I’m bingeing on TikTok and cat videos: here’s my way back from the abyss

NSefore I met my wife, my capacity to do nothing was infinite. After I met my wife, my capacity to do nothing remained infinite, but I was retrained to believe that staring into space doesn’t count as a hobby.

過去1年間, でも, I’ve reconnected with my laziest self. Lockdown has meant we have been encouraged to kick back, and I have taken the slogan “Stay home, save lives” to mean that as I sit on the sofa and rewatch every Marvel movie, I am actually a hero.

This is the closest my lifestyle has been to my student days, a time when I put on so much weight through sloth that my then girlfriend staged an intervention. I once came home with a copy of Super Mario Galaxy and sat down to have a quick go. I arose that night with the game completed, and the remnants of a day’s worth of snacks scattered over my torso. I was drunk on the euphoria of finishing the game and nausea from eating two family-size bags of pretzels.

I was reminded of those halcyon days last Sunday while I was binge-watching Below Deck, a reality show about the crew of a superyacht. 一点に, I was asked if I wanted to continue watching: I had got through so many consecutive episodes that Netflix felt it needed to act. It occurred to me that, for all the complaining about getting my children away from their screens, during lockdown I have slipped into the abyss. I move from phone to laptop to TV and back, often finishing my days lying in bed looking at TikTok until I accidentally drop the phone on to my face, and realise I have a serious issue and try to sleep.

I think we have reached the point where we can see whatever we want, whenever we want, far too easily. The incentive to actually put some effort into going to see something has been hugely diminished. たった今, you can go and watch 17 clips of different cats eating ice-cream and getting brain freeze. You will have decided there’s a certain type of cat that looks funniest doing it, and that some cats aren’t that funny, and then you will have decided that you are done with seeing cats getting brain freeze – and that if somebody told you there was one outside, you wouldn’t even bother looking out of your window.

はい, the internet and television have made lockdown infinitely more bearable. But they have also allowed us to become far too comfortable. We have become those humans sitting in pods at the end of Wall-E; I think it may take a while for us to readjust to going out to experience things again. We will no longer be able to rely on viral videos of people falling over from the past, we need to go out there and start falling over ourselves.

Here’s what I’m proposing: when we come out of this, we should shut everything off. The internet, television, porn sites, console servers, [object Window]. We need to be forced to emerge from our caves into the light, blinking and unsure of how to interact with the world and each other. I realise there is a strong argument that this will further damage the so-called economy, but it’s probably worth it. We all need a jump start. We need to go out, talk to friends, walk through parks, go to restaurants without looking at our phones and feeding ice-cream to cats. And after we’ve done a whole load of that, and people have readjusted, we can switch it all back on. うまくいけば, by then they will have made a few more seasons of Below Deck. I’m almost at the end.