This has long been a litmus test of mine. I generally enjoy people in the individual, really enjoy them. We’re so earnest and complicated and interesting. In the aggregate, though, we exhibit the traits of a cancer, or a terminal virus. Like a creeping blight we advance across this verdant planet, grinding it up to feed the machine, until one day we’ll reach the end and look back on a lifeless nightmare of our own making, where our last descendants will die deaths of quiet resignation, and our final tottering edifices will gasp and fall to dust and be forgotten. So once I get into a conversation, really get into it, and start wondering who this person actually is that I’ve been sitting here talking to, I’ll drop that:
A fair few react with alarm and a kind of horror that one could even think such a thing. That shock is usually followed pretty closely by pity. Then there is a second, smaller but still significant group, who cock their head and look me in the eye. Yeah, I think. There it is. There is also a third group, with a single lone member: the cab driver in Portland, who when I yelled it at him all wasted and obnoxious from the back of his cab, took a long moment to consider, then gravely asked a follow-up question: “You mean, like, the verb?”
Man, that guy. What a champion.