We Didn’t See it Coming
And now that it has, we don’t know what to do.
Of course we don’t know what to do. We’ve never been here before, we’ve never done this, we don’t know anybody who has, so how should we know what to do?
We didn’t see it coming. We weren’t prepared. Nobody told us. Nobody told us things really could melt down, that you can really get to a place where the center doesn’t hold. We didn’t know these things could really happen.
But then they did, and here we are. Oh yeah, we heard, we read about them. We entertained ourselves with them. But the real thing? No. Not here, not now, not us. Never us. But now it’s us, and we’re clueless.
All our institutions, all the systems, the programs, the back up plans, all the Plan B’s and contingency plans and escape routes, all the provisions laid up, all the people we thought we could trust, the people in charge, the people who should know, all the paid grownups who take care of boring stuff like how they keep the lights turned on and why the food keeps coming — they all checked out early and now they’re gone where we can’t find them.
They didn’t know either. They just kept using all the same old jargon, reciting the same old lines, pretending things were still the way they used to be, how things used to work — either that or they just made shit up that everybody with any brains knew was shit but people flocked to it anyway, I mean what else was there? They fed the fire instead of putting it out, fed it with the same old burned-out charcoal chunks of what used to be a fire but now is just ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
The other adults — the ones who don’t do stuff, they just explain it, they were frozen. They knew too much, they tried to tell us how things work and what was going to happen if we didn’t so something about it, but nobody listened, nobody thought they were any good for anything. Well, half of us thought so anyway. Half of us thought they had nothing to offer, while the other half thought they were the only ones who could save us, but the first half was louder and more into believing things than knowing things, which is easier because doing your own research means filling up with more fantasy to believe so you can keep faking your way through life.
Until you can’t anymore.
And now, while that half keeps faking it and making shit up and trying to gut the life and substance out of everything, the half that has known all along, has seen it coming, has actually done the research, that half is also stuck in all the ways things used to be, so they keep trotting out all the old ways like decency and discourse, listening and knowing, compromising and collaborating — nice sounding stuff that apparently used to work, but now when they talk about it they sound like a bunch of old codgers trying to assure us the everything is alright, just give it time, things will work out, no need to fear, no cause for panic. They do that so we will stay calm, but we see through them, we know better, we feel what’s going down and we know that our feelings don’t lie.
It’s like everybody who’s talking is lying — one half because they actually believe their own lies and the other half because they’re so blind and stuck and unoriginal that they don’t realize reaching back to the times when things weren’t like this is effectively telling lies about the way things are now.
So now here we are — chaos, crash, crisis… disintegration, destruction, disorder… ruin, rubble, randomness… the poetic thesaurus for how to say that everything has fallen apart and my god this was never supposed to happen, nobody thought it ever would, we thought we could hold things together but we couldn’t and now we can’t so look at it — look at this mess of our own making and it’s our fault because we never thought we would have to clean it up, look at this smoking husk of everything we thought belonged to us but it turns out somebody else had the right to repossess it.
So how does it feel?
The wheels came off. We ran off the rails. Things came loose, everything fell apart. The bottom fell out. The top blew off. The walls caved in. Things went sideways. We drove off a cliff. We hit bottom. We’re in a tailspin. We’re going down. It’s the perfect storm, the perfect flood, the perfect earthquake, tidal wave, tsunami. We’re lost in space, out at sea, out in left field. We lost our bearings. Our foundations shook. Our sea anchor broke loose. We drifted off. We’re sunk. We’re lost. We’re screwed. We’re dizzy, disoriented. We went from unplanned, unpredicted, and unforeseen to unimaginable, uncontrollable, and unrecognizable. There’s that saying about the inmates in charge of the asylum. Now they are. The nut cases’ nutty ideas have gone mainstream. Reality has inverted, flip-flopped, turned inside out. What is, isn’t anymore. What was, will never be again. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
That’s how it feels.
Everything is always worse. The news is always bad. It’s always something. Just when we think it can’t get any worse it gets worse. We go from bad to worse to worst to so-off-the-charts-worst there isn’t a category for it. There’s never a break, never any let up.
Yeah, I get it. Things have been bad before — that’s the lesson of history and blah blah blah. We’re supposed to buck up, tough it out, stay the course, keep our chin up, quit being so negative, keep up a positive mental attitude, stop whining, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, cut with the entitlement already.
Yeah right. Like any of that’s actually going to help when you can’t think straight, can’t hold a coherent useful thought. Maybe this has happened before, but it’s never happened to us, never happened now.
We didn’t see it coming.
I didn’t see it coming.
And now that it has, I don’t know what to do. Of course I don’t know what to do. I’ve never been here before, I’ve never done this, I don’t know anybody who has. So how should I know what to do? How should I have known what this would be like?
Kevin Rhodes draws insight and perspective from his prior career in law, business, and consulting, from his studies in economics, psychology, neuroscience, entrepreneurship, and technology, and from personal life experience. View all posts by Kevin Rhodes
Originally published at http://iconoclast.blog on February 27, 2022.