Every day of our lives, we become subject to different forms of information, that freely flows in and out of our work offices, homes, cities and shops. Anywhere you turn, it's there to "keep you updated" and "informed" on what's going in the world around you. Even if you'd like to escape it during a normal day, you cannot, as there always is someone else who has seen or heard something "important", ready to pass the news on to you. Massmedia is no longer "the third power of a sovereign state", but a means of filling out your time with entertainment culture, getting involved with state affairs (in order to vote on the "right" political candidate), and perhaps settle your mind down after a hard day's work. But does it really make you calm?
For anyone who's involved with the political development in his country, a strong attachment - a need - is created to day by day follow the endless debates of Left and Right pending between their economic suggestions, while keeping the standard interface of a multicultural Jesus that promise us faith, money and freedom. Most people lap it up, while others think it’s nonsense, but watch it anyway, since there's nothing better to do. If you're not stranded by the TV for political reasons, you're probably there to catch the latest melodramatic soap opera show where false singers become pop idols within two months, people from different cultures have fun together and prove that "everyone wins on being multicultural”, exciting movies where the same old theme reaches variation, due to Brad Pitt being sick, and therefore leaving the field open to George Clooney (what a rescue!). When it all boils down to it, most people watch TV, and they do it a lot.
Outside of this, they read newspapers, which basically restate the things seen at TV, but with more news and in letterform. It often revolves around the current political trends (immigration, gay rights, taxes and "war for freedom"), gossip about the people you saw at TV last night, and some articles on how neonazis, terrorists from the Middle East or another liberal Democrat is taking over the country. Nothing new, you think, and turn the page, trying to find at least one positive sign among all the informative mess; aha -- it's going to be a sunny day; that means taking the kids to the beach after work.
On your way to work, you flick on the car stereo to drown out the traffic noise outside. The radio pretty much affirms all news that you an hour ago read in the newspaper, only now they have interviewed lots of people, and realize all things have escalated into the worst. You change channel, but you're either faced with noise, or the same old popular music that's been played a million times before, but with the words cast around in a different way, or performed by an artist with a different outlook. No point in listening to that again, you think, and turn it off, realizing that the sound of car horns and loud screams are more enjoyable than the constant repetition of broken love songs, hymns to freedom, or the mix of both.
When you arrive at work, you pretty much know what to do. Most tasks have been done before and this day is surely not unlike any other day in your life. What needs to be done needs to be done, and so you get on with it. It goes well, as usual, at least as long no one is there to disturb you. When the lunch break finally comes, you leave your things as they are, and turn your steps to the lunchroom. In there sit other workers and discuss the topics you heard at the news. Most of them have opinions on what's going on, and most think that the whole country is going downhill. Eventually, small political discussions come to play, and the workers quickly distance themselves from each other, by presenting the different sides of Left and Right, and explaining why their side will fix all these problems. 20 years have passed since those promises were made, but no one thinks of that now, and those who do, are too tired of reflecting over it. It can't get worse anyway.
You leave work as both physically and mentally exhausted - the two always join together. The traffic is bigger than before, and the wave of heat that's caused by the burning sun, drives people irritated and impatient. This leads to minor chaos breaking out in intersections, where one car slams into another, one is screaming through the window for people to move away, and someone being tired of it all and simply taking a minor nap in the back seat, thereby blocking an entire road off. In all of this mess you find yourself even more confused and tired, more filled with voices and people talking. The sun has gone down hard on you too, but you know there's no way out than to get home, so you flip the air conditioning up to max level, turn on the radio to block out all the noise, and lean back in the seat. You hear politicians confirm all news stated this morning, and how they will save you from everything, as long as you give them their vote when you get home. You hardly believe what they say, but knowing there's no other way, you note the name and decide to try out the Right stance this time.
While home, you more or less collapse, fall down into the couch, and find yourself stranded in the living room. Burned out, sweaty and filled with all the things you've heard, seen and read over the day, you decide to simply take a shorter sleep. You close your eyes and your head starts spinning around. Images of politicians holding speeches are burned into your memory. Your see them talking, but you don't see the effects of what they mean. Eventually all of this become drowned in radio music, commercials from the TV, the terrorist news in the papers - it feels like your head is going to explode of all the information you've received and taken in.
Suddenly your "rest" is disturbed by the sound of laughter and screams. You wake up to find your kids sitting next to you, playing TV games and fighting over who's the winner and who's not. Calmly, still experiencing a minor headache, you urge them to turn it off and instead go out and play. They respond with screams on how playing outside is boring, and how the TV game isn't fair. You remember how you earlier this morning promised them to take them to the beach, but there is no way you can get into that car again. As your wife is still at work, you stumble into your bedroom and shut the door.
Here the air is cool and fresh, due to the fortunate ventilation. Fixed by yourself, as no one else had the competence to do it for you. Most times you've hired someone to fix things up in your house, it has resulted in an empty wallet, with solutions that haven't worked out, as they should. By now, you're accustomed to do most of the work of others, as they aren't able to handle it themselves. It's become too much now however, and you feel that it's time for someone else to take your place. Your eyes gaze upon the wall where the sunlight is shining through the half-shut blinds, that speak of a room where someone's resting, not sleeping, but not being fully awake either. As such you feel, and as such you plan to remain for the rest of the day. Peace finally.
Next to you lay a photo of your family, posing in front of a mountain, not far from where you previously lived. Of course, it was a small town and not many places to go when picking clothes, selecting video games, or other things that need to be bought home at regular intervals, but it was a calm place. Calm, in the sense that you were free from unwanted outside influence. The radio was always playing classical music, which surprisingly calmed your senses down at most times and made you feel more alive, opposed to the popular music that drives you mad. TV - you didn't have one. Instead you spent long times with your wife and your two sons, leading them into trails among beautiful trees and lakes, reflecting the sunlight at any given time between morning and evening. Nights were for you to read, to dwell in the history of your grandfather and his family. You'd often reflect over how his life was, compared to yours. Most times you'd leave the books and the photos dreaming, as if the past was a longing reality - not far away, but distant enough to become vague and out of reach.
When you looked at those old black and white photos of past families, you saw people who lived a hard life, probably worse than yourself, who worked for a stable income and a tight family union. Yet, there were no hard faces on the pictures. No regrets, no secrets - everything could be seen in the eyes of those who stood there, posing in the fog of past years. They were all happy, deep down inside. Such were the reflections when you at lonely nights sat in the kitchen and stared out through the small window, hoping to catch the moon's appearance down by the glowing horizon. Such moments are to you unforgettable.
"What are you doing? Get up, we have to take Andy to a doctor, he's been hit by an elder boy in the stomach and says he feels pain. Remind me to take the other one to McDonalds, because I don't have time to cook dinner tonight. Don't just stand there, get a move on! Oh, and the roof is leaking, obviously the guy didn't fix the job after all, as you claimed he would. You'll have to fix that when we get home. Please turn off that classical music, it irritates Andy! I received my paycheck today, so remind me to stop by the bank to get money out, we need more clothes. I won't be home tomorrow, so do yourself a favor and buy them a new game, or they'll tear this place apart before I get home. School called earlier this morning; John is not doing well in reading class, you have to spend more time reading with him. Yes, I know, but what can I do? You're the one that's home, so you'll have to take that responsibility. Always the same with you men -- never even the slightest worry about anything but yourselves. Who do you think will fix all this? Me? I'm working as hard as I can, and have enough with that, so please don't tell me what to do! Get the keys to the car, because Andy's feeling worse now. Your mother called just a minute ago; her operation failed and now she'll have to wait two months before getting a new place. What has become of the fucking social service? Oh, speaking of which, there's a letter on the table concerning the next elections, I want you to fill that out so we don't forget it, I've had too much to think about today."
"So have I...so have I"
July 26, 2006
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