You wake up at a variety of times on any given day, but you went to bed early yesterday and slept until 9. With over 9 hours of sleep, you feel more refreshed and ready than you’ve felt in weeks. Your back kind of aches, but you know it’s a sign that you slept well and it’ll eventually disappear when you can afford a new mattress. Specifically, a mattress that wasn’t bought of the cheap end of the discount rack. Content that your morning will be quiet, you grab you phone off of your nightstand and review the notifications.
A few texts from your friends who wake up early or stay up late, the usual plethora of social media updates, and a message from your parents about Christmas plans are all that great you. No application updates happened over night and none of your passive games have anything to report. You set your phone aside for a moment to rub your eyes and turn on your lamp. After you eyes have lost some of their crusty feeling, you open the social media account of your choice, looking for updates from friends or the latest news on your interests.
Instead, all you can find is people screaming out about the latest tragedy perpetrated by your government. Maybe there’s some news about the latest disaster to happen exactly as the protesters predicted it would and the corporations swore it wouldn’t. Perhaps there is some heartening news about the investigations into corruption at the highest levels of your government, but that is almost always tempered by the commentary from a few trusted analysts that there has been solid enough evidence to prosecute for months now and the ruling party has so far refused to do so. Instead, the heads of your government are intent on pushing laws through the legislative bodies without giving anyone a chance to read them or without even fully understanding them. Gone are the days of your childhood, when it seemed like everyone worked together to do the right thing. The stories your parents told you of sensibility, logic, and justice ruling at the end of the day are no longer relevant. Now, everything is “us or them” and no one is willing to reach across the aisle to actually try to understand.
You close your social media application without ever looking up your friends or for developments in your hobbies or interests. Instead, you put your phone aside and open a book, play a video game, or fire up Netflix. You disengage not because you don’t care, but because you care and there’s too much for you to care about. Ten minutes of browsing has left you almost as tired as you were the night before. At least you managed to avoid finding any articles written by previous generations about how your generation has ruined the country or will soon ruin it. That much irony in the morning isn’t good for anyone’s health.
After a suitable amount of time, you finally haul yourself to your feet and start getting ready for the day. Some kind of food is consumed, nothing terribly interesting but enough to keep your body functioning, and the usual hygiene routines are observed. Perhaps a little more quickly than you would like, but water is a finite resource and not free. Neither is the electricity used to heat your water or power your stove. After you’ve finished the more pleasant parts of your day, you clench your jaw and make yourself attend to your bills. It is early in the month, and most of them come due over the next two weeks, carefully staggered so you can make sure they all post to your account before the next one is due. It wouldn’t be good to get overdrawn again. Once a year is more than enough.
Bills paid, almost happily because it means you’ve got more than enough money to pay them all sitting in your account, you start reviewing your Christmas gift list. You’d like to buy presents for a lot of people, but you’re not sure you can afford to. If you bought everything from Amazon, you probably could, but you just read an article the night before about how the warehouse employees are collapsing on the job and that the CEO finally passed the 100 billions net-worth mark. The idea of that much difference between the people who actually do the work for a company and the person who sits on the top of the human pyramid sickens you.
You still buy several gifts from Amazon, though, as you go about acquiring Christmas presents. There’s just nowhere else that can get them to you in time, much less actually has what you want. Most places that might have been able to do that at one point have buckled under Amazon’s greater financial weight. Just like the local post office that’s been marking packages as delivered because they don’t have the staff to deliver everything on Amazon’s promised day. They need to cheat so that they’re not penalized for failing to make good on the contracts their superiors have signed with the cross-industry giant that is Amazon.
Christmas attended to, you settle in for the remainder of your evening, alternating between reading, watching TV, or maybe attending to a creative project or two. Even though you’ve made effort to avoid it for just one day, the raging inferno of inequality and corruption has leaked into your life through your friends and through the constant awareness that you are a part of the industrial machine driving your country and your world toward ruin. The only way you could avoid being a part of it is by abandoning modern life entirely and taking up life as a sustenance farmer.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that, as appealing as it sounds at times. Your debt, accrued at the behest of your parents, older relatives, and role models, must be paid back. If it is not paid back by you, then it will burden your parents who, while much better off than you, are still trying to get their financial future back in order after the bubble burst last decade. You know what its like to feel the weight of that debt hanging around your neck, changing the way you make every decision. You wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Instead, you eat a quiet dinner of something simple and filling, go back to your Netflix subscription and watch it until you feel sufficiently removed from your problems to go to bed. After preparing for bed, you lay back and feel the steel springs shift and twang as you stir beneath the covers. Eventually, you fall asleep after consoling yourself with the thought that maybe tomorrow will be better.