UC Berkeley, the beacon of premier public education, is currently facing its ~spookiest~ epidemic yet. No one feels safe walking home at night, students are constantly looking over their shoulders, and, hot off the heels of Halloween, everyone is on edge. I’ve come to tell you that killer clowns, who may or may not even exist, are not the problem. It’s GHOSTS.
Have you seen any?
If you haven’t yet, chances are you’ll either come into direct contact with one or, if you’re a dick, become one yourself. These sadistic spirits roam Berkeley posing as normal Golden Bears but are even more frightening than the typical vicious flierer on Sproul Plaza. Just like any of us, they avoid the seals on Memorial Glade, complain about the crushing difficulty of midterms and even invade Grindr and Tinder to find love.
I recently had a dark encounter with the supernatural myself, and man was it terrifying. But instead of letting the ghosting process completely run its sluggish course, as I have on multiple other occasions, I decided to confront the gay ghoul head on.
I had gone on a couple of dates with the phantom prior to the emotional exorcism. We had verbally established a mutual interest in one another, and, post wine-ing and grinding one night, I was confident in the potential for further romantic exploration.
But soon afterward, our communication began to wane, and I grew wary. I had become the initiator of most conversations, the pusher of potential hangouts and, ultimately, the architect of my own destruction. My level of interest was definitely not being reciprocated from the other side, and at this point in my Cal career, I have developed a sixth sense for bullshit.
I see fake people.
While studying in the depressive depths of Moffitt one night, I attempted to make direct contact with the romantic beyond through my mobile ouija device.
Chris: “If you actually like me give me a sign! Anything at all!”
Ghost: Read 10:30 p.m.
Yikes. Ghost used read receipts — Satan’s infamous kiss of death — and it was very effective.
He eventually admitted that he only liked me as a friend, confirming my suspicions of potential paranormal activity. It was clear that he definitely would’ve left without a trace had I not directly confronted him to break the deafening silence. Now I wasn’t mad per se (maybe a little salty), but I definitely grew curious. Why do we, as a youthful culture of constant connection, choose to ghost one another rather than openly communicate?
If you’re feeling attacked right now, good. You’ve probably committed this demonic deed at some point in your UC Berkeley career, as most people have. But I’m not going to be a hypocrite on a high horse; I’ve definitely ghosted a couple people in my hay day. Like no joke, I’ve been a little shit before — sorry boys! For some reason, it’s way easier to feign potential interest than to sit down and tell the ghostee that you’re not down for the dick. From my days as a spirit, I found that it came as second nature.
The convenience of ghosting is unparalleled by literally any other form of dialogue. For me, personally, it’s a mode of procrastination: I’m putting off the emotional labor that would come from telling someone that I don’t like them and don’t want to see them. Avoidance is my selfish force of habit. I have a midterm Tuesday, a column to write and a pile of dirty laundry on my chair at home that I’m also concurrently ghosting. Hell, I don’t have time to engage in an emotionally challenging conversation! So I’ll just tell you that I’m busy instead to absolve myself of any tiresome responsibility.
I assume that my victims will get the hint eventually, and they always do … which I guess is pretty fucked up, honestly.
After being on the receiving end too many times to count, I’ve begun to reevaluate my use of the amorous aversion tactic. Our generation has been conditioned to hide behind our technology to subvert responsibility for our actions, or in this case, our inactions. To actively stop talking to someone, especially after a physical or emotional connection has been established, is cowardly. At that point, the ghostee is entitled to the blunt honesty of your disinterest.
When I don’t hear back from my suitors after idealizing our possible movement into the Bae Area, I can’t help but feel recurring pangs of pain. Ghosting prolongs the gloomy grieving process that comes with the demise of penis prospects. Instead of going out with a quick heartbreaking bang, the whole ordeal becomes drawn out and convoluted.
Without any clear answers, ghostees find themselves endlessly contemplating their status with the poltergeist.
So is he gonna possess me? Or did he go to the Light? What’s the sitch: Where’s my ghost at?
In my case, he’s long gone now, joining the ranks of many others who have left me to the same lonely fate. It’s fine, though. I will move on to the next and the next and the NEXT until, finally, I die.
And become a real ghost.