placards and their pride. It’s exciting to stand up for something when you haven’t done it before. I was disrupted out of staring blankly at them with an empty-headedness by one man, who sticks sorely out of the small crowd every time. He’s always there and I’ve started to notice. He’s massive, bald, pink in a rubbery way that reminds me of the risen flesh of a plucked bird. He has a chest that puffs out to a beefy chin, and he looks especially proud of himself in a way that impacts the look of the entire group. Anyway, he wouldn’t have stood out if I didn’t recognise him from my Sainsbury’s local. Sometime last year in the highest heights of Corona, he was arguing with a girl at the till for his inability to stockpile milk. It was when we were only allowed two of everything. He was holding up the queue and I remember grunting at him. There was nothing in the world in that moment that could’ve made him feel shame for his persistence. He was hellbent and I’d found it pathetic.
Isn’t it weird, the impact of knowing someone in the slightest of ways? I didn’t think much, if anything of the anti-vaxxers. They’re an inevitability, what spawns when force is imposed. Now they taste very sour.
“People are always protesting something,”
Said a woman, thankfully, not to me, but to a woman she’d gotten on with. They both looked on. Dissatisfaction at the scene was forcing the hard wrinkles in their faces to bunch up so that the lines became dark grooves— black openings in pink rocky flesh.
“Now I think—” someone began, and that was my cue.