June 11, 2020

Mehtopia 😔

A 5 min read
An experimental essay that had started as "a letter to myself from 2030" for one writing contest but slowly the content drifted away from that to something more dystopian and personal. One possible future of mine, from a perspective of a politician who tried to do good but the country for which he served didn't care. Look, I can distract myself with work, so I don't think about how pathetic I can be. Or was. Or will be. Nobody will know exactly what I mean when I say "pathetic." I look well together and usually that is the case. I'm trying to be as productive as I can be which does mean writing things like this is out of the ordinary, as it does not create any inherent value for me, but that kind of thinking is a disgusting import from super productive people who happen to be more privileged than me. It is not easy to just "be happy" when you want to do good.

Dearest one,

I made a mistake today. I thought about you, about me again, about those unfinished essays from my teenage years that were safely tucked away in some smelly attic. In some labyrinth of folders upon folders, on a hard drive that could barely spin. Those words are now all noise on a disk, that’s why I hid them away from myself. There’s no reason to linger and waste your energy on something that brings you no joy, after all. But maybe there’s a little something beautiful in that dark old place. Maybe some stories from my early years that helped me make sense of the world. Little parts of me, of you, that are now gone. Forever. Except for the things that were recorded and withstood entropy.

I can’t stop thinking about it. You’ve probably bottled up your dreams and knowledge in hopes of creating something people want to see, something you will remember and cherish, tell your imaginary friends about. Now that I recall all of this hard work, how can I feel anything but the bitter taste of bittersweet chocolate? “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened,” I hear you say. But I’m trying to do the impossible, trying to fix the past, to upend my memories and make them work for me, for a narrative in my head that feels a little less pathetic than the truth. I wish I could just remember some event, any event from high school, where I did not attempt some form of damage control (even when there was no damage to control, only preparing for what could be a catastrophe).

Just know you will be okay. Not great. Not bad. Just, okay. Better than average at times. Nobody likes to listen to pretentious intelligentsia anyway, all the more your individual thought that’s not so even as individualistic you’d think.

Bad and good stopped fighting with each other long ago. Especially in politics. It just merged into one: “meh.” Sure, let’s try to do something, I guess.

Look, all my parents ever wanted was for me to be some married, well off guy. A typical happy family life is what they expected. That they did not get. But you don’t live for her. You lived for others, your country. (What did that ever get you?) And now — for yourself. Days went by quickly and painlessly. Work got done, although with a million compromises because of some hack that literally does not believe in reading books. You have everything you need. All the exciting things in life can be done in the first 3 decades or so anyway. Then the honeymoon period, where you get to know yourself, seems to slowly start to end. Just like in a real relationship, except, you know, you are much more complicated than Karen or John.

So — you got freedom. More choices. More energy vampires. More risk. More rewards. It feels weird to be free after all these years of schooling, policing, and trying to appeal to your electorate and corrupt officers.

So what then? What did I learn?

People search for ways to fight against the weak, to give themselves purpose by attaching onto something inferior. To be disgusted and feel less mortal. When a healthy person looks at a sick person, they feel as if their eyes (or ears, or other body parts) had been abused, but that sick person lives as if nothing is afoot. Or rather, they are ill. They are. But that’s their normal. The others are the abnormal ones, to them anyway. That’s privilege.

They have the privilege to lie to themselves, not overthink. Be strong, continue their traditions proudly without a second thought. They feast on cattle that tears people’s lungs apart, that burns California, and floods India, their only concern is that the temperature is a bit much (what’s the difference between climate and weather anyway? Beats them.). I fear my family’s children will cry themselves to sleep in 2100 because of these people.

Here’s just one example from last year, so 2029: the U.S. government bought Facebook and nationalized it. (How socialist.) Ah, see, but here’s the trick: now Facebook’s policies can be changed by Congress as they please. Companies can lobby for digital oppression. TikTok and VK — in China and Russia respectively — were already getting their strings pulled by corrupt governments a decade ago. With this move, the U.S. not only controls the largest military in the world, the largest economy in the world, and now the most popular communication site that is used, also, worldwide… which sheds more light on their “fantastic” foreign policy. Genius.

Do you remember the good old times? Am I currently in the good old times and I’ll look back with grief another ten years ahead?

Do you remember that you were happy? And that, still, you will find a way to be happy?

Hug your closest ones and oldest ones. Tightly. Treat anger with love. Hang out with your friends or they’ll hang you (or worse — themselves).

Or do nothing and become me — a politician that tried to make public schooling better, but, well… what can one person really do in a few years? So, instead I’m writing a letter to myself that I can’t send back in time. Oh well. I wish I had done something different. I don’t know how, or what, but…

I hope I never think about those hard drives again and can work away my life the next 3 decades.

With love and honesty,