“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
This is true. Depression is compounded, just like the interest charged on the poverty that creates most depression. Rich people get depressed, too though. I think it’s because their parents love money and power more than people, including their own children. That’s why they buy their children nannies to take care of them and then send them to boarding schools to learn how to stay rich.
You can pay people to do a lot of things. For example, you can pay them to kiss your ass, with their lips being either perfectly puckered on your actual ass, or being used to form words that agree with everything you say. You can pay people to get on their knees and either scrub your floors or give you a pedicure. You can even pay someone to stand next to you at all times and anticipate and cater to your every whim. Those people used to be called man-servants and ladies-in-waiting, but now they’re called personal assistants. That’s because we’re trying to pretend we’ve evolved past the feudalism that Disney exists to maintain. Not even Disney has been able to completely erase the collective realization of the truth that the Beatles made public in 1964, though. The one thing you can’t pay anybody to do is love you.
Today, I paid someone to take care of my potentially fatal overgrown fingernails. That means I actually left my apartment to go somewhere besides work or to get more bread for avocado toast. It felt kind of surreal. I felt a lot like the sun, since it temporarily overpowered the dark gray, perpetually precipitating rainclouds that have dominated the sky for the last six weeks, even it was only for fifteen minutes. I’m not really comfortable paying people to take care of me, but this process makes my nails look job-interview acceptable for a whole month. I was glad that all the nail technicians were able to speak to each other in Vietnamese while they worked. Being able to gossip and insult people without them realizing it while you’re on your knees sawing away at the corns on their feet to make them feel pampered would probably help take some of the sting out of subservience. Or maybe there is no sting because they can laugh all the way to the bank, their homes are bigger than their clients’ and they all have personal assistants.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that most of the women were there to get their nails painted red with white hearts on them for Valentine’s Day. This entire culture seems to be built around holiday decorations. Decorating for the holidays is my next-door-neighbors favorite activity, besides gossiping, and she isn’t the only one. In fact, there seems to be a holiday decorating competition going on. It’s not just major holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Easter, either. I think these people have special holiday calendars.
In October, my PTSD was triggered when I was confronted by a human-sized scarecrow when the elevator doors opened, a fall “decoration” placed in the hallway by the neighbor three doors down. Not to be outdone, the neighbor two doors down promptly purchased a miniature bale of hay, a wooden wagon and some dolls to create a kind of hayride nativity scene. While I generally view decorating for holidays as a wasteful idiotic practice of buying a lot of cheap crap made in China, I have to admit that I was tempted to take a picture of that one.
I don’t really understand the need to decorate for holidays, but it’s definitely something people are trained to do in public school. Every holiday, all the educational assistants have to spend hours taking down the previous holiday decorations and putting up the most current ones. That’s a lot of staples to remove, and a lot of paper to waste, although some of them are used more than once. The only thing I can figure is that it’s both a way to mark time and a way to get to experience some change when you have to live in the same house, go to the same job, do the same things over and over, day after day, year after year. Changing decorations might be like taking an imaginary vacation, or mentally traveling somewhere different since Americans aren’t guaranteed any real vacations.
After not having anything decorating my doorway space for over a year, I finally broke down and got a little table shaped like a three-leaf clover and a metal tree with stained glass leaves from Goodwill. Even though it felt a little like caving in to peer pressure, it does makes my doorway look more attractive. Welcoming, even, which just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving. About a week after I put it there, one of my other neighbors put a cute little plant on the clover-shaped table for me, which was nice. She doesn’t participate in the holiday decoration competition. She just has a small table with a phallus-shaped cactus growing out of a ceramic clown that’s wearing a pair of real aviator sunglasses on it.
Sorry, I was talking about fingernails, wasn’t I?