These last 3 years leave me with a strange taste.
That of a world that hesitates between imploding (for better or for worse) and rolling up in a ball under its duvet, a pot of ice cream in hand, waiting for the tumult to die down.
Like an apple pie that doesn’t quite know whether it will be topped with a savoury topping, pigeon droppings, or simply turned to ash (in my humble, unsolicited opinion, whipped cream is the best option).
We are in the midst of what seems to be the story of my generation. The story of incessant antagonisms. The feeling that no matter what we do, we will always be tightrope walkers, walking back and forth between the reminiscences of a world without internet, and the one where all our craziest desires (from the desire to have a shower curtain delivered, to the choice of the person who will come to warm our bed sheets and/or fill our sensitive little otters’ hearts) can be fulfilled in a click.
That of a world that hesitates between imploding (for better or worse) and rolling up in a ball under its duvet, a pot of ice cream in hand, waiting for the tumult to subside.
When I think of my fellow millennials, I imagine us as baby Orangutans stuck in a shopping cart.
Great tap dancers on the huge brazier that is the world (minus the chimichurri , and plus the gravity).
Of course, we haven’t experienced the world wars that have shaken our continent, the famines, or the bubonic plague (I seem to have already shared with you my fascination and repulsion for the word « bubon ». How can such a cute term be used to describe something like this?).
Of course, we didn’t directly experience the disarray of Generation X, the shattering beginnings of AIDS, the rise of unemployment, Chernobyl and its six-headed foxes.
This does not mean that we have grown up in a state of naivety.
We already knew that our dreams would often have to be adapted to the threshold of a door that seemed to shrink with each passing year. That we would have to clench our teeth and our fists a little more, because our elders had already put away the idea of a revolution where we sing Bob Dylan in the middle of the prairies. That the generation that follows us is still struggling between saving the planet and the schizophrenia of social networks.
I often think of my grandfather’s favourite quote, mentioned somewhere in the last episode of Transmission. He often used it to talk about his own generational feelings.
I found myself between two centuries as at the confluence of two rivers; I plunged into their troubled waters; regretfully leaving the ancient strand where I was born, and swimming hopefully towards the unknown shore where new generations will land.akA Châteaubriand, best 100-metre swimmer of the 19th century on the back of a book
I think that, with one adaptation, we are not that far from it. The difference being that the other side is looking more and more like the world behind the wall of Game of Thrones.
In other words, something that doesn’t resemble the merguez party of the Muscles (p.s: one of the jewels of French culture, and an option that is no more pleasing).
Sometimes I hate this world (and not only because it condemns me to remain with a tune from The Muscles stuck in my head).
Because it reminds me of my powerlessness to change it with a wave of my magic wand. Because I find it cold, selfish and calculated. Because it gives me every opportunity to become entangled in its contradictions. Seeing burning orangutans behind a spoon of Nutella, against a backdrop of viral videos of dancing cats.
Because it pushes me more often than before to harshness and cynicism, to close my eyes very tightly so as not to burst my bubble of lightness under the weight of the neverending news. Because it makes those who are already too sensitive to it want to give up a little more, or hardens the soul of those who are less so.
Because it wears down the hope of those around me to the bone, slashes their personal and professional expectations, and even swallows up some of them for good.
In those moments, this world doesn’t make me want to search its guts to unearth the fantastic in it.
This world does not make me want to write.
You can imagine that my uncontrolable joyful soul is not naturally inclined to stay in this existential slump for too long, otherwise this blog would have no reason to exist. And if my 2020/2021 renewal impulses no longer have the appearance of a tsunami of joy, they have not calmed down.
I love this world deeply too.
I love it for its safeguards, the ones that hold back the waves that are too strong and prevent you from blithely scraping your face on the rocks. For its multitude of everyday joys, its lessons, and its boundless creativity.
When it makes me laugh out loud at an inappropriate joke or jump like a kid at a strangely shaped potato. When it gives me the opportunity for important conversations, about art, life, six-headed foxes, whether we are in Toronto, Dublin, Hainoi, Hong Kong or Barcelona.
When it leaves me with strong images. Like the one of friends of more than a decade holding on tightly to each other at the funeral of one of their own, and managing to live without looking every minute into the void. The children of friends who recreate chocolate constellations on their t-shirts while talking about dinosaurs.
When I rediscover the pleasures of summer concerts, of a book that turns my stomach with happiness. A look or a conversation that is enough to make you feel warm in your heart and soul.
In 2021, I thought I had found the unstoppable tactic to move forward amidst the flames.
2022 taught me to hobble and blindfold (like a modern day Kung Fu Panda).
The most important thing is that everyone has their own existential crutches. For each of the life chapters that go with it.
In 2001, mine came in the form of Linkin Park (dear guardians of the temple of rock, please wipe your backside with any notion of good taste in the matter).
I was 16 years old, socially awkward to the point of being unacceptable, and had a taste for the emos of this world and hairy animals (editor’s note: this will prove to be a constant in the life of your dedicated editor).
One day, between two Mouv’ radio jingles, « In the End » was played.
And for the me of the time, it was something simple, obvious, that embodied a bit of my dismay at not being what I imagined, of those many moments when love’s failures are a tragedy, the adult life to come a bottomless pit of torture.
Something that better expressed my lack of understanding of the world than my attempts at writing during that period (to give you an idea, I found an old notebook where I had written down this famous prose: « The world is a slice of nutella that fell on the wrong side ». It’s not enough to make an emo rock anthem out of it), or the tons of classic literary references I used to gorge myself with.
On 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, the band’s lead singer, took his own life by hanging.
In the meantime, I had become the closest thing to an adult. Linkin Park was one of those things that belonged to a more or less shameful musical past (I might as well tell you that assuming in public my love for some of the tracks of the album « Meteora » still costs me a bit).