This post is free. If you liked it, consider subscribing.
Photo: Chris Weeks
It was the beginning of May when Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were reported to be hanging out in Montana. Historically I have not cared a lot about either of these people. She’s extraordinarily beautiful and I liked her in “Out of Sight.” I rarely think about him, except for the few times I have appreciated that he looked cool smoking, which may have been only one time. When they broke up in 2004 when I was in my mid 30s (so were they) I probably laughed. I have never seen “Gigli.” All I remember about it is “Gobble Gobble.”
Still, when Ben and Jen got back together last month I just about levitated. I wrote this to figure out why.
I generally think I know exactly what’s going to happen every day, and I am usually right. I work. I clean. I go to the store. Tasks/work/chores are backgrounded by anger and misery and rage: people are obsessed with the “personal choice” aspect of getting vaccinated; police exist; it might never rain again. Into this trudging despair came the last thing I expected which is that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck got back together after splitting up 17 years ago.
I should mention that I have reached a permanent state of horror such that my life now is about little more than acting as normal as possible so as to not make anyone else’s life worse. It’s not really that bad. Being proud of the extent to which I can pretend to myself and others that I have not completely fallen into despair allows me to generate something approaching happiness.
Finding out Ben and Jen were getting back together was the first truly shocking piece of news I’ve heard in years that wasn’t also horrible. I am convinced that experiencing surprise this intense unattended by panic and dread literally increased my serotonin production.
I now walk around thinking—just because of them, no other reason—that maybe I should stop being so sure I know what’s going to happen. Maybe the ocean will be somehow fine. Maybe everything can be prevented from burning down. Maybe there could be less and less ticks instead of more and more.
Today video footage was released of them making out. Jennifer Lopez caresses Ben Affleck’s face and they then whisper dirty stuff to each other until Max, one of Lopez’s twins with Marc Anthony, shoves a cell phone under their faces. Can you imagine if you were making out with someone you just starting sleeping with (again) and suddenly one of Marc Anthony’s children interrupted to show you a TikTok of someone tripping over a dog? Ben managed to look interested. Thank you, Ben.
I now understand the future is unwritten. Maybe we all will become communists very quickly. We will feed and house people, all stolen land will be returned, and we will embark on a massive project of atmospheric carbon removal with no regard for “cost” which we will all come to understand as fake.
These are life-sustaining thoughts I had because two famous people I don’t hate miraculously got back together and made out at Nobu, a restaurant I have never been to that is past its prime.
Max, please do me a favor and give this couple some space. Show your TikToks to your dad. Let your mother be fully available to this man who made a fortune pretending to have a Boston accent so that I might retain my very slight hope in the survival of the human race.