The Future is Non-Existent – Post 006.

At the moment, I study natural sciences: fundamental physics and chemistry and maths and biology; stuff like formulas for gravitation, how hydrogen and oxygen gas can create water, the PQ-formula enabling you to solve second grade equations, and how photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen gas, etc. And, apparently, large scale artificial photosynthesis is on the way. Soon, we’ll be completely independent of all green bug-attracting plant-life. What an age we live in.

Anyway, this is what my ever-smiling father and my never-smiling mother want me to do. And what do I want? Shut up with your stupid questions.

Some people believe schooling is still free here in Sweden. If only. At the moment, I work as a janitor in the local library to pay for school. The other day, I found a homeless man sleeping on the library’s toilet’s floor, strangely peaceful, slowly breathing, his coat as a blanket and a backpack as a pillow. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I had to, because it was closing time. I told him I wouldn’t mention it to management, and he could come there to sleep whenever he wished, and I’d look the other way. However, right now it was closing time, and if he didn’t go, he’d have to stay in there the entire night to not set the alarm off. He thanked me, and shook my hand, and left.

Marie, my mother, often points at the homeless people sleeping under billboards, and she says, “Those specimens are better commercials for establishing your independence than anything else. They show us the importance of standing on our own hind legs.” She always looks at me as she says so.

My parents don’t pay for my schooling. Not because they don’t support it, but because they want me to stand on my own hind legs. You’d think that’s partly liberating: not having them hover above me, funneling me into the most respected schools, making sure I get good grades, and so on, but you’re wrong. They hover in another way: by praising independence, the individual, self-governance, the self. My mother has an oil painting of herself in the living room, huge, something you’d expect to find in the mansion of the villain in the latest superhero movie. Dad’s less hardcore about it, but he always picks Maries side. If he didn’t, I’d probably find him in the food waste disposal.

One evening a couple of years ago, my parents had some kind of fight, about me. I escaped the house and sat down on the porch outside, facing the Igloo. After a while, dad sat down beside me. The moon hung low, surrounded by horror-movie mistm, illuminated in a fuzzy circle.

“We want what’s best for you, Max”, Simba said.

I sat silent. He kept going.

“You see, the world is rough. It’s ruled by no one, by everyone. The market is everything, and if we don’t follow its rules, we die, okay? We just think it’s important for you to listen to the market. It will guide you to your future, understand?”

I didn’t look over my shoulder, but I knew Marie stood in the window, her hands on her hips, staring hard at my dad’s neck. Marie always wins their fights. Every single time.

Occasionally, when Marie’s had a glass of wine, she gets friendly all of a sudden, and sits down beside me. She says, “You know we love you, right? We do. We’ve given you this home, food on the table, everything you need. All we want is for you to succeed, you know. But dad, he’s afraid you’ll fail. He thinks your writing and video editing and all your whimsical interests are destructive. He’s afraid what happened to him might happen to you. And that would make him so, so sad. You don’t want that, do you?”

It’s not uncommon for her to threaten me with my father’s sadness.

I hate this.

All of it.

My mother is the manipulative mastermind of the family. Guilt, self-doubt, expectations of their definition of autonomy and success, they inflict this on me. Whenever I make a decision I always wonder, am I keeping my parents’ opinions in the back of my mind? I often feel like a remote controlled car.

And what I hate the most about it, is that sometimes, I’m glad they do it. I’m glad they manipulate me, that they try to make sure I go where I’m supposed to go. I hate that I feel this way. But, I’m young, and confused, and have no fucking idea where to go. Anywhere I look just looks like a dead end.

Everything that entrances me, be it music or writing or reading or some other “whimsical” interest, it’s never anything there’s a future in. The future lies in software engineering, industrial engineering, in bioengineering, anything with engineering in the name. The closest I’ve got to this, is playing around with coding, but only because it’s easy to use infinite loops to create evolving, chaotic patterns of symbols.

And, well, not only are my interests a bit esoteric and generally stupid,  but I don’t even know myself what I’d like to do, if I got to choose. Would a write, or make art-code, or what? I have no idea. I wish I could get obsessed with something, because at least then I’d know what I wanted to do, but obsession is nowhere to be found.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Part of me want to go rampage and run away from home, and maybe burn the house down while I’m at it, and another part of me want to listen to my parents, do what they says, and soil my hands by working with the bioputer technology, the Oh so great evidence of the power of the free market.

God.

Sorry for writing all this.

Another thing: tomorrow The Man with the Pig’s Heart will be here, with his twins, and Kris, one of the twins, is to sleep in my room, and have no fucking idea what I will do about it.

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I’m Having a Cynical Episode – Post 005.

This friend of mine, Victor, is both cool and fucked-up simultaneously. Once upon a time, he was suicidal, and now I think he’s using societal involvement and mainstream media as a sort of outlet for old, buried feelings. I don’t blame him.

Victor advocate for the same violence the movies do, the same explosions the posters display, the same downfall people smile when imagining, but in reality fear, because what if everything just turns into shit and blood and fire and you lose control over all bodily fluids? Not pretty.

These days, movies and TV-series are a bit ridiculous, in a strange way. At least 50% of mainstream entertainments are Star Warsian—honorable rebels fight the evil empire. Mr. Robot is about hackers taking down the huge conglomerate Evil corp—no subtlety in who’s the villain, there. The Rule of the Bandana is a crappy comedy about insurgents doing a half-assed job at just about everything, but having fun in the process. And the latest movie I saw—”Aristokratin – Fallet”—is literally about fighting the SSS, Samhällets Säkerhetsstyrka, Sweden’s dominating private security force.

Victor watch all of it. Every series, every new movie: he’s seen it. And he knows every detail about the economical climate—who owns what and whom, which city is dominated by which cooperation, and so on. Society is mapped out in his mind.

And he’s one of those people who bring their anger to the streets. If I allow myself to be cynical: I think the overall subject matter of today’s entertainments purposely give people an outlet for their dissatisfaction. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Last week, Victor left for Stockholm, to participate in a protest against the “militarisation” of neighbourhoods—SSS, patrolling the streets, especially targeting minorities, as is custom…

The so called buy-ups around here involve the streets too. If a corporation owns most of a block, they like to enable their security force, almost always SSS, to patrol the streets, too. And I will not lie, seeing these corporate money-cysts spill their puss all over the streets makes me feel sick.

But seeing Victor return home with red eyes and with clothes drenched in pepparspray and lungs filled with tear gas doesn’t make me feel better. I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture.

When younger, Victor and I used to build forts by the closest tree-line or some great oak or birch tree. We gleaned planks and old scaffolding from construction sites, liberated some trees of their less sturdy branches, and found plywood and plastic sheets and barrels by the dump. Rope and cables prevented the thing from falling apart. One of those forts still stand, in a grove behind an apartment complex a few blocks from where I live. The fort looks a little like a miniature radio tower, with it’s old antenna attached to the top, and broken LED-lights like christmas decoration, gleaming red in the sun.

Victor tend to use me to vent. He’s a talker, I’m a listener. And I like him, even though he somehow makes me… mean. Whenever we spend time together, I start throwing extra cynical shit around me, all the time. Yesterday, we met up again, and went back to the old radio tower fort. Two kids were there, climbing the tree and doing whatever kids do. I roared at them. Told them to screw. Get lost. Fuck off.

They ran.

I rarely enjoy movies or TV-series. I don’t watch Mr. Robot or similar shit. But I enjoy spending time with Victor. Like, really enjoy it.

He climbed the tree and sat on the branch from which he used to sustain his endless monologue, while I worked on the fort. From there, Victor said, “Sure, protect property all you want, but don’t waltz around our streets beating up everyone who looks fishy. And even when you’ve managed to do what you are supposed to do, catching burglars and robbers and shit, I’ve heard about you immobilizing them and beating them with batons, and pepper spraying their genitals and shit. SSS, you treat people like animals, like something sub-human.”

I peeked inside our fort. It stank like it did under the sink when no one has taken out the trash for weeks. I could make out the contours of an old bioputer in the dark, which made me not enter. What the kids were doing with that, I don’t want to know.

“And now, SSS, they rule every single street in all of Stockholm. Basically. There’s some free zones. Not that SSS cares about that. The protest was all about the streets. Sure, rule your buildings and stores and whatever, but the streets, they belong to me. I walk them every single day. That, if something, is public property.”

Victor laughed, and stared up the apartment complex in front of us, towering far up into the low white sky.

“Maybe two hundred people there, and we instantly got pepper sprayed and gassed with something that wasn’t tear gas. I passed out on the sidewalk before I crushed my first window. SSS must have taken me for a bum and left me there, when everything went on. Afterwards, I saw footage of maybe fifty people caught between two security lines. I saw them take rubber bullets and charge the security line. I saw a fucking tank-like vehicle slowly pushing people back, like cattle. Almost glad I passed out. And, never did it feel so good returning home.”

We used to say we would live here, in the fort. We said we would catch hares with traps, and steal apples from adjacent gardens, and find mattresses by some dumpsters somewhere, to sleep on. We actually found two once, several blocks away. We dragged them almost halfway here, saying, “This is the night, this is the night”, but it got dark and we got cold and scared, and ran home. In reality, the idea of living here terrified us. Still, every other day we spoke about sleeping here—going back and dragging the mattresses the last of the way—but we never did.

I think those protests are a bit pointless. People protest the SSS, the security force which occupy our streets, instead of the people who hire them. People protest pepper spray and rubber bullets and tear gas, but not what SSS protects. The movies and TV-series are no different. Evil Corp is the villain in Mr. Robot, but only Evil Corp, not the system. There’s no mention of capitalism. The Rule of the Bandana is nothing more than slapstick comedy. And “Aristokratin – Fallet” (Aristocracy – Downfall), which title suggest more, only disapprove of SSS—if only they used friendlier tactics, everything would be alright…

There’s nothing more behind the “movement” than having another outlet for frustration. Victor is renewed, back home. Instead of roaring at the movies or playing video games, he takes it to the street. And the worst thing is, I think it’s by design, us getting mad at SSS, to prevent us from seeing past them.

I told you Victor made me more cynical.

Usually, I don’t think much about all this. I find it pointless, especially since there’s more people living under Stockholm’s naked sky than people participating in the protests. Most people condemn violent protests. It’s only okay to stand in a line, holding hands, or whatever, to get your point across.

And, anyway, unless the experience is too horrible, people return empowered—they’ve done something to further  good cause. That’s what keeps Victor going, at least. I’m glad he has this.

***

One more thing: The Man with the Pig’s Heart and his twins are coming early next week. They are coming.

Post 004 – Somnambulism

Observant readers might have noticed the URL of this blog: somnambulism. This name isn’t accidental, or something I thought sounded cool. I suffer from it. I walk in my sleep. A lot. Most nights I still wake up in bed, but with this kind of mental ache, like when you wake up and just know the alarm will sound, any minute now, without having to look at the watch. I know when I’ve been walking. I feel it.

And then, there’s also those nights where I wake up in front of the window, looking out, or standing fully dressed by the wardrobe, or laying on the floor, staring at the cracks in the ceiling. I once awoke underneath my bed, still shaking from a nightmare involving crawling shadows in all the room’s corners.

My parents used to buy me medicine. I’ve been on Klonopin and Prosom and other mind-numbing shit. It made me stop sleepwalking for a while, but whichever medicine we tried, it made me anxious and paranoid and convinced me my brain was in the process of dissolving. I couldn’t stand it. And sometimes, I still walked.

Soon the pills went down the toilet. I locked my room’s door with a screwdriver, to keep me from roaming the house, and kept taking my nocturnal trips in secret, now only within my room’s four walls. And when my parents decided I was old enough to pay for school and clothes and everything like that myself, I didn’t even buy a single batch of medication. I just kept the door locked, the windows firmly shut, and the screwdriver well hidden.

Before this, nightly incidents often occurred. When one of my parents got up for a nightly toilet visit, they sometimes found me right outside their bedroom door; or about to pee on a household plant; or standing in the middle of the living room, with the TV turned to static, dead-eye watching.

At one point, my sister woke up as my walk began, and she decided to make use of the situation. She made me fetch her the bowl of cookies hidden on a top shelf, way out of her reach. She ate them all, almost, and then led me back to bed, leaving the empty bowl outside my door, where my parents could find it. The next morning, crumbs clearly covered the kitchen table, and I didn’t remember shit, while my sister claimed innocence. Then mom found the bowl outside my door…

I only know the truth because Felicia told me, smiling, playing with a headless doll. She was only five then, but already she knew my parents would never believe me, the teenage sleepwalker, over the innocent child.

So I keep my door locked. These days, my parents have either forgot about my sleepwalking, denied it ever was a thing, or think I’m still on medication. I do not care which, as long as they do not bother me about it. But, the problem is, if one of the twins is to sleep in my room, I can’t just lock the door at night, with a screwdriver, without explaining everything to them. And more importantly: I can impossibly keep a locked door between them and myself…

This is a problem.

To me, sleepwalking is like walking around nude, literally and mentally. When walking, you are suggestive, and fragile, and only in your underwear, walking around, doing shit you can’t control or even remember. And it doesn’t help that I can’t remember it, because I know I’ve been walking the minute I wake up. I can see my future eyes wander towards the person sleeping in my room, either still asleep or already up—only a mattress on the floor. Did I wake them? What did I do, or say? What did they think? What will they do?

My parents would be zero help. I know them. Mom would take charge, and hold a speech about “responsibility” and “hospitality” and “not being selfish and take the fucking medication, like real people do”, and then my brain would once again turn into oatmeal, and I hate oatmeal, and all I could do would be to worry about my brain turning to oatmeal.

And I do not want my brain to turn into oatmeal.

So yes, it’s a fucked-up situation, yes it is.

Post 003.

Here, where I live, and everywhere around, big corporations have the habit of buying entire lower-class neighbourhoods, and then increase rent until everyone has to leave. Sometimes they let a few people stay in exchange for whatever slave-like services these corporations require.

Ten years ago, there was the so called “Great Buy-up.” Several thousand people were dispatched, turned landless, or allowed to stay, but now even more under the influence of the corporations in question. I was young then, everything blurry, but I do remember the shanty towns growing seemingly organically from the ground, sprouting up in parks and suburbs.

Today, all the shacks are gone. I don’t know where they, or their inhabitants, went. And I refrain from doing any research.

Similar shit is happening again. Of course, it’s happening all the time, but once again on a larger scale. The difference now is 1) that rents are already record high, everywhere, and 2) no one cares. Already, whenever you leave home you’ll see people sleeping under billboards, in ditches along the freeway, or in hundred-year-old ruins by the railroad. What difference could a couple more do?

Neighbourhoods are being converted into research facilities or factories or new offices or concrete structures behind barb wire, or testing grounds: fenced-in blocks with God knows what kind of chemicals in the drinking water, or whatever, places where desperate people live for free in exchange for a signature there, there, and there. Only to end up dead. I’ve read about people dying in not-so-pleasant ways because of projects like these. Maybe you see why I refrain from research.

Anyway, I suspect my father’s cousin and his twins are victims of the most recent buy-up. That’s why The Man with the Pig’s Heart is coming to stay here… and apparently, one of the twins is to sleep in my room.

Today at the dinner table, all of us silent in the loud sunset’s curtain-filtered light, my mother Marie (who refuse to be called anything but Marie) broke the silence and explained that Albert is to sleep in the Igloo, where he also will set up office, and one twin is to sleep in my room, the other in my sister’s.

My sister, Felicia, or Fela, is seven, but she already has her own room, of which she only occupies one corner, where she sits, humming, playing weird games with her broken dolls and howling fire truck and gnawed-on lego pieces. At the dinner table, she begins humming, too, on a tune probably made up, because I can’t imagine popular music playing any of the shit coming out of her mouth… She doesn’t care one bit what is being said around her.

But I care. A lot.

Because one of the twins is to sleep in my room. This is an issue.