This week’s post is a little weird and very self-indulgent. It’s a fictional text I wrote some time ago after a very strange train ride I spent obsessing over one thing: If one single person would survive the earth’s destruction – what would they spend their day thinking about? This is my attempt to answer this question. So, without further ado, here it is:
Excerpts from the diary of the last human.
It is hard to mourn when absolutely everything is to be mourned. I would be able to cry if I could sit at the shitty kitchen table where my grandma used to do her crossword puzzles, but the table doesn’t exist anymore, just like the kitchen, the building, her street – fucking Cologne doesn’t exist anymore and that is just as hard to grasp as my grandma not sitting at her shitty kitchen table anymore, trying to come up with a synonym for ‘tumult’.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that I used to be part of this world, an active part able who communicated with people. The moment the world ceased to exist every living person on it was united, truly equal for the first time in its history – everyone but me. My fucking survival reduced me to a passive observer of the history of humanity without any chance of a life worth living.
In the beginning, my brain kept fighting for an answer to the question of ‘Why?’: Why me? Why not someone else? Why now? Why only me? For the first time I understood why people were religious: I couldn’t grasp that all of this is a big, horrible coincidence. To be honest, I had to slap my own face a few times whenever I started to contemplate if I was a God myself.
I’ve heard about people who thought they were invincible after surviving a near-death experience, and I guess I’ve had the ultimate near-death experience: Being the lone survivor of the destruction of our planet. I think I know the psychology behind it, but I still can’t grasp that I will die some day.
I’m convinced that my last words will be something like, “Oh yeah,” or “Huh,” or “I knew I forgot something.” At least this keeps me from contemplating to kill myself, because in a way, this already feels like the afterlife. Then again, maybe this is the afterlife…?
Update: After spending some time with this new existential crisis, I stubbed my little toe and concluded that I refuse to believe in an afterlife where this kind of pain exists.
Somebody whose name I don’t remember – which is increasingly becoming a problem since Google has ceased to exist – once said something along the lines of:
Only the person who has lost everything is free to do anything.
Well, I guess now I’m the freest person to ever exist.
The problem: There is absolutely nothing left to do, or no place to do it, or no reason. I always thought that the reason I write is vanity – I thought that after my death somebody would find my diaries and journals and would be amazed by this person they would never meet, and find that there is no way they could keep these works from the world, and my words and thoughts would charm humanity.
In reality, what I wrote about was banal and boring and only interesting to myself in the very moment: rants about unfriendly colleagues, fictional characters and, sometimes, the world.
I guess it’s the ultimate irony that now that I’m finally writing about something worth reading there is nobody left to read it. But what am I still doing?
On the one hand, it’s a good way to pass the time, but on the other hand, there is still a part of me that believes my writing will be discovered one day, no matter how impossible.
I just thought of something nice: Every dictionary and lexicon has ceased to exist. And even if some pages are still floating around space: I’m the last surviving human! There is nobody left to correct my grammar or spelling mistakes or wrong punctuation or run-on sentences, and there is nobody left to care.
i can stop using capital letters, simply because they intimidate me. i can stop using punctuation because i use commas incorrectly anyway and i can use every abbreviation i can think of bc im lazy or bc it looks artistic and shit i can swear however fkn much i want even tho nobody stopped me from doing that before & i can switch between all the languages i know weil warum nicht und es gibt niemanden der mir sagt dat ik die niet korrekt gebruike un weil ich der letzte fucking mensch bin there is nobody but me left to decide what is grammatically correct
But, to be honest, all of this is more tiring than freeing. And there is a voice in my head that hates the thought of me forgetting which spelling is correct and which isn’t, just because my brain is the last place left where that information exists. Oh my God, “friends” only exists in my brain. Holy shit.
I managed to be sad for a few hours today. Well, “today” as in “the time span since I woke up”.
The vastness of what happened lost its sadness / shock / whatever a long time ago. The earth has ceased to exist. My family is dead. My friends are dead. Every single puppy is fucking dead. So what? These kinds of thoughts have completely lost their meaning because of how often I’ve been thinking them.
But today, I thought of all the Makeover-Shows I used to obsess over and of all the people who I got to watch and get to know for a single episode where stylists and interior decorators and life coaches (who, depending on the show, were more or less genuine and goodhearted) helped them to get the new start in life they deserve. I thought about how I watched these people and cried and hoped (and sometimes even prayed – I REALLY loved those shows) for them and now they’re all dead- they don’t have a chance to lead and fulfil these lives that they deserved.
I was so happy to have found something that made me feel genuinely sad again that I spent hours obsessing over these thoughts and crying until I finally started to feel numb about this, too. Now that I’m writing it down, it’s impossible to summon the feeling of genuine grief from this morning.
Maybe I should be more optimistic about the end of the world, generally speaking. Maybe it’s better that humanity found a quick and mostly painless ending than if it would have spent a few more hundred years slowly dying. Thousands of gruesome and unjust deaths would still be happening every minute, until finally, the climate change would erase every living being, either through suicide, hunger, heat or anything else, really, only slightly later than now.
I wonder if humanity would have managed to stop global warming, but I highly doubt it. As far as I know we had already passed the point of no return and were still not doing anything to prevent our species’ certain death.
If I’d known that nothing really matters I would’ve smoked more. And drove my car more. Used more disposable plastic bags. Talked to more strangers. Had more sex. Kissed more people. I would have learned more, especially about poetry. I should have learned poems by heart because I would really fucking love to read some right now.
Even my favourite sonnet by Shakespeare, one where he laments Nature’s (who is clearly a woman) cruel trick of adding a penis to a boy he had a giant crush on so that she (Nature) would be able to love him without being a lesbian, to Will’s dismay – even from that sonnet I know shamefully few lines.
A … with nature’s own hand painted
Art thou, the … lover of my heart
… by adding something to my use nothing
Wow. Three fucking verses that aren’t even complete out of 14. Oh God, didn’t sonnets have 16 verses? I know it doesn’t matter anymore, but I can’t stop obsessing over these kinds of things. I should just go to sleep.
What do you think of this drabble? What do you think your thoughts would be if you were the last human to survive? Do you have something you hate about what I wrote aka critique? (It’s what I thrive on.) Let’s talk below!