The past few months have been isolating, indeed. Sure, you can still talk to people, now more so than ever thanks to technology, but there's something about being cooped up in the same place day in, day out - and knowing everybody else is doing the same thing, especially when you look out the window and see nothing where everything used to be - that reinforces the feeling. You're alone, from here on out, or at least at this point in time.
I say this as if it's new to me, but, well, it isn't. Not to paint myself as an eternal outcast, but I've always just been on the periphery, never really fully accepted into a group. Back in college we called ourselves the "drifters", the people who would never be considered part of either of the two big cliques in the block. (Shoutout to Derek who came up the term, as far as I can remember.) Now, sure, cliques don't really matter as your universe is expanded considerably - unless, of course, you kept your friends, in which case, I will forever be jealous of you - but the feeling, that you never really are part of something, doesn't go away that easily. I may be in a relationship and have a pretty fulfilling (if not as well-paid as most of you) job, but I still don't feel like I belong anywhere. Just a utility player, nothing more. Still, I am quite foolish to try to belong to something anyway, as seven years of writing a music blog proves.
I was reminded of this last week, when I tweeted something debunking a supposed leak showing that Manila will be brought back to the strictest of lockdowns. Not that I planned for it to be seen by anyone; I've long conceded that nobody will. Over the weekend it got more retweets than I usually get, though, and most strikingly, none of them came from people that I know. Like, the people I do know skipped over what I had to say. And yes, it's most likely because I have made it that way, or so you say.
(Let me interrupt this essay by saying that, at this point, I am feeling pretty bitter, and as a result, I have pondered if I should even continue writing this, let alone publishing it. I mean, this isn't really what I wanted to write about.)
But I digress, wildly. My point is, it's been isolating these past few months, and as a result, we've latched on, for better or worse, with the connections we are able to make: the ones on our phones, the ones we mindlessly scroll up on every hour, the ones we've worked on for years to ensure that we are up to speed with the people and things we truly care about. It's a comfort, knowing that amidst all this chaos, you can simply retreat to your phone, fire up an app, and just scroll, seeing the things that you want to see. Perhaps that explains the scorched-earth reactions to knowing that you follow someone whose political allegiances don't align with yours.
So, yes, there was this weekend when people were freaking out after learning that there are duplicate Facebook accounts under their name - new, empty, and considering the political climate and all the paranoia that goes with it, prone to abuse. That seemed to be the last straw for some, who have decided to look for a new place to hang out in, a new place where they can start over, where they can rebuild and, once again, see only the things they care about. That meant a bunch of people I follow inviting others to go to MeWe, this new social network that's supposedly about privacy above all.
When I saw those invites, I instantly thought that if I do join, nobody will really add me up because nobody wants me around, and it'll be just as isolating as the places I am in anyway. The curse of the drifter, it seems, is to never really be counted as part of anything for as long as he lives, whether it's objectively true or not, and to constantly question reality when someone does let you in. So... yeah, I guess I really did mean to write about that.