I’m sitting in the lounge of my former dorm, here for a weekend visit (and to watch the Breaking Bad finale with friends). Right now I’m looking across the room at a couple of freshmen on a couch. I do not know this couple, I have never met this couple, but right now, I despise them. And I’m not entirely sure why.
The guy is lying across the length of the couch. The girl is sitting on him at an awkward angle, apparently trying to do homework. Clearly neither of them is very comfortable. I hate them so much.
I’ve been going over the possible explanations. PDA gross-out? I don’t think so. I’ve seen couples be much more affectionate, and found it cute, even endearing. I’ve also been disgusted by PDA before, and it doesn’t feel like this.
Relationship envy? Again, it’s not striking the right chords. I’ve felt relationship envy before, and it doesn’t feel like this. And I’m in the middle of one of those I-never-want-a-relationship phases that I’ve come to know so well.
So why does this couple make me want to start screaming?
Maybe it’s because they look so…apathetic. So bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. They don’t exhibit that nervous, giddy mischievousness of young people learning the joy of touch and testing the boundaries that they’ve been brought up with. They don’t even express annoyance at each other, annoyance at the discomfort of sitting on or being sat upon.
Annoyance is a kind of love, after all. Frustration at the incongruity of the way things are and the way they could be. Striving to make things better than they are at present. It leads to complaints and arguments, but annoyance originates from a good place.
But this couple…they just don’t care. They don’t care enough to rearrange themselves on the couch. They don’t care enough to enjoy the closeness their discomfort brings. Not even twenty years old, and they’ve already learned to take everything for granted. How utterly wretched. You miserable, entitled, apathetic, bored, self-centered…
…younger versions of myself.
I didn’t start this post with introspection in mind. I just wanted to complain about that stupid couple across the room. Any insight reached is unplanned and unexpected. And possibly unwanted.
Perhaps this, at last, is the source of my unfounded anger. There’s a time tunnel reaching half a decade back across the room, but all I can do is watch. I can’t tell them, “Carpe diem or GTFO!” I can’t tell them, “Find something to give a shit about!” I can’t tell them anything.
Besides, my own IV drip of apathy has been left running for so long, I’m not sure I’d tell them if I could.
All I can do is watch. Watch and wait, and quietly hope they won’t make the same mistakes I made. If nobody makes new and different mistakes, how will we learn anything?
They’re arm wrestling now, giggling hungrily. Maybe there’s hope for them yet.