Cat Time


I sat down to type this and noticed that my landlord was outside my window. He was saying something to someone else. I had a brief moment of panic because I wasn’t typing in Pages but was reading Kotaku. Why do I care what my landlord—a man who wears a Gilligan hat and recently referred to M as “my purple pen drug dealer”—thinks about whatever I’m doing? I don’t mean to suggest that there’s anything wrong with him, he just shouldn’t be an authority figure who determines how I live my life.

Today I went to the JHB to work, but instead of working I mainly surfed the internet and felt incredible anxiety. Of course, the internet creates anxiety, primarily through the way it flattens and erases: flattens information through the suggestion that it is equivalent, erases through its emphasis on what is “new.”

I don’t need anyone to tell me that news about the Witcher 3, a game which I don’t care about and will most likely never play, is not the equivalent to news about ISIS or laws protecting transgender children, but on Kotaku it is presented in a breathless voice that renders it as or more interesting than other issues. I’ve read an estimated ten-to-fifteen articles on the subject. Additionally, in the Gawker media “trending articles” list, articles from Kotaku often place ahead of items that should be indisputably prioritized… Gawker itself sensationalizes news—to a certain extent, of course, all media outlets do—but it does so in a particularly vulgar way, its writers catering to its readers like they were Burger King customizing Whoppers.

I feel eroded by the internet as a platform. After just a couple minutes of using the internet I begin to forget everything that’s happening around me. After hours, this amnesia extends to my past or personal history… I have difficulty remembering past conversations with friends…

I stole some of these concepts from a review of the Entourage movie that recently appeared in the Globe & Mail. I’d provide the author’s full name but I don’t know how to spell it correctly and I don’t want to use the internet right now to check. I’m afraid that if I did I wouldn’t be responsible for what happened and I’d never finish typing this up.

The internet isn’t necessarily the only reason I did not feel successful today. About two weeks ago I suspended therapy, which I have been going to without fail every week for roughly the past six years… I am depressed and I haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to cope with that feeling without therapy. Typing this blog entry is perhaps one way.

When I feel depressed I feel terrible anxiety about the future and all forms it might take. Whatever future I imagine inevitably contains some terrible thorn that makes it horrible and incomprehensible… or perhaps “impossible” would be a more accurate term. Weighed down by these potential futures I am seized with the inability to proceed in any direction, while conscious of the fact that to languish in one position for too long would lead to my complete dissolution. Typing the preceeding sentence, writing the word “conscious” caused my head to swim with fear, and I realize that that might be the source of my trouble: the implication that “languishing” is not an option. Often it is the best one. I must accept that. I won’t lose everything, immediately.

The problem is that when I’m depressed I’m afraid of losing time. Often the form this takes is to seek out experiences that feel “timeless”—so that I might inhabit that brief immortality and put off the full loss until much later. This includes using the internet, masturbating, playing video games (that always disappoint me), watching television…

You might have noticed that this entry is written in a stilted and slightly impersonal style. I’ve been rereading Borges and I’ve decided not to fight his influence, which is evidence some of his mind has slipped into mine.

In Borges’s story “The South,” the protagonist observes that when petting a cat he is within an understanding of time which includes a consciousness of the past and the future as well as the present, while the cat’s understanding of time excludes all but the present. Whether or not one believes that (I am not sure I do), being depressed is sort of like being that cat, locked within the present, but conscious that there is a past and a future that you do not have access to. I am afraid of losing time most of all, I think, because when I look at others who seem to be functioning more-or-less “adequately” (this is an illusion, I know), I perceive that they are able to fully inhabit their pasts, presents, and futures, while I am locked in a static but doomed present…

When I give authority over how I feel to people inappropriately, as I did earlier with my landlord, it’s a sign that I’m not feeling great. I want someone else to be responsible for my emotions, hopefully to be able to help me through them… Maybe that’s the solace that therapy provides? But it is also functionally impossible.

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