Notes on Our Collective Mental Breakdown

We need help.

Adeline Dimond


Photo courtesy of the author. It will make sense, keep reading.

I don’t think it’s up for debate that we are in the midst of a collective mental breakdown. If there were any lingering doubt, the photos of Will Smith dancing at Oscar parties after he assaulted Chris Rock has removed it. Did Will’s publicist just walk off the job? Probably. I imagine she just sighed and bellied up to the bar. We are all very tired.

There’s a Kafka novel waiting to be written about our multiple paid subscriptions to media sites we can’t log into. Or websites asking if we are robots, when the websites are in fact the robots. Or those phone scammers, calling to lower your credit card debt, or to sell you a fake Medicare plan. Relentless. If they call to sell you “cheap drugs,” it’s sometimes fun to tell them you’re in the market for some hemlock.

Why can’t we stop these calls? Because no one is actually steering this ship, that’s why. Do you remember when you realized that maybe no one was in charge, and that adults weren’t really that capable after all? And yet when things go south, I still look around for an adult. Did I mention that I’m 51?

Everything is upside down and nothing makes sense. A few weeks ago, I opened my front door and found three tiny takeout bags from McDonald’s, with a single cookie in each bag, delivered by DoorDash. Some of the bags had salt packets added, some had sugar. They were delivered in the wee hours of the morning, one after midnight, one after 1:00 a.m, one after 2:00 a.m. I did not order these single cookie bags in the middle of the night, but yet here they were. From McDonald’s, of all places, where you are definitely not allowed to eat, but everyone secretly does anyway.

I called DoorDash to figure out what happened. You may be wondering why I bothered — who cares if there are three cookies delivered to your door in the middle of the night, in separate bags, one after the other? But to me it felt ominous, like someone was testing whether my dog Fish would get out of bed and bark in the middle of the night. (He won’t. Despite showing a willingness to rip people’s throat out during the day, Fish knows when he is off the clock.)

I explained the situation the best I could — the three tiny bags, not meant for me. Or maybe meant for me by the serial killer who…