in praise of adults and spiders everywhere

by (vanessa)

I.

Our professor shared a heartening personal anecdote during today’s lecture, and for some odd reason, the first thing that came to mind was Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”. Or more specifically this line: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Trust the adults to know how to strike a balance between idealism and realism. They tread carefully along realist lines without crossing into pessimist territory and dispense hope when you thought all was lost. It’s only one more year before I’m legally an adult. I kind of want to give all of them a pat on their backs for making it this far and keeping it together for themselves, and the people around them.

The Peter Pan syndrome is real. Songs on the radio are obsessed with the idea of youth; Travie McCoy thinks young people run free and never sleep; Bruno Mars sings about young wild girls making a mess of him; a band of I’m guessing early thirty-somethings telling you tonight we are young; the many versions of “Forever Young”, which prompt me to switch radio stations every time.

It bothers me that we romanticize whole childhoods and carelessly reminisce the good old days. Now I wanted desperately to grow up in primary school, but then at 12, I learnt the truth of “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Suddenly being an adult didn’t mean independence or freedom, but bills, office politics, an endless stream of e-mails and mean bosses. Adults put up with a lot of mundane shit. In “The Pale King”, David Foster Wallace writes that this is “actual heroism”, the kind of courage that “receives no ovation, entertains no one”. So kudos to adults everywhere. We celebrate you. You are heroes by your own rights.

II.

I received a text from J today which read: Poop! Have you watched The Martian yet?

Fridays back in JC were movie nights at Downtown East for us. We would order Subway sandwiches, sip on milk tea, catch sci-fi films under the impression that they were value-for-money (and oh most of them were), make fun of the lians and bengs flooding the area and take post-movie late night walks to bask in the Pasir Ris breeze. Okay, enough with the nostalgia. It doesn’t get us anywhere. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I could do routine. I could do dinners and movies on a lifetime of Friday nights without growing too bored, as long as the conversations are good.

III.

My essays won’t write themselves.

IV.

We drive past Gardens By the Bay at night and I make a mental montage to Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”. There are images of the towering, glowing Supertrees interspersed with tired Singaporean faces on the MRT.

V.

In primary school, a teacher scribbled this on my unofficial yearbook.

“Dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Dance like there’s nobody watching

Dance like there’s nobody watching

Well that explains my Thom Yorke-ish moves:

VI.

Spider in the bathroom. Spider gets duly sprayed at with lots of shower water. Spider puts up a good fight, crawling as quickly as its little legs can carry it, but eventually succumbs, drowns, and goes down its watery grave. I tell Spider I am so sorry. I blow it a kiss goodbye and say in another universe, you’d be Spiderman and I’d be Mary Jane Watson; you’d be a real boy and I’d have fiery red hair. You wouldn’t die because you’d be an unstoppable superhero and I would be your lover, not your murderer – although one who recognizes the inherently sadomasochistic nature of love and the loss of self-worth involved could argue that the two are, essentially, the same thing. I read this (Hartz) the other day: “Revolution, to borrow the words of T. S. Eliot, means to murder and create.” For as long as we think of love as a revolutionary force, it should follow this very process of murder to create; of destruction to give birth to the new.

Anyway, in this universe, I wouldn’t turn to the Internet to make spider homicide confessions in a bid to self-exonerate.

VII.

Into Week 8 of school and a weary Thom in a trolley expresses how I feel.

VIII.

I look at the girls on campus, Instagram, TV, in parks, the library, restaurants, the mall – and I know that “Creep” is my personal anthem.

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