I have an utter loathing of obligation.

This letter was written to me by J but never sent. It is 2 typed A4 pages with handwritten notes, scribbles and corrections all over it.  It makes me wonder if he rough drafted and proofed every letter before he sent it to me. On the back of  the last page are his handwritten notes. If only he had sent it. Would I have done anything differently, would I have parachuted in to evacuate him. I was neck deep in a toxic decaying marriage, a single parent leaning on crutches of no substance. So many what if’s and if only’s – one and the same thing I guess but always ‘if’. Two small letters ‘if’ seem to start and end all my thoughts of any consequence, that and ‘fuck!’


Tuesday, 17 September 1996  7:03pm

Hey Sis,

In here at all hours, workin’ on this damn book…  I needed a break from what I was doing.  So how are things, hmm?

Ah, fuck it – enough about you, let’s talk about me, me, me!  I reckon I’ve come up with the reason why I’m not out there chasing broads (I love that word though I know it’s terribly un-PC.  It reminds me of American sitcoms from the 50’s).  It’s because I’m lazy.

I came to this great conclusion last night at the pub.  I was drinking (light beer) with Scottish Lisa (normal beer) in the News Bar, talking about her love life, my lack of one, her trip overseas, all that sort of stuff.  She asked me in her soft Scottish lilt “So what are you doin’?” (in regards to my love life).  I sighed, looking pensively down at the table and said “Nuthin’.”  She asked me why, and I sort of crinkled up my nose and gave my usual shrug and “It’s too much hard work” reply.  And then it hit me.  It really is too much hard work.  And I hate hard work.  And I hate hard work because I’m lazy.  BINGO!

The lights were flashing in my head as I looked up at the ceiling, my mouth drooping slightly open with the revelation of it all.  I can’t be bothered with a love life because I’m lazy.  I can’t be bothered going to see live bands, going to nightclubs.  I can’t be bothered enduring idiot friends of friends.  I can’t be bothered trekking half-way across Melbourne just for a shag at some woman’s house.  I just can’t be bothered.  I refuse to do anything for anyone that I don’t want to do.  That’s why I don’t have any friends, any social life, any love life, some might say, any life at all…

It seems rather silly and paltry when I put it down in words, but its effect on me at the time was quite profound.  It fits in with everything – my utter loathing of obligation and all that.  All those other ideas I’ve been wringing out of myself to try to explain this rather idiosyncratic reluctance on my part have just withered away.  It’s all because I am lazy.  And this discovery makes me feel so much better, Sis.  I don’t feel like such a freak anymore, I’m just lazy. It has that ring of undeniable truth to it.  It’s a defence, an explanation, though not quite a justification.  (Shame, that.)

When I think of all the hard work, the slog, the painfully self-consciously flippant banter in acquiring love and sex, hat!  Who the hell could really justify it?  God, when I think of all the effort I’ve put into it, and for what? Nothing but awkward retreats and obsequious declarations of “It’s not you, it’s me.”  Ha!

From now on when I’m at parties, if someone hits on me (yeah – very likely), I’m gonna sneer cynically over my martini glass and slur “Sorry luv.  Can’t be fucked. Pun intended.” Or “Look, you ought to realize before you expend too much energy on this, I’m  really not such a prospect.  I’m not gonna do anything for you that I don’t feel like doing.  Sacrifice is a completely foreign concept to me, Sweetie.”  If the selfishness doesn’t scare them off, the chauvinistic lingo will.

Of course, that’s the flip side of the laziness issue – selfishness.  But if you’re open about it, what have you got to lose?  If you only intrinsically please yourself and declare it from the beginning, it’s completely defensible and totally satisfying, for me anyway, I can see that this may not apply for those freaks who actually get their kicks from helping others.  I’m so pleased with myself.  Now I know what to tell people when they ask me that awkward question of how my love life is going.  I can say “Love is all about sharing, and sharing is for Commies.  Are you a Communist?

You’ve got your Economic Rationalists, which is just another way of saying that money is more important than people.  Well, aptly in this Age of Oxymoron, I’m the Emotional Rationalist.  What’s in it for me?

Of course, there are going to be some squares who say that this kind of selfishness is wrong.  What they mean is Evil, because right and wrong are exchangeable on a daily basis.  Thirty years ago it was a death sentence to have anything to do with the Chinese, now everyone’s cumming in their  pants to get to all those potential consumers.  But I digress… Some squares are gonna say that it’s wrong/evil.  I disagree.  Exactly who am I putting out here?  What I am saying is that it is more important for me to be stress-free than it is to be loved (loved being both an end in itself and a means to sex).  It is more important for me to be comfortable than it is to be loved.  It is more important for me to be doing exactly what I want to be doing (or perhaps more accurately to not have to do anything I don’t want to do, there is a subtle difference), than it is to be love.  The squares would say that selfishness in itself is wrong, but I say look at effect.  Who is losing out here?  Love and sex are available everywhere, the world is dripping with the stuff.  If you want love, feed a dog.  If you’re willing to drop your standards a little, sex is all around us to paraphrase the Wet Wet Wet Song. (Though they only covered it.  Covered it in crap.)

As long as I’m up-front about it, I can see no wrong or evil.

So there it is.  My manifesto. And I think it’s gold.

sep 1996 handwritten 001

 

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