I remember watching the Truman Show when I was younger and how it totally fucked my shit up.
I’m pretty sure I lost a good number of friends because of how I badgered everyone around me to confess to being actors in a show where I’m the star.
Looking back, I remember soliciting these confessions from people in a progressively creepy manner starting with a joke and ending up, on more than one occasion, with me following people home to check out how they lived their “real world lives.” (All of the people I followed were great method actors. They remained in character all throughout the series it seems)
I realized there was something wrong with me when the only friend I had left was this kid named Melvin who went around campus telling people how he managed to turn into a Super Saiyan once but can’t do so again because humans have damaged nature too much to a point where he couldn’t draw enough energy from the Earth to complete his transformation.
That friendship ended when I tricked Melvin into buying a guitar pick that supposedly belonged to Kurt Cobain (this was a few years after Kurt Cobain died when every high school kid was still reeling from how he “took rock music with him to his grave”) and he punched me in the mouth after I failed to verify the pick’s authenticity. That was a turning point in my High School life and the entire thing made me realize how I needed to get over the entire Truman Show thing, start making new friends and live my life like a normal teenager would.
Fast-forward to today. I have to say that I never really fully got over the entire Truman Show thing and randomly find myself in situations where I catch myself saying “Well, that’s not what the writer had in mind” (i.e. explaining to my mom why I got kicked out of med school or explaining to a girl why I failed to achieve an erection)
The recent storm and incidents of flooding that ravaged Manila only served to rekindle and seemingly exacerbate my obsession. At the height of the storm, every medium had access to had stories that reminded me of how terrible flooding is everywhere. I was assaulted with pictures and video of major roads rendered impassable by severe flooding, houses and property damaged by floods supposedly taken by people as the events unfold. Social Media humanizes! Trending user-generated content straight from the groundswell lends the ultimate believability!
Then, I threw the writers a curve ball. I decided to drive to the city I used to live in which is a good 30kms away from where I currently live—making sure to pass by locations that typically get flooded and, exactly as I expected, no flooding, no traffic, no rain, nothing. I ate lunch, drove back to my house and then the heavy rain started to fall.
I’ve also become more aware of the people in my periphery and how they look like the same set of people executing the same routines. Case in point: that guy who passed by me five times while I was unloading things from my car earlier. But then again, that just might be the repo man coming for my car as I do have some checks that bounced over the last couple of months but whatever. I am on to you. All of you.