I looked at him with delight. The poor bastard lay motionless in his wrinkled clothes. He was smashed beyond repair and covered by a haze of sweat and beer. It took a while, but he managed to arise in the end.
”I feel so shit.”, he puffed and groaned.
”Just embrace the collapse.”
”Shut up… I’m dying here”, he sighed with self-pity.
”We all are”, I consoled him.
”I’ll never drink again.”
”You?! For sure! Don’t fool yourself man!”
”Just leave me alone and get out of my life.”
”Yeahnah. Our safaris have to go on, no matter what. Did you forget Bukowski’s golden rule? If you go, go all the way.”
I gave him a moment to catch his breath. After all, drinking and misbehaving are in his DNA.
”It’s noon,” I said while pointing to Ye Olde. ”Beer?”
We laughed uncontrollably and shook our heads.
”But seriously. No more than three pints. I need proper sleep tonight. Deal?”
”Although… That would be quite a shame ay? I took time off for this tour.”
”From what? Your early retirement?”
We got up and walked straight toward our ambitious mission.
Later, we sat in a sports bar while dropping philosophies and quotes. I could barely hear him because of a noisy football match, the chanting and cheering. As if that wasn’t hard enough, a middle-aged man came prattling to us.
He frowned and started talking increasingly faster in his heavy northern-English accent. I understood fuck all and wondered if this was still an official language. I looked at him in wonder and then at Adam, who sat back and relaxed.
”Why, because we’re together?” asked Adam.
”Blablabla…Coke?” the man offered in broad daylight.
I politely thanked them for the fine line. They instantly sniffed the good stuff like two well-trained truffle pigs. Bloody hell… Now I really need a translator in this packed pub. But I watched the passionate cursing and insults instead since I didn’t want to bother Adam. Thank God for the fantastic atmosphere since I didn’t care about men chasing balls. We had a good look around once the Northern monkey harassed other folks.
”So, Ben. You know…”
”…The collapse is coming.”
We laughed out loud and drank our lukewarm IPAs.
”Shall we buy a six-pack somewhere and go to a park? I’d rather drink under a big tree than in this madhouse. Even in this drizzle.”
”Ah yeah… A good spot for two unemployed bums in their thirties.”
”Yeah… The place to be!”
”That’s my boy!”
After midnight, we kicked my bag through a yet-to-be-filled nightclub. Such moronic actions don’t go unnoticed, and soon we got hit by a teenager. Right after that, I saw a brief chat between him and another guy. Adam came right over.
”I think that’s her pimp. He’s threatening to stab me if I don’t leave ‘his’ girl alone.”
”Wow, what? As if she’s his property. Besides, she keeps pushing while you’re obviously too old… and not keen.”
”I know. I don’t think he’s bluffing though. There are plenty of jealous losers armed with knives these days.”
”Poor you. You’re out of luck, are you? Yesterday the MILF just wanted attention and now this.”
”Stop it. I don’t need your sympathy. You’re already gettin’ cowgirl’d anyway.”
”Let’s go to the party of your illegal housemate. You might be successful there. Whatever that means.”
He rolled his eyes and pulled me outside.
We passed multiple brawls in our pissed state. All of them didn’t go beyond threats, swearing and tough talk. My thoughts wandered to our past night-outs.
”Yes, Ben. Welcome to the controlled anarchy of the English nightlife.”
”Barking dogs don’t bite. It’s always the same story, wherever and whenever.”
”Sums it up nicely.”
”Mate… hiccup… Pretend to kick my ass. I want to see if there’s still… hiccup… hope.”
”Sure, why not? We’re on a holiday anyway.”
He pushed me against a shutter with a massive bang. I fell to the curb like a dying swan, and my loyal partner-in-crime gave me a few fake kicks while he was at it. A group of youngsters quickly intervened.
”Oi-oi-oi…. Easy boys! What’s the matter?” they asked.
”Oh, nothing. This is just a social experiment.”
”That’s right. No worries, we love each other.”
We all burst out in laughter
”You guys are mental!” one of them said.
”We know. Good night lads”, and we shook hands.
Around the corner, we repeated the survey with the same outcome. We knew enough once our data analysis was finished:
”The real collapse is yet to come.”
I yawned like a hippo in front of a kebab shop. Next to me sat ‘the sober vegetarian’, cramming his Turkish pizza down his throat.
”I’ve seen enough. Can I have your keys?”
”Three pints, right? Here. I’m still going to that party.”
”Good luck with reproducing. Hopefully you don’t wake up on some random floor with lost stuff.”
”And an already lost mind.”
I nodded, slapped his shoulder and left the crime scene.
Our Doomer-slogan echoed through me as I walked home. For a moment, it made me think of overpopulation, imploding biodiversity, disrupted ecosystems, abrupt climate change, market-disrupting technologies, decaying social cohesion, depleted resources, unrelenting demand for (fossil) energy, unpayable debts, geopolitical tensions, deeply intertwined conflicts of interest, global hyperinflation, widespread corruption, power-hungry authorities, uncontrollable refugee-flows, conflicting inequalities and the inconceivable complexity of it all. I shook those visualizations out of my head. The current Western standard of living will certainly be under increasing pressure. Societal consequences will certainly be even more far-reaching. Social collapse is of all times for sure. Beyond that, my pissed state of mind couldn’t comprehend. Après nous, le déluge? I cheered for Adam and future generations as I stumbled along. Let them get the #YOLO.
The collapse is coming, but our safaris through modernity will commence until we’ve had our time
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