Just leave it to a woman, or effeminate man (yes, that is code in case you’re wondering), to expend about 5 words to every one necessary when attempting to convey emotion and story. When women (and effeminate men) find it their moment’s mission to articulate a feeling, they resort to excessive superlatives and pointless prepositions in lieu of exclamation points as a means of driving the point home.
See, I’m sparse of word and nearly as sparse of emotion. So I’ve been told.
It’s difficult for me to reckon people who talk a lot, express a lot, emote a lot; in my head, life should be simple. Spare me the verbose adornments.
That 5:1 ratio I pulled out my ass in the opening paragraph is clinically verified courtesy of this mammoth piece from Atlantic writer, Amanda Mull.
Entitled The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship, Mull has fashioned a tome describing her typical pandemic experience which describes contending with massive amounts of loneliness and social isolation, and buttressed it with enough flourishes and citations to thoroughly disguise the elemental idea which might have simply been called, “The Pandemic Sucks.”
At the risk of testing the patience of any readership I might enjoy, I will not attempt to parse the article into paragraphs or passages; if you have the time, jump on over and brave your way through the 2,500 words for yourself.
In the spirit of due diligence and minimal respect, I read the article in full. I still stand by my rude spiel, but I wanted to touch upon a point Mull made. I’ll cite the pertinent paragraph which is emblematic of her semantic abundance and which also supplies the thesis for what I am writing.
American culture does not have many words to describe different levels or types of friendship, but for our purposes, sociology does provide a useful concept: weak ties. The term was coined in 1973 by the Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter, and it comprises acquaintances, people you see infrequently, and near strangers with whom you share some familiarity. They’re the people on the periphery of your life—the guy who’s always at the gym at the same time as you, the barista who starts making your usual order while you’re still at the back of the line, the co-worker from another department with whom you make small talk on the elevator. They’re also people you might have never directly met, but you share something important in common—you go to the same concerts, or live in the same neighborhood and frequent the same local businesses. You might not consider all of your weak ties friends, at least in the common use of the word, but they’re often people with whom you’re friendly. Most people are familiar with the idea of an inner circle; Granovetter posited that we also have an outer circle, vital to our social health in its own ways.
Mull’s predicament is not unique.
The oppressive limits on our lives imposed by the pandemic industrial complex has tormented most normal people. A pall of emotional destitution lingers over our collective psyche. People of a vibrant youthful spirit have met their enemy, the symbolic closure of society and a resultant Stagnation of the Ego.
But there are those of us who are barely affected, “mentally,” by the pandemic freeze. Many of us who are socially dysfunctional to begin with barely registered anything out of the ordinary. My nature precludes even the formation of “weak ties” as they strike me as a complete waste of time. Alienation shapes my essence so the pandemic’s social suffocation mimicked what I experienced and enjoyed privately way before it hit. The pandemic brought my way of life to society’s doorstep.
Now everyone must live as I do.
I’m rejuvenated by the darkness, by the bleakness, and the pandemic is an opportunity for me to share my secluded world with the unwilling. The pandemic is like a gray, rainy day. I dance and sing and everyone bemoans their imprisonment.