We dumpstered, squatted and shoplifted our lives back. Everything fell into place when we decided our lives were to be lived.
Via a friend on Facebook
…if only things had stayed in place. But they continued to fall. The serendipity of their arrangement was all too brief, and though there is an eternity which can be said to exist outside of time, which crystalises into our common inheritance, that is not the reality in which one lives. One lives in a reality of bodies which stubbornly continue to ingest and shit, to desire, to freeze or overheat. Our bodies are in motion. Until they’re not.
Stewed apples from the dumpster spiced with pilferred cinnamon and a mug of homebrewed… well… moonshine, really. Such things will warm you for a while, and when you curl up in your sleeping bag the crumbling graffitid walls around you are as good as any palace. But one morning you wake up smelling of puke. It’s ice cold. Your stomach and your belly are crying out in pain. Shuffling across the floorboards, desperate for coffee, you discover that no one’s fetched more drinking water. So you curl up in the corner and try to make the scraps of your tobacco last for one more cigarette while you decide what to do.
Feed me, your body insists. Feed me now. You look around for a friend who might help you feed your ailing body, but the house is silent. You curse them, you curse the happiness they seem to hoard in spite of you. You can’t face the idea of crawling into a dumpster at 10 in the morning in the bitter cold, by yourself. You can’t work up the necessary reckless courage to fill your bags with groceries and walk boldly out of the shop. Not in your filthy, hungover, state, with a pounding head. And there’s the problem of cigarettes.
Cigarettes will always remind us of our enslavement. They’re never in the dumpsters. They’re never within reach of pilfering hands. They’re never given quite so freely as zines on how to grow potatoes in old tires or the patches commemorating the band which existed for two gigs until that guy slept with that guy’s girlfriend. Your body demands you feed it cigarettes, and you remember you need money. Maybe you’ve got some, maybe you haven’t. But no matter how many other treasures you pile up, you still need money.
Fifteen minutes out of safety, shuffling hungover through the wealthy suburb, is all your feeble mind will take. Get to the 7-11. Cigarettes. Doritos. Coke. A chicken caesar wrap. Porn. Everything the body needs to endure this existence. Go home as quickly as you can. Feast. Fuck it’s cold. Where is everyone?
Isolation causes vertigo. Dizzily, you no longer care from who you steal. You’re ready to turn on your friends now. They’ve left the drugs out. They’ve left the drugs out. They’ve left the drugs out. They’re your drugs now. Drugs and cigarettes, everything the body needs. Chomping on a disgusting handful of mushrooms, you reach for the $10 box of wine (now nearly empty; you bought it yesterday) and replace the taste of dirt with one of vinegar. You catch sight of yourself in a mirror, and it’s enough to have you running to the toilet to vomit. Again. But no one’s remembered to flush the toilet (it takes considerable effort when you have to use rainwater) so you vomit on a pile of shit. You’re praying you haven’t vomited too much, and eat more mushrooms just to be on the safe side. But you’ve gone to the limit too many times; no amount of psychadelics will help you escape today. Why is it so cold? Where is everyone?
It’s two in the morning now. You managed to secure more wine (you stopped caring about your own stench after finishing the last box). You can’t remember how many times you’ve vomited. They still haven’t woken up, or else they’ve stayed in their room all day screwing while you freeze in the corridor, barking at hallucinations. You set out lurching into the streets. There’s no amount of property damage that will extinguish your rage now, but you manage to exhaust yourself enough to curl up for another night, cold, alone, and sick.
The knock on the door, the knock that says you have to leave, ruins everything that is left to be ruined. Before you know it you’re catching a ride in your friend’s car with all your scavanged possessions in a pile behind you. No one speaks. It’s raining. You’re tired and emaciated and have forgotten what hot water feels like. Someone says that this time will be even better, and you force a smile, but no one believes it any more. You’re too tired. Too mad. Someone slept with someone’s girlfriend, the tired refrain. Someone never pitched in. Someone steals all the drugs (yeah, you; did you take this for a commune?!). Someone is a total bitch. Someone is a total junkie. Someone got beat up. It’s not going to work. You run.
You start running and you don’t stop. You run to the friends you haven’t fucked over yet, to the family you’re still speaking to, to anyone who will let you bathe and sleep and not talk about it. If anyone gets too close, you fight them, no matter how well-meaning they are. You’re on the run and everyone’s a threat. Then you run to landlords and employers and button-up shirts from savers. You run to doctors and therapists and synthesised wellbeing at much cheaper prices than your old dealer’s. You run like an animal because that’s how you feel: you’ve become more in touch with your body, with how it stinks and craves and freezes and breaks down, than you ever wanted to be.
You’re trying to put yourself back together, as best the world will let you. You’re trying not to run so hard, but they never let you stop. If we quit smoking, that wouldn’t be a revolution. We’d still be cold and the shit would still be overflowing. You ride the train to work now, mostly sober, better-dressed but still muttering incessantly, this is not enough. This is not enough. This is not enough.