Me Vs. You

So there I was, with my mind continuously drifting back to one word – Agoraphobia; literally meaning ‘fear of the market place’. To me it seemed a strange word at the time, which for some reason always reminded me of sweaters. Plus, the only thing that scared me about markets was the weird op-shop smell, and the inevitable dubious character who tried to sell you a ‘borrowed’ car stereo. But as I sat amongst this predatory throng of humanity, deep inside the bowels of a CBD bar, I understood all too well the implications of such a word. Crowds unnerved me, and, as I tried to clear my bourbon-addled head, I knew that this familiar fear would be difficult to placate on this balmy morose night. I began to wonder, do others who tread the paths of Melbourne’s nightlife feel this particular sensation? A vague and unnerving agitation – an ill-defined anger that plays out in everything we do. I placed my drink upon a table, and surveyed the room. All the regulars where there: The girl who’s definition of ‘liberated’ means sleeping with anything that isn’t nailed down, the guy who’s only means of validation is found at the bottom of every feverish drink; the girl who’s drinking to forget, the guy who forgot exactly what he was drinking to forget; they all descended upon this place, like moths to a dying flame. Are they searching? Or are they simply angry, but with the Sisyphean twist of being angry at things they can’t possibly fight? Perhaps they have long abandoned the pretence of actually believing in anything, because they’ve figured out that shallow pools don’t have any waves. I didn’t really know anymore. All I saw were people pretending that they listen to Motorhead. As time ticked by, I witnessed the aggression growing, with all remnants of my generational dignity dripping down a stained toilet cubicle wall; Volatile ingredients preparing to explode in a single moment – an insult given, a punch thrown, the ensuing chaos spilling out onto a grinning street.  All I saw were symptoms – anger, violence, despair – with vague and undefined causes. I stood in witness to this, and could not do anything but place my head in my hands as an uncomfortable realization dawned on me. I’m alienated amongst an alienated crowd. Standing, I decided to leave. I’d be having more fun at an Ebola virus convention. But that’s life these days. And life at night, is even worse.

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