domingo, 31 de mayo de 2020

Hami’s sneeze

While socially distancing himself well beyond the minimum limits set by the nunormle on a sunny Saturday morning, Hami let go a wild, explosive sneeze. And another one. And then another one. Always three of those liberating monsters. Many airmasked heads turned his way, some in anger and fright, others merely out of curiosity. Don’t worry! Hami, on his way to the nearby supermarket, called out, it’s those pollen again, happens to me every spring. While some people accepted his excuse, others grabbed their phones to take his picture and send it to a snitch page. That won’t be necessary, Hami yelled nervously, clasping his hands over his face, suddenly aware of the possible consequences of his sneeze. He turned and made his way up the hill where he could disappear between the shrub and tree of the municipal park there. Let things calm down while lying under some roots.
He was never going to make it, of course. Within thirty seconds of his movement, two police cars approached, one from either side. Hami couldn’t be bothered to look for an escape. With three guns pointing at him he had little choice but to accept defeat. Wouldn’t want to disturb the good neighbours with my blood spatting, right? They put him in the back of a car which had a glass partition like a London taxi and raced off to a nearby hospital.
In younger years, Hami might have seen the fun side of it all, enjoy the ride and remember the experience and stuff, but as a happily married father of two beautiful daughters he feared he might not be there for them for a while, just when they needed him most with the lockdown keeping them away from school. The whole madness was turning ridiculous, Hami thought, a tragicomedy with too many victims in its wake.
Look, I’m fine, he said when they pulled him out on arrival and handed him to a muscle-toned triage nurse with a giant moustache. See, it was just pollen.
That’s what we’re going to find out, his nurse said, handing him an airmask and latex gloves. It could be covid.
Hami felt the fear the word covid was causing him flush through his body and mind, so he had to close his eyes for a second and pretend life was as before, just to feel some strength flow back. Sure it could, he responded sympathetically, wrestling with his equipment, though it equally couldn’t. In fact, the chance it is something else is much greater still.
He felt the facemask condemning him to eternal silence and it hurt more than his pride, it hurt his soul. Ooh, ma soul, Little Richard already knew. They were not going to keep him here, were they? Had he become cattle already? We should be owned by now, another favoured singer reminded him.
The nurse threw an ever so short smile and started moving towards the interior of the hospital, inviting Hami to do the same. Such dangerous words can only be your individual responsibility, sir, he declared. Here we are fighting the disease.
Both the verb and the definite article shocked Hami more than he would have liked. Is it that bad? he struggled for words.
The nurse slowed his step and allowed for a short eye-meet which Hami, naturally inclined to the supernatural, accepted. We’re doing all we can. We follow the rules and we work hard, but people keep dying on us. We don’t understand.
He seemed honestly distressed, hence his willingness to inform a stranger, one delivered by the police and therefore suspected of bad intentions, why would he tell me? I can’t help you, mate. I can only make life easier for you by going home. Wouldn’t that be the best? Hami saw in his eyes the nurse totally agreed with his reasoning, yet acknowledging it was impossible.
You can’t, I’m afraid, we must all follow the protocol, he uttered with a pleading smile. With two policemen still following discretely behind them, in case he might get funny ideas, Hami was going to embrace that damned protocol himself, as well. It started with a quick temperature read which gave off 37.1. Oh, that’s quite normle for me, Hami shouted, but the damage was already done. I’m afraid we will have to keep you with us for a while, sir, his nurse announced. The norm says 37.0.
But I’ve got a family waiting for me, Hami tried.
Don’t worry, they will also be checked.
That sentence triggered an uncontrollable fear in Hami. He had been sitting in a chair while awaiting his verdict but now he jumped up and grabbed his nurse by the shoulder. Now don’t you dare touch my family, he snapped. The other pushed him away. Now don’t you dare touch me, mister, he rebuffed in a similar feline sound.
He was right, of course. And the policemen were already there to apprehend Hami.
Lock him up somewhere, nurse said, it’s not his turn yet.
Again a quick glance from soul to soul, trusting you to leave my dear ones in peace a while longer, my friend.
The agents pushed Hami ahead of them, discussing what to do with him. I ain’t gonna drive ‘round town with this here fucker. No worries, mate, I’ve got a nice place for him. Will nobody come and find him there. Out on the street, they pushed Hami into a narrow alley between the hospital’s old ward and the next-door apartment block, full of darkness and bad smells. Hami was freaking out. This is it, he knew, they’re going to shoot me, I’m going to die in some lousy alley. He wasn’t. They sat him on a stone doorstep and locked his waist to a bull’s ring lain in the wall.
Ain’t nobody gonna get ya outta here, mister, the other agent explained. But ya got ya arms and legs to defend yaselves.
Thanks for the comforting thought, Hami tried sarcasm. But it was true, he felt comforted by the idea they weren’t going to shoot him yet. The other policeman didn’t bother to check for any reaction to his words and walked away.
Don’t scream, the original agent advised, you will definitely attract the wrong people. Then he too was gone. It is possible that one or both of them had a quick look back before emerging from the alley. Though not advisable, these things keep happening.
Little has been heard from Hami ever since. He hasn’t used his telephone in any capacity. One could go and see that the lock had been opened cleanly, the bull’s ring was in no way scratched or damaged, but further tracks of Hami’s whereabouts remained undisclosed. Was he still alive? Was he being turned into a secret agent? We don’t know. All we know is his wife and kids have been left in peace so far.

sábado, 23 de mayo de 2020

Fake Answers for Real People

Things are becoming clear. Our numbers are being reduced through anxiety and starvation. As long as people have money, they can sit at home and consume, waiting for developments. Those who don’t will have to find a job in any online service still in demand during and after the implosion of Western civilization. Remember the twin towers? They turned into a giant dust cloud floating out over the ocean. People said it was from the airplanes crashing into them, but that was silly nonsense. What exactly happened, nobody knows. With covid it’s the same. There is a condition, quite obviously, but the official version of what it is and what it does is not very convincing. It’s scary, yes, but the best conspiracy theories are way more frightening.

So where do we take it from here? We know we are being lied to, but we don’t know the truth. This is all part of the anxiety agenda. Feed questions, give no answers. All media are involved, both fact-checked and inspired, if only because it is in their nature to be so. We will have to come up with our own answers. Meanwhile the economy is being consumed as if she were cancerous. Tuberculin, perhaps, as it seems more in the style of covid. Anyway, all we can do in the meantime (all we have been able to come up with so far) is wait until we get are freedom back from those who stole it from us in the first place. In my childhood this was never a winning option. Therefore, we’re heading for disaster. That it may not seem like that is because we used to be rich, meted out on a global scale. We’re still comfortable.

Starvation is already happening in the Southern hemisphere and it’s spreading upwards. How long is this going to last, you may wonder. Will my resources reach until the new normal sets in? Am I going to make it there? People who are not able to answer this question with a heartfelt yes - and outside Netherland they are a majority of the population - will start getting nervous. Government handouts are all very nice, but in many countries where this routine is now practiced state largesse has never been a safe income bet, making a return to a steady job the preferred and inevitably hoped for solution. A real pity that so many people find themselves in similar circumstances, we’ll soon be fighting over slave wage work.

This is our new reality: if you show weakness you risk being wiped out and if you have no money you risk being wiped out. It’s a game designed for the young, and many Xers are being forced to play this game at the moment, just trying to stay alive. Have I still got anything to offer or is it all about being young? I think it’s a natural, healthy reaction when you are young, to feel that anybody above forty should shut up and be glad they’re still alive. Pandemics usually strengthen such notions because the young will survive and they know it. They can feel it in their lust for life. Oldies, on the other hand, are all about damage control. We will have to accept this difference and its consequences. For one thing, the young are certainly not to blame. They’re just waiting to take advantage.

This is our situation. The economy shrinks and shrinks and every next round another batch of oldies will be forced out. Is there no solution to this? Of course, there is. But it requires a serious change of our societies. To begin with, we will need to change our attitude towards money. Once upon a time, money was invented to enhance bartering and in order to make it acceptable it was given real value, by using precious materials. Then one day the idea of buying shares was born and money became something invisible. You couldn’t really see it, as it wasn’t there, but it was supposed to be there. And suppositions were just as valuable as the real thing, as long as everybody were willing to play along. Those with serious money, that is; ordinary people were still using coins, though they had become cheaper than their printed value. Nowadays, nobody uses actual money anymore. We just sway our bankcard or telephone. Money is your right to participate in society.

I’m not saying this is wrong. I’m just noting that some people have had to get disturbingly rich before we reached this stage. If a mere two thousand of your local currency can keep you alive, somewhat, then what does two billion buy you? A million lives? If the enormous sums of money rich people have been allocating themselves over the last forty years would ever spill into the economic realm of ordinary consumers and their fifty quid for a night out, spiking inflation would blow up the system instantly. So, they keep both worlds well separated. It makes sense. Yet, I wonder what will happen with their money when we normal people (who want our freedom) will have run out of ours, which we inevitably will under present conditions. Will they start bidding for their best services, which of course is all they have, the best? After getting rid of the poor, and this time it seems to be meant quite literally, as in dead, pretty much as Alan Vega foresaw in 1983 when he sang of avenging angels defeating the poor in his aptly titled Wipeout Beat, one two blues, after us, the rich may turn on themselves. So used they are to hurting other people, that they can’t help their sadistic instincts. They must hurt. One feels tempted to say it’s in their genes. Now would you be able to laugh at them from an astral position?

If you don’t believe you can, you should perhaps contemplate revolution. I am quite sure you are not the only one who would like to see things go back to normal, the old normal, a very old normal in fact, when even in poor Spain income progress seemed to be the future. But then we would have to get rid of the few and powerful. What exactly does their power consist of? We like to say money and the doors it opens. We also know power is enforced by armed humans. Who are these fools? Does anyone know one? Don’t they understand there won’t be much policing left to do once there is no public anymore? Can’t they come over to their own family’s side? There’s a job to do here for families that raised soldiers and policemen. Criminals, too. Fuck all of them, they are wrong, period. You have always known this but you didn’t want to disturb anyone with your conservative views, as they were never very hip. Now they are. Now that we are losing everything, the only thing we have left is our conservatism, our willingness to survive in close and intelligent collaboration with our Mother who has been suffering so much from our behaviour. If you believe in the end this will be our only way out, that we should go the smart gardener road rather than embrace the decadence of the wipeout beat – too hollywood, don’t you think – then it’s high time you accepted the inevitable. The only way to get out of this mess is being wonderful. We really have to start accepting each other.

So much for sloppy feelings, time to get serious about the when and how. Changing society, or whatever you want to call it, is a long game. It’s a bit like playing poker. We shouldn’t pretend we can take over public life as it is. Or was. It’s too expensive still. We would have to let its value deteriorate and then strike at the right time. We will need to let society implode until sufficient has been destroyed to claim the leftovers ours. But once we do, we must be strong and believe we have something to offer to ourselves. That we can create a new society simply by being stronger than our adverse circumstances. Such a thing can almost never have been done alone (some have shown they could). So let’s reach out to our neighbours, for a starter.

More to follow.

martes, 19 de mayo de 2020

Fake Questions for Real People No. 2

Question: would you give your life to save the planet? Could you accept being among those that are not going to make it? We need a lot of them, see. Submissions at the front desk. Have you got the nerve?

Lots of people are going to die soon. The situation is getting bad in Africa and South-America and if it gets bad there it’ll get worse. We’re not talking covid here, it’s all wrecked economies and food shortages, thanks to pressure to close up shop like the West had done, one wonders whose pressure and why. Very few people have been detected to have died from covid in these countries, so why a lockdown? Everybody knows their economies are too weak to handle a complete standstill. It’s insane. It’s criminal. So, who’s asking?

Up here we keep making people sick with counterintuitive regulations, which we then follow in confusion and to our detriment. We’ll probably get a last summer for free after which the plot will thicken. Did I here September vaccine mentioned? If that’s a bit too soon, growing poverty and the return of the cold will prove tough on a weakened population. See what they come up with next.

The world is now undergoing the campfire routine. When flames lick around the blackening wood, many great stories are being told with the energy of the fire's heat and lots of images are seen by those who feel inclined. When the flames wain, those stories end up clinging to the myths they once were until they implode, sometimes creating a new story in the process, which is nice. The same inevitability is reigning over the world. We may not be talking about it, but many people start getting unpleasant gut feelings, sensing something is going to go seriously wrong soon. And we know it is. This crazy system we have been clinging to for the last few crises is suddenly allowed to disappear while nothing is permitted to take its place. Should we all beg for communism at this point?

The longer they keep this going, the weaker their argument. People stop believing, simply because they are fed up. So there must be fits of unrest flashing over old Europe in months to come. I can’t see all of Germany and Netherland wanting to get vaccinated, for example. Not without having their say after a lengthy debate in which they learn to love the shot, that is. It’s the check society which has been on the rise. If your procedure is okay, we won’t question your morals. And if we don’t like your face, we condemn your motives. Still, it will not make a difference. This has been decided, quite some time ago. Sentiments are not going to save us, the individual yes, but not the flock. So the question remains, would you be willing to give up your earthling existence for the benefit of those you leave behind? Would that be a campaignable option for you?