Wednesday, March 16, 2011
10/100: Writing, Interrupted
I am trying to keep awake and survive at the same time. Sleep is much like death, admittedly. The problem here is boredom, though. It is a dull morning, like the usual English mornings when Spring wants to come but Winter wouldn't still give away. One of those middle of the week days when the optimism of the start is lost but the weekend is still too far, and the carry-on spirit is faltering in the middle of the predictability of life: The 8:33 train, the walk on London Bridge, the unsmiling receptionist, the creaky lift, culminating finally in the usual hustle and bustle of office life, accentuated, in anything, by the birth-pangs of these words, only the noise of typing.
Coffee isn't helpful, because that may drive away sleep but brings the awareness of death closer: And dosing off is no good, as, apart from the public spectacle, it mollifies sleep but makes me unaware of death and irrelevance. So I try writing, which does all the things - make me look busy, generates sufficient keyboard noise which is the marching sound of the office army, let's me sleep, be aware of death and pay it homage, and yet keeps me alive, just about.
This post has no point. I have tried writing essays here before, or tried alluding to grand ideas. This isn't one of them. This is about interrupting my daily life with a bit of play, a break from the routine, a representation of myself other than what it should be. There is no sadness here: Just the pointlessness. Indeed, pointlessness is the point of our lives, I may justifiably think. What I do does not make one iota of a difference in another person's life, and despite my pretence of grand ideas, for the world in general; all I do is to try to prove to me that I am alive. If I have gone missing, it is only me who will miss myself.
Am I pessimistic, or just growing old and giving up on my aspirations to change the world? I am sure not one of the conspiracy theorists, who see the dark side of things; I shall claim I am alive, constantly at play, fixated on future, learning new things everyday. I have given up on dying my hair and loving this process of being old and authentic, but that does not make me disillusioned in any form. Just a bit wise, which in some way rhythms with weary perhaps, and that I have started seeing the differences of claims and realities.
Things, such as, the words that governs our lives. Like Qaddafi's claim of being the last bastion against Al Queda - which he justifiably is, the last generation of terrorists who are now being replaced - Murdoch's claim of being the champion of free speech, and George Bush's claim of being the sponsor of democracy, our lives are full of claims that hide reality. I am lately fascinated by the expression - taxpayers' money - which seems to have been enthroned as the dominant concept of our age. When was tax the payers' money: It was always the King's, Landlord's, Knights' or Councillors' money, to be spent at pleasure. And, it still is that way, just that lately it has started becoming banks' money as well. But, taxpayers' money suddenly assumes a demonic dimension when a poor nurse, government clerk or a teacher claim any portion of it: They must just be seen as benefit scroungers because theirs are professions that must be cowered in submission to the other grander professions, like that of real estate tycoons, media Moguls and speculators, and they should not be making claims of a decent life as the television shows.
But despite its sheer unfairness, I have come to love this expression - taxpayer's money. This is because it is infinitely better than the idea that money has no masters, that it is one of those woolly things which is never owned and therefore, its flow is inherently fair. At least, here, money is someone's, taxpayers', and if this means that public purses should try to satisfy the people who pay them, that can't mean the rich bankers because they have all gone offshore anyway. But, indeed, they do. Individuals can indeed be left to poverty, joblessness and credit card induced bankruptcy, but banks are, almost always, too big to fail.
Etc. Such play keeps me alive, happy and optimistic. I keep watching the great divergence of claims and realities as they fall apart, as the money economy becomes a bigger and bigger bubble everyday, completely disconnected from realities of the 'real markets'. I see with wonder as bankers surround themselves with bankers, pockets of privilege become fortified by more privilege, ideas that were phony are substantiated by arguments that are absurd. In the meantime, in my oldness, I get to see what bits of our lives - love, fidelity, meaning, achievement - mean. I see that divergence - claims and reality - and that grand design. The only solid thing that emerges from this morass is that life is to lived for death, which must surely come, and its absence, for the time being, must be filled with sleep, boredom and conformity, in the reverse order.
A final word, then: I am finally interrupted. A pointless argument erupts. May be time I get some fresh air. A window opens in our absurdly heated up room. An idea pops up somewhere, and then disappears. A student is jubilant outside on the corridor: She must have received her results and know a bright future awaits her. Indeed, welcome to this world of typewriter sounds and heated rooms, mortgaged homes and convenience-bound marriages, yearly holidays and planned babies. And, then, as it should be, endings without consequence.
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How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
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