Susan often felt a very soft, gentle anxiety about not assassinating every political leader in the world and dedicating all her time to bringing about a social-anarchist revolution. She sometimes liked her job as a copywriter, but she mostly felt like it was a waste of her time.
After a night of watching Noam Chomsky videos on YouTube, Susan had told a coworker, "My job only makes it impossible for me to explain to a global audience the reasons that private property is a root cause of coercive subjugation of humans under authoritative rule." Her coworker looked confused. Susan felt confused, looked at the ground, and said in a quiet voice, "I don't even know what I'm talking about." Noam Chomsky made Susan feel anxious. Susan thought that if she didn't have to work and had enough money to live in a one bedroom apartment in a safe area of New York City, could afford a completely organic diet, and could travel wherever she wanted to on a whim, for the rest of her life, she wouldn't care about the social-anarchist revolution or the societal effects of private property and capitalism.
When one of her ex-boyfriends had asked Susan to sum herself up in a nutshell, she said, "Hypocrite." Relieving the anxiety she experienced from these feelings of hypocrisy was one of the primary motivations behind her behavior. Once she had told a boy she just met, "The only thing I want to do is stare at a wall, read and write, have internet relationships, smoke cigarettes, and eventually go through numerous drug addiction phases; that's all I really care about. And I don't want my job any more; the executives treat me like I don't exist; they don't even 'treat' me, they just look past me; when their eyes are looking in my direction I don't think they see me, they see a body, something they recognize as human. One day they'll see my name on a piece of paper, and they'll remember that I'm there in the corner, they'll think 'Susan!,' and they'll fire me."
Susan thought "My whole life is contained within my inbox," at least once a day. Susan always felt a little sarcastic. One day at lunch, Susan showed her coworker a poem she had written. Her coworker read it and said, 'There are so many ideas in this, it's like every line should be a separate poem.' Susan felt a little confused and said, "I thought the poem would show a general idea of my mood. I was just writing my thoughts." "I know," her coworker said, "but the reader can't know that." Then Susan had pictured herself strangling her coworker in slow motion.
Susan pictured a lot of things in slow motion. When she walked, she pictured herself walking in slow motion. When she was downtown, she pictured people running in front of buses and getting killed in slow motion. When she had lunch with her coworkers, she pictured them eating and talking in slow motion. When she walked over the I-5 bridge, she pictured herself jumping off it and getting hit by one of the cars below and bouncing, flipping several times, a large, beady arc of blood suspended in space, getting hit by another car and flying fifty feet forward, landing on the ground, getting run over by a large truck, and causing a massive sixty car pile-up with explosions during rush hour in slow motion.
During the weeknights, Susan would sit on her bed and stare at her laptop and think, "I don't know what to do with myself; right now and with my whole life. Anything different than this is impossible." Sometimes Susan would get a worried expression on her face, close her laptop, hold her space heater close to her chest and think, 'What should I do? What is there to do? What can I do right now? How can I join real life more? What am I doing? Is this right? Do other people do this? Am I doing the right things? Why can't I understand my feelings? Am I a bad person? Is my life already over? Will this feeling ever go away?' She would lay face down on her bed and try to make her mind completely blank by thinking "zero" repeatedly, but never could, because she would forgot that she was trying to make her mind completely blank, and then she would think about work, the internet, writing, her parents, email, her coworkers, ex-boyfriends, and her friends in the town she grew up in.
About the author:
Brandon Scott Gorrell has recently appeared in 3:AM, Dogmatika, Lamination Colony, NANO Fiction, and Pineapple War. He blogs here.