I’ve been working on the latest chapter of my ongoing novel ‘We’re Fucked’ for about a week. Maybe more, but I’ve also spent most of the last two weeks dazed, so I can’t be sure.
Last Saturday I woke up at six in the morning to go to work. As I was traversing my city’s dimly lit main street, some guy in his early twenties, with most of his head shaved except for a bun, crossed the road to my sidewalk. He was walking further ahead as he kept shouting to nobody, just to wake everyone up I guess. The only concrete utterance I recall was him yelling, “[This city] is a pile of shit!”
We were the only two people walking down main street at that hour, and when he noticed me, he turned towards me and said in a mocking tone something to the effect of, “hey you, I have a question”, as if he was going to blame me for how terrible this city has become. Or maybe he intended to rob me. In any case, I quickened my pace as I ignored him. When that shithead realized that I wasn’t going to pay attention to him, he followed me for a bit while calling me all sorts of names except pleasant ones. As I headed towards the train station, I turned a corner and lost him.
I agree that this city has turned into a cesspool, partially due to scum like that guy. I don’t even want to get into the two rape attempts near my house (one real bloody), the break-ins (one attempt at my place, in the middle of the day), that time someone nearly broke a bottle on my head as I was reading in front of a coffee shop, etc. I would kill so many people if I could get away with it.
I don’t drive; I’m such a maniac that I would likely crash the car deliberately or not in less than a week, so every workday I take a train to Donostia. After that shithead shouted insults at me, I got on my usual train car and tried to distract myself by reading some manga. I was thinking that with my luck, that son of a bitch was likely going to take this train as well. A couple of minutes later, a young guy with a partially shaved head and a bun entered my train car and sat down relatively close. I paid attention to him in case I would need to defend myself, but he was behaving normally, very unlike the hoodlum from before. A couple of stops later, another young guy with a partially shaved head and a bun got on the adjoined train car, so I figured that I must have come across three guys with the same douchey haircut in the same Saturday morning. Maybe that style has become popular for their particular demographic, but I wouldn’t have had any reason to notice it until that morning.
Anyway, like last week, I’ve spent this one running around my hospital and having to talk to some of the doctors and nurses involved with about twenty five departments, because I was ordered to grab a tablet from each at a time, perform a factory reboot, configure it, test the apps that the medical staff use, and then return it. I couldn’t browse the internet nor barely think in between each step of those tasks; configuring those tablets is a very involved process.
I had to visit the psychiatric building as part of my quest to fix all the tablets. I dislike walking into that place, because I always get the feeling that one of these days they won’t let me leave. Anyway, the current nurse in charge of unlocking each door to let me into the B wing’s staff room told me to go ahead on my own, because one of the nurses working inside that room would see me and open the locked door to let me in. The previous nurse left, locking me in the hallway of that wing, but turns out that the staff room was empty.
I ended up trapped in a hallway of that mental hospital during what seemed like rush hour (although I have no clue if they force the patients to stay inside their rooms at other times). I had the usual mumblers and babblers approach me to share their meaningless thoughts that their insanity didn’t allow them to keep quiet. A teenage goth girl was sitting at a table near a corner of the hallway; I seem to recall that she was looking around anxiously, but on the table she had an open notebook and a book about vampires. I wish I had dated one of those when I was her age (or a bit older), honestly.
A short, middle-aged woman with grey hair approached me, looked up at my 6’1” self and asked with a smile, “Are you an actor?” I considered not engaging, the same as with most of the others (I have more than enough dealing with my own craziness), but I answered, “Nope, just the computer guy.”
Later on, when I survived the encounter, I reflected on her words and found them quite chilling. Hell, I am an actor with about thirty years of experience! A very proficient method actor, I’d say. Certainly much better as an actor than as an IT guy. But the crazy woman presumably didn’t know that.
There was also this guy in his late twenties that they referred to as Hassan, who kept pacing up and down the hallway with a fiery look in his eyes. It wouldn’t be the first so-called extremist that I’ve had the terrible displeasure of meeting, as I’ve been involved in the local systems of care for people with disabilities as an autistic person.
I don’t know for sure if that guy was one or not, but I know that this country treats extreme religious fundamentalists, usually of the Islamic variety because they are the most murderous (overtly at least), as merely mentally ill and at risk of societal exclusion; therefore victims of the environment, their own brains or whatever. In a month-long course I was forced to attend so a center for people with disabilities would hook me up with a job trial (I ended up working for free as a programmer for six months, then they refused to hire me arguing that I wouldn’t work well in a team), one of the students was a guy who admitted that he didn’t have any disability, but he was as virulently fundamentalist of his particular Abrahamic curse as one can be without blowing himself and others up. He derailed every damn class by going on about how our society was rotten and we needed to convert to his religion. He got real nasty about it too. I would have sued the people who organized the course if I had the resources and/or thought that the effort would change anything for the better.
For me the most telling moment I recall from that course was a discussion in which a guy with some intellectual disability was asked if he would date a girl with a disability. He argued, very meekly, that he would rather not, because he already had serious trouble dealing with his own issues, and would prefer some support himself. A couple of women blasted him for his opinion, tagging him with a couple of -ists that, as intended, shamed and shut the guy up. The Islamist bastard spoke next, about how he went out every night to pursue girls in night clubs. “When women say no, what they really mean is yes.” The same two women who had berated the previous guy now giggled at this creature’s comments. For me it remains as one of many “we are utterly fucked as a civilization” moments that I’ve had to experience throughout my life.
How would the pre-Constantine Roman Empire have dealt with this? In a way that would have guaranteed their own survival, for sure. But the Christianized Romans eagerly opened the borders to foreign tribes because they were convinced that Christ would pacify them, and when Rome was sacked, the leading theologian/”thinker” of the time seemingly commented that Romans shouldn’t care that Rome fell, because they should only be concerned about the survival of Jerusalem. I get so angry about this shit. Start your own god-fearing societal nightmare in another planet, you bunch of fucking cultists, and leave the rest of us in peace. On second thought, take the marxists with you too.
When that nurse that had locked me in that hallway reappeared and saw me standing there surrounded by crazier people, she apologized and ushered me into the staff room. The young nurse got real nervous; I guess she had fucked up bad, and if I was a tiny IT woman instead of a big guy eager for any excuse to destroy others physically, I could have gotten assaulted or molested or who knows what. Afterwards, this nurse made sure to follow me to another staff room on the opposite side of that floor, and then unlocked the exit so I could abandon that nightmarish place. I returned a couple of hours later, though. One of the babblers repeated, “Here’s the computer guy again.”
So much shit happens every day at a hospital that I’m well aware that any minor lapse of judgement could cause serious issues or even kill someone. One of the departments that I visit regularly killed a baby by mistake (this is a matter of public record, and there’s a lawsuit pending). It seems that a recently graduated nurse injected the baby with a lethal dose of some drug. The following day one of her coworkers called our office partly attempting to blame us because the involuntarily murderous nurse had listed the dosages incorrectly in the program (grouping them by week or something like that), and she was too unexperienced and/or incompetent to realize what she was going to inject into that kid. We don’t program that software, nor even have anything to do with explaining how to use it. It’s one of the basic programs; it contains the databases of the medication that all patients must take, and they come preloaded in every PC and tablet hooked to the network.
As I’ve had to do plenty of other days, today I also entered the network closet located in the waiting room of that very department where the dead baby’s parents must have received the news that a recently graduated nurse killed their spawn. I don’t want to imagine that scene. I don’t even want to remember many, many moments from my own life, but my brain bombards me with inopportune flashbacks regularly.
Anyway, my current contract has finally ended, so tomorrow I intend to finish the latest chapter and upload it. I can’t wait to get rid of this one, honestly, because I get increasingly antsy when the days pass and I can’t conclude one of these segments. Unfortunately, due to work nonsense, I’ve spent all afternoons so exhausted and dazed that each day I’ve barely managed to devote an hour and a half or two to write. My own personal standards have grown over the years, so I usually iterate on a piece until it feels memorable enough by itself; some refuse to flow properly for hours, sometimes days.
I’d love to say that now that I’m blissfully unemployed for about a couple of weeks (unless they call me in because one of my coworkers stubbed his toe or something), I’ll be able to write from the moment I wake up until I collapse from exhaustion at night, but unfortunately I have to start studying for the next public examination. To keep working in the public sector I have to pass these exams every couple of years or so, until they hire me permanently, which will never happen because I can’t speak Basque and I never will because I despise the fucking language (and to get half of the required certification, others have had to give up on reading or watching anything in any language other than Basque for about a year, and that would kill me, quite literally).
I’m also turning thirty seven in a few days, more than twice as old as I ever expected to become. I’m not happy about it, so to placate myself I’ve bought a few board games that will arrive soon enough. I picked ‘Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition’, ‘Marvel Champions’ and the second edition of ‘Pax Pamir’, although now I wish I had picked instead the second edition of ‘Pax Renaissance’, but I had already paid. They seem to have really good solo modes. Leire can’t fix her own shit enough to at least play through her pile of board games, but I have a better head on my shoulders than that dreadful wretch.
Why did I write this? Why did you read it? Who cares.