Benjamin Alejandro Castillo

In the past decade, humanity has witnessed the gradual prevalence of the lazy millennial. Easily offended, romanticizing mental disorders, and buying everything they see on their timeline, the lazy millennial contributes nothing new to the world. In this age of anti-productivity, Benjamin Alejandro Castillo is a fringe member of society.

Ben was born and raised in New York. He grew up and spent grade school on Long Island and currently resides in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his two roommates, one of whom is me. He studies Creative Writing at Hunter College. I’ve known Ben since elementary school and, since then, he’s developed many different identities.

Everyone loved Ben almost as much as they loved his antics. I remember being backstage during our Senior Follies performance when Ben crashed an all-girls musical number. Running all around the stage during the song, Ben was hysterically laughing while being chased by a security guard. His lighthearted spirit had actually inspired me to join him on stage to create a ruckus.

A lovable jackass, Ben had a huge smile on his face and a wise remark on the tip of his tongue throughout high school. His primary identity is a neurotic filmmaker who can’t help but jump from unfinished screenplay to unfinished screenplay. He’s currently writing one about a young and struggling college graduate who consistently borrows money from his parents and can’t land a job to save his life.

Disguised to be like his peers, Ben sits well with others, but for a limited amount of time. He gets along with nearly everyone, and has maintained his posse of high school brethren on Long Island—like any young man ought to. And like the traditional lazy millennial, Ben wakes up and immediately scrolls through a feed of memes and selfies; however, what separates him from the contemporaries is his inability to tolerate artificiality.

In a world where professionalism and likability includes putting up with phony social convention, Ben likes to keep to himself. He’s uncomfortable with small talk and, as a result, he has a tendency to jump right into conversations with his conspiracy theories.

According to Ben, we all live in a simulation. Consequently, he advises that we do whatever we want, so long as it’s peaceful because “we’re all in the simulation together. We’re all going to end up in the same place.” To practice this ideology, Ben likes to indulge himself by blasting his speakers, creating a one-man riot, and scream-singing along with Nirvana, Travis Scott, Tame Impala, Lil Yachty, The Smiths, Mac Miller, and so many others.

As an aficionado of modern hip-hop, Ben can’t help himself from blasting Schoolboy Q on a Sunday morning.
I asked Ben to take a seat and tell me how he feels at the moment, without saying a word. What followed was a bloodcurdling scream, followed by a look of sorrow.
When we visited Washington Square Park, Ben chose to sit in the fountain — an attempt to find inspiration for a short story.
Ben likes to keep masking tape over his laptop’s webcam at all times. He asserts that “feds always be watchin’ us”.
I woke up one morning to Ben humming the lyrics of Chance the Rapper; he was getting ready for the second day of the Meadows Music & Arts Festival.
Ben watched a couple get into a screaming match as our train finally arrived at the Astor Place subway station. He says he’s not in a relationship at the moment because he needs to be alone for as long as possible.

Ben’s social media presence is meager. He rarely posts anything, and insists on just observing everyone else because “it’s all a joke.”

“Twitter makes me want to fucking kill myself,” Ben admits. “People think they have voices, and they think people are listening. But nobody is. Or nobody gives a shit. Nothing important comes out of anyone from our generation on Twitter.”

I wanted to know more about Ben’s thoughts.

So Twitter makes you want to kill yourself?

Sort of. I just like to log off for a few days before I think about that. I don’t even have the app anymore; I just go on the mobile version on Safari and look at tweets.

Why do you ever go back though?

I gave up Twitter last year, because it was so annoying. I hated all the “socially aware” kids and their tweets. And arguments, and getting heated over stupid shit. I agreed with them and that’s where the conversation ends. And then if I disagreed with you, I fucking hated you. Even if I liked you in real life, I now hated you. Now I just want to try to do it again.

Looking back, why did you judge people so hard?

I know it’s not the thing to do. But, for example, when somebody calls out the Black community for shit that makes no sense, or tries to play off their deaths? These are the type of people I would never speak to in the first place. But because of the Internet, we were in the same playing field. For someone like me, it was inevitable to judge.

And then also, just the way it gets: there’s a huge discrepancy between what you tweet and what others read. If I tweet something sarcastic, you might not read it in a sarcastic tone. But this time around, I think I’ll be better. I’m trying to create my own persona.

What persona are you trying to create?

Just a cool one that doesn’t care. It’s so much easier to live life online when I don’t care about it at all. You can’t give it power like that.

It seems like nearly everyone that’s single is looking for some form of intimacy online these days. But Ben is praying nothing serious comes his way for several years.

“Dating someone that you’re not going to marry is so fucking stupid to me,” Ben tells me. “Because how does it end up? A break-up. A meaningful bond being broken. No matter how mutual it could be, it’ll hurt.”

Ben’s never been in a relationship, yet he still has very strong feelings toward the concept. If he dates someone seriously, it’ll be because he sees himself growing old with her. That said, he’ll only be 20 soon, and doesn’t see a future with anyone yet. But time will tell what’s coming his way; he’s recently landed himself a Tinder date with a Romanian woman that’s three years older than him.

As mentioned, the lazy millennial doesn’t contribute anything original to society. While Ben may not seem like a young man with profoundly new ideas, he’s created a steppingstone for himself and those around him. He’s created an example by distancing himself from the black hole of social media after making note of its lack of substance. Instead, the effort that is customarily applied to maintaining an online presence is instead directed toward a type of self-help.

Ben suffering the consequences of an all-nighter as he carries on through the city.
Our roommate Emilio is similar to Ben; he likes to keep to himself and doesn’t go out often. In this photo, they’re gleefully discussing all the Pokémon they could catch now that they finally went outdoors.
Preparing for Halloween: The Joker wanted to make sure the lipstick he purchased was the right shade.
Ben takes pride in living in Room 1831. It’s the same year Nat Turner led his revolt.
Thank you for letting me follow you around with a camera, Ben. You’re an interesting person.

In this age of overabundance, Ben has successfully withdrawn himself. He’s not a socialite, but he’s not a recluse either. He’s managed to strike a balance between living online and living in reality. As a result, he can dedicate more time to bettering himself, and not retweets.

While Ben’s methods of self-help are unconventional, they work. If blasting your speakers to indie rock/gangsta rap isn’t for you, maybe chase some pigeons, or set off some Diet Coke and Mentos. Ben believes that “it’s okay to be reckless if you’re not hurting anybody else.”

When we truly achieve this balance between the Internet and authenticity like Ben has, we’ll suffer less from the online anxiety of unnecessary public images, and we can thank one of the earliest pioneers to do this: Benjamin Alejandro Castillo.