Adults everywhere, whatever their vintage, are learning that it is difficult to put a lid on one’s feelings. Acting cool not possible when a pandemic is raging all around. To the extent that we are in the dark about the future, with the uncertainties multiplying by the minute, mankind has regressed to permanent adolescence. Then it was hormones, now it is a virus.
No one has a clue, we may as well be chewing gum and miming gangster rap. Just like teenagers, we now love to sleep late and wake late. We are unsure how to kill time so try many things at once, but half-heartedly. Pulses racing, hot-headed and rebellious, with intense feelings bubbling just under the skin, the world is full of… quaran-teens.
Like college kids we are texting constantly, joking or in hysteria over the smallest thing. We are forwarding every damn thing that comes our way. And we overreact every chance we get, caught between spectacular meltdowns and mood swings. We blow hot and cold, because our minds and bodies no longer take commands from us. We are mere puppets in the hands of primal fears and genetic flashbacks beyond our control, from past pestilences before we were born to news headlines just this minute.
We occupy a different kind of Shangri La—one where we don’t age, but not in a good way. We are frozen but the clock is tense, its needles trembling. Time stands still, but what seconds, minutes and hours it consists of! The tick and tock are bombs in our bloodstreams.
Look at any teen drama—book or movie. They are easily identifiable with at this point. Elite, the Spanish young adult Netflix drama, is a boiling cauldron of every emotion there is, all three seasons of it. Fear, panic, sex and death, all rolled into one honest slice of life. Dark temptations are give in to, fidelity is a foreign concept, and the middle finger always up. Risks are taken casually because danger is omnipresent. Brats all, but living in the moment.
The End of the F…ing World, a British show based on the comic book series by Charles Forsman, has two runaway teenagers trying to escape it all. Yet their feet are tangled up in the here and now. Crimes against them force them to commit crimes against us.All protagonists on the right side of nineteen. Curiously blasé about everything. They have seen it all, done it all. They are all about their shrug, their lip curl.
Puberty is a tough time for any human body to handle—physical growth exceeds emotional adjustments. That is what we all are grappling with as a generation; we cannot see beyond the present tense, we no longer think our ‘parental’ figures invincible or all-knowing. On the contrary, we are amazed we stayed alive this long with them at the helm. The absurdity of authority was never clearer. We must build earth from scratch without a manual. Where’s our motorbike?
And that is who we have become in the aftermath of the terrible tensions that have gripped us—the callow youth. Trying to cope in a world that seems increasingly hostile. We are all elbows and knees, gangly and pimply, knocking down vases as we walk. Hopefully this evil slide back in years won’t take us all the way back to infancy, but who knows? Soon all we may be able to say is goo goo ga ga. Because gobbledygook is a good translation of what’s happening to us.
(The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)