choose your own adventure

So You've Gone Mad-Mad

two men in fun sunglasses
Photo: Jamie Clifton

Ah, yeah, no, you've just gone very quickly very weird. Started with that project you had to "smartify" your house by installing an Alexa in every room, but somehow you did something wrong – confused your home Prime account and your work Prime account, or something, they all turned up programmed to a different name – so three of them react to one command and two of them to another, and they're all set so loud that they keep making each other go off, and basically you can’t really do anything but very quietly put Lighthouse Family on when you're in the kitchen, so you just don't tend to use them, watching them glow quietly, there in the corner.


Then there was that week you got Too Into Pinterest and wasted six consecutive lunch hours trying to find cushion covers on Etsy, and kept talking about "colourways" and "themes" and stuff like that, and a lot of yourself recognised that this was displaced energy from something else – 'Imagine how well I'd plan a wedding,' you thought, idly, then entered a fugue state and signed up to PlentyOfFish again – but you were too deep into it, now, a new obsession per week – cycling! Sewing your own curtains! A one-day candle-making course you were convinced would turn into a new business! – and now you are just rattling around your flat, alone, so perfectly coiffed and presented, and you keep laughing out loud to all the Alexas going off together, and you’ve ploughed through more boxsets than you ever thought possible – Grey's Anatomy twice, somehow – and you keep texting your friends ("About tonight? Aha x"), but none of them are really willing to come that far up to the strange north-west niche you've found yourself in, eight minute bus from the nearest train station.

So here's you, staring out of a double-glazed window over the balcony you're still four months away from really having the weather to use properly, 50-kilo bag of soy wax out there under a big tarpaulin, making up these weird little songs to sing to yourself – rejigged "thank u, next" to be about the department store Next when they delivered you that grey sofa and the TV stand without the screws: "First I went IKEA / but it wasn’t a match / bought a lamp and ate meatballs / hired a Zipvan and crashed" – and eating cereal for dinner for the third night this week because nobody is here to judge you.

If nobody can frown at your for taking your RDA of sugar in one meal for dinner, can anyone do… anything to you? If nobody can see you, does your existence really matter? If a tree falls in a forest, yes yes, but what if you slip when you’re getting out of the shower and clonk your head on the toilet bowl, instant brain bleed? Just you, dark treacle-like fluid coming out of your nose and ears, staring paralytic at the gauzy reflection of yourself on the tiles you now compulsively mop every day, choking out in a thick sauce of your own flesh and brain?

Are you thriving? Or are you dying, here, one atom at a time, doomed to flinch your last breath out, cold and abandoned and alone? What if you got Sky? That'd cheer you up, wouldn't it. Lovely bit of Sky. Full HD package. All the Sports. Forget about death and let's get Sky.