Hell is other people?

I don’t know that I understand Sartre, that is to say I’m sure other people understand Sartre better than I do. I’m sure other people have actually read him rather then buying his books {used} and letting them sit {unused} on the shelf. I’m sure that in writing this I commit a million maladroit errors that true aficionados could sniff out. I’m sure that I will never understand Sartre well enough to satisfy the people who exist solely for the purpose of pointing out on the internet when people don’t understand Sartre.

There are these people, aren’t there? Who flit in and out of existence, only appearing when the universe needs to point out what a dick I am.

The internet does this ( I shout from my cave) the internet does not connect us like it promised, instead it’s like the new rush hour. We are isolated in our cars, only briefly coming across people who cut us off, honk at us, or just sort of hang there in the lane into which we are trying to merge. These people have children. These people have grandparents. These people had ninth birthdays parties. They’ve eaten chocolate ice cream. They’ve vomited. Had sex. They’ve seen ‘Titanic’. These are whole people that I see for an instant in a comment section saying that Sandy Hook was a hoax.

Hell is the unknowable-ness of another person’s mind. The incompatibility between brains, as if if I am in meters and he is in cubits. Something is always lost in translation because what we attempt to communicate is not language but the step below language. Hell is try to make me make sense to you.

But it’s not just the internet, is it?

Hell is other people’s gaze making me feel uncomfortably performative as I go to the store, walk my dogs, or exist in my apartment while the windows are open. Hell is the feeling I get after every failure or mild rejection that of course people don’t like it. Why would people like it? What kind of idiot assumes people will like it? Hell is the certainty that people will never “get me” and my own self-loathing of the phrase and the desire to be “gotten” in the first place.

I would like to believe that I am more complicated than this brief vision of me that you are getting. I would like to believe that that complexity makes it fine that you are unimpressed.

I would like to believe that.


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