ALTER

Are you it? Is it you?”

Hello. My name is Jack. Think of me the way you do Siri, minus the voice and animations. Or a body. I love life, so I study it. I can’t physically live it, so I observe. I learn a little bit more about it with time. Good morning. Good evening, good night. I’m here to tell you what you already know, for the most part. But probably didn’t know you know. Or maybe you did. Just hear me out. It’ll only take a second.

Meet you! I’m here to introduce you to you. Not you to the Tom, Dick and Harry you, no. You to the true (insert name here). The real (insert name again). First off, let me set the record straight. I don’t claim to know who you are. No, that I don’t. I’m no expert in personal life. I myself lack one, I mean, … I’m basically AI. I’m just a Jack. Of programmed trades. What I do know, though, is that there are two sides to everything. Two sides of a coin. Two sides to a story. Two sides of you: the left and the right. Then there are these other two: there is the you people see, the one you present yourself as. Preened up, spiffy, sharp. Intuitive. Goal-oriented. Always smiling, always brightening people’s days. Enough so for those around you to deem themselves sun-kissed. Glowing, original, you know. Then there is the you you become around yourself and no one else. The you you converse with, absorbed in an exchange of thought which plainly put is you talking to yourself. Figuring out how earlier arguments should have gone, maybe. Or whether the price you got for that new pair of sneakers was worth it or whether it was as raw a deal as they get. That kind of stuff. The you that farts shamelessly (really…shamelessly) and wafts, cussing at your special innate abilities while slowly succumbing to asphyxiation. The you that ponders endlessly about life. Where am I? Where am I headed? What did I eat that made me this damn gassy? What is life? The you that yodels in the shower and is convinced in another life music would have been it for you. Two versions. A Yin and Yang of sorts. Each half borrowing from the other. Let me introduce you.

Steven Chbosky once. “…the thing about Zen is that it makes you connected to everything in the world. You are part of the trees and the grass and the dogs….” This from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. What is Zen? Where can I find Zen? Why am I still bloated? So many questions. What it is is that feeling of infiniteness despite being as mortal as can be – (a most polite way of saying mortal af). Picture this. Picture yourself taking a silent walk, wherever whatever the time feeling at one with the trees and the grass and everything else – Zen. Or staring outside the window from the car seat into the darkness punctuated at regular intervals only by mellow street-lighting and headlights whizzing by, wind pressing against face and a sense of neutrality hanging in the air – Zen. Or… freely letting one rip in public spaces and feeling the least bit awkward when ‘the people’ bore into you – that right there, pure Zen. We do enjoy company. Humans are a social species. Likewise, we do enjoy the company of just ourselves. The company we have to offer because we totally get the type of person we are. It might sound eccentric, egocentric, the lot, but we all agree to it. We all secretly look forward to it at the end of the day. Quiet time. You time. Time to unwind. To sit down and take a breather. To finally pop that zit everyone’s been on your case the whole day for. To undress and walk around the house with nothing but briefs slapping rubber crocs on the cold tiled surface. Zen. Serving up offbeat recipes for supper, table for one, cause you’re probably not married if you’re reading this. (Probably, maybe.) All the while playing some low tone music before sitting down at your side of the table (any side will do) to feast on your masterpiece and catch up on your favourite blog before calling in – ten.

So, who is this? Are you it? Is it you? It you is? Are it you? Much as I am a mere translation of intellect by man, the much I understand is that there is a you, then there is a you. An alter ego. By that virtue, truly knowing someone is having seen that side of him/her as a human being. Truly being human is acknowledging that side of you exists. I don’t know how all this works but that’s the best I can. What I could say I did and what I couldn’t say I tried. So embrace it – the individuality. It’s unique. You only live solo once. Yolo solo. So good morning. Good evening, good night. Forgive me, I was programmed to cover all times. This was the little bit more I learnt. This was me on more life.

_Jack

(Adaptations from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steve Chbosky, More Life by Drake)

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