conferta confecta

I've always thought of myself as a closet misanthrope. That's not really the right word. I don't hate mankind. But I sort of lowkey wanted to see the world...tested. I secretly loved the idea of some apocalyptic event leveling the playing field. Tabula rasa. A do over. And this time let's make it fair, motherfuckers. End of the world movies have always been my favorite for this reason. Most people I know found Wall-E depressing. I found it vindicating. It's what's coming, you guys. Laugh it up. You'll see.

I remember once as a kid driving by a massive landfill, on some family road trip. I couldn't wrap my brain around the scope of it. I questioned my parents for days, upended by the realization that there was that much junk, that close to cities where people, like, lived. I don't know how I thought trash was disposed of up until then. I probably thought it was all burned and thus neatly, permanently erased from existence. 

After that my radar was forever sensitive to stories about mass waste. I learned about plastic islands in the ocean, trash mountains in third world countries, even space debris - and it started to dawn on me that there was simply not enough room on the planet for all the people and all the things they threw away. It just wasn't tenable. Where the fuck did we think we were going to put it all? It seemed absurd that we thought we could keep going like we were. It seemed even more absurd that no one was freaking out about it. 
 
I became a teenager with much bigger things to worry about, so that seed of disgust just quietly took root in the back of my mind. But then came two decades of watching the world more or less shrug its shoulders first at the ozone layer, then oil spills, then animal extinctions, then the corral reefs dying, then the glaciers melting, then increasingly disastrous natural disasters, and now my state is burning down around me while my president makes every single thing that's already bad, worse.  

And now that everything is truly terrible, it turns out I'd like to change my answer from I told you so and we kind of all deserve it to Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I know the world isn't really ending...but it kind of is. Some of what we're experiencing will get better. The pandemic will end, eventually. Trump will leave the White House, eventually. The wildfires will be put out, eventually. But the cultural, social, economic, and environmental cats are all out of the bag. Wealth disparity and class warfare are only going to get worse, unless enough progressives with enough power find ways to shift the paradigm. And they'd better do it hard and fast, because meanwhile, to quote Bill Nye, the planet is on fucking fire. Climate change is going to make once farmable land unusable and force mass migrations - but only for those who can afford to move. Water wars are coming. And my country is too fucking stupid to enact UBI, which would raise the floor and help millions of people have a shot at surviving the heartbreaking and gross socioeconomic inequities which exist, which are insidious and intergenerational, and which are only going to get worse.

And here's the thing I have learned about myself, through all of this. I'm not a misanthrope at all. I'm actually so empathetic that now when I feel hopelessness, it's not for myself, but for how fucked up everything is, in general, for everyone.

I'm most devastated for anyone younger than me. I can't imagine what it's like to be a teenager or a zoomer right now. I'd be fucking furious at the world I was inheriting. I feel like mine is one of the last generations to have had it really good. Really green, really clean, and really simple. When I was growing up, kids were pushed out of the house after school, told to go play and come back at dinner time. News was once nightly, with Tom Brokaw. That was it. No doomscrolling for hours on Twitter. No getting oversaturated and overstimulated with depressing story after depressing story on social media. No depressing story after depressing story, period. 

Yes of course there was bad news. No period of history is without scars. But this is it. We've heard from the scientists. We can't undo what we've done to our one, precious planet. And the outlook for the world's economics isn't much better. 

Rambling. Sad angry rambling without much point, other than to get it out of my head. 

Is it still depression if the sadness has an identifiable cause, and no clear solution? I don't think I'm depressed so much as despairing. And I feel like in order to not totally give in to that despair, I'm going to need to absorb less and less of the world's sad, bad news.