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OP-ED: I Am a True Artist Who Cannot “Come to Club Meeting” or “Buy Alc for Pregame”

Photo by Liwa Sun

I wish I could just live even one day as a middle school girl in Shanghai again. Those were the best time, and those were the worst time. I did physics with my ex-boyfriend, his new girlfriend, his best friend (my new boyfriend). I went to Costa Coffee at 6:30 am and trained myself to drink Americano. After school I curated horrifying vibes (listening to The Darkest Day by Lana Del Rey and thinking harrowing thoughts) on my way home to read Lolita (Chinese translation). I lived the life of an ascetic in order to prepare for the High School Entrance Exam. I fancied myself a femcel version of Hermann Hesse. 

But instead, today, I’m drinking the 20th London Fog I’ve had in the past seven days. I have texted 19 people by 12 pm. I take in the phantasmagoria of the five desktops on my laptop. Desktop 1: Sacha Baron Cohen as background, dictionary and word document. Desktop 2: Sacha Baron Cohen as background, reading on Substack, Dean Kissick, the Ted Chiang stuff you can read online before you have to get the book, Spotify, ECON2100 Ed Discussion board. Desktop 3: ECON review prob.pdf, ECON slides.pdf, 101-lecture-notes.pdf, Prices and Quantities.pdf, hmwk3.pdf. Desktop 4: Sacha Baron Cohen as background, Slack, chrome, document1.docx, Fanon: all of the books. All day I scratch the surface and keep important things from others. All day I gape at the blankness of my amorous aspirations. I don’t take Locust anymore unless I’m feeling self-destructive. I spend more than half of the time mentally work through my psychoanalytically informed guilt and instantly illuminated foibles. 

I strive towards clarity. If there is anything that is worthy of my time as well as my life, I have already touched that thing. All my plights stem from a cowardice that keeps me from eliminating everything that stands in my way. Shall I let the image of me approaching imminent death hang above my head like the Sword of Damocles? My mortality alone is principle enough. That something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it. 

This is not a calculated conspicuous non-consumption. I neither accept nor reject your moral atlas: to accept or to reject are both engagements. I choose the secret third thing. When you pregame for your date night, I will be under the starless sky trying to reconcile object relations theory with Barthesian narratology.

Erase me from your memory. Erase me from the listserv. Erase me from this century’s death count. If you need me, find me at the intersection of art and real estate.