I’ve always thought I was a ‘rebel.’ In my teenage years, I was the ‘clever kid’ at school who was constantly in trouble. I was argumentative, defiant. I’d go out of my way to put myself in situations where I could defy authority.
Even later in life, I’ve been happy to take the contrary/ ‘not safe’ position. Nobody ever really knew my political views because I’d argue with anyone!
And now, 31 years old, I’m sat at home believing that the current situation is an intolerable suspension of our civil liberties on a scale never conceived of before… And I’m doing nothing.
I won’t even post on Facebook, or argue with the complete idiocy I see posted. (I’ve tended to believe posting political stuff on social media is about as effective as a chocolate teapot, even coining the phrase ‘Throw a brick or shut the fuck up.’)
My ‘defiance’ is limited to quietly going about my own business as much as possible, ignoring any restrictions that are unenforceable. Visiting parents, siblings, the few friends who aren’t in a complete panic, pretending to check in with the Covid App, giving false details, quiet rants with people in person after I’ve checked they’re ‘safe.’
I wear a mask when I’m required, even though I’ve seen a few people in shops etc not… and they don’t seem to be suffering any costs. I’m afraid of the stigma.
I’ve convinced myself the social and professional costs of doing anything are too high. I work for the government, I’m afraid any overt defiance would put my job at risk. Hell, I’m afraid that posting anything on social media would put me at risk.
Despite the fantasy I have of being ‘part of the resistance,’ I’m not. If I’d lived in occupied France, I’d probably have been quite content as long as I was left alone. In my less introspective moments, I convince myself I’m just waiting for the spark. For someone else to organise mass protests, for Police over-reaching to cause a riot… and then I’ll do something!
But probably not. I’ll still just sit at home and let others fight for my freedom. I had a pretty painless first lockdown (I was at work on a ship, life was pretty normal, I had 70+ people to socialise with, gym was open, bar was open)
I wouldn’t have even found this sub if I wasn’t on leave. I’m due back to work in December, which I’m looking forward to – life back to ‘normal.’
People like me are the second best thing to active support for authoritarian regimes – passivity. I grumble and grouse in private, in situations where it doesn’t matter. And then just go along with it, while hoping someone else will do something about it.
Sixteen year old me is ashamed of me.