Life and Times Blog

Corridors of deception.

I wake up on a soft double bed, in a nicely carpeted room. I wobble to a nicely tiled bathroom, with bright fluorescent lights, munch my muesli breakfast and get into my car.
Switch on the aircon, set off to work.
Along a very well maintained highway I drive, past areas that are mostly developed. The highways are bordered by massive billboards, selling me stuff. Lucky for me I find shopping too much hard work to get down to, but it still reminds me of the big comfortable consumer world out there.In here.

Closer to the office there are sometimes beggars at the traffic lights, I smile and shrug my shoulders in an “Eish, Angeeena” sort of way. Which is a lie, well the eish isn’t, but the Angeena is, because I do have.

I walk into the office, shout out a hello to the aunty’s who work there, sit down on my high-back chair (its a pretty cool chair), switch on the fan, open the computer-box and go through the day. I communicate with various people during the day, all of whom went through the same relatively comfortable routine that I did.No one speaks about anything outside the normal context we find ourselves in.

The day comes to a close, I get back in my car, I drive to meet some friends at a mall, or at their comfortable homes. We chat, laugh, maybe we’ll touch on some all important current topics, but mostly its just casual banter.

I get back in my car, go back to my comfortable double bed, and repeat the next day.
My week passes, my month passes.

This is my corridor. The Comfort Corridor.

What I don’t see, and it doesn’t take much not to see it, because the comfort has been built to hide it, is that not far behind these billboard borders, and behind the trained smiles of waitresses at malls, is a world whose reality contradicts the comfort of my corridor, of my apparent reality.
It is a world of poverty brought on by a 30% + unemployment and HIV rate. A world where the citizens are products of a multi-generational program designed to rip their collective and individual sense of dignity, ability.
A world where adults can’t read, little kids don’t have the basic toys that would so impact the formation of the physical brain ability.
A world where tea-lady’s and cleaners support families of 8 on salaries that are only slightly higher than my petrol bill.

This isn’t a minority world, its the world where the majority of the people in this country live, with little hope of climbing out. Instead, in their natural desire to improve, an imposed consumer society convinces them that improvement lies in buying things, forcing them beyond their means, and thus deeper into the mire of an unimproving future.

But this is a world that lies outside of my corridor. I don’t see it, I don’t have to see it. I just need to focus on my corridor and everything will be peachy, well not peachy, because those billboards tell me that the other car is really what’s peachy.

Now I don’t mind this at all, if I really believed that it would all be relatively peachy. Only I don’t.
I can’t possibly believe that a situation like this, a stratification of people in front of and behind the billboard can possibly be sustainable in the medium to long term.
Further I can’t possibly believe that my Just Lord will allow me to have lived all my life in front of the billboard without a sever reckoning.

Also, I know without a doubt that a life in front of that billboard will quickly bore me, or even worse, cause me a lifetime of perpetual dissatisfaction, hooking me to riding along that highway, chasing the next billboard refresher.

But what do I do about this, it’s like exercise and healthy eating, and reading, I know I should do more of it, and its good for me, but actually getting down to it, thats tougher.
Good news, there are packaged options out there, we all like packaged options, because convenience is nice. There are many many organisations or initiatives that already have an established infra-structure for you to simply plug yourself into. It will allow you to escape that corridor, for the purposes of your own psychological refreshment, and hopefully spiritual salvation.

Even if you don’t plug yourself into some liberating cause, at least be aware that the lady cleaning your office, or serving you behind the counter, probably comes from that other world, and it can’t be much fun for her to cross over your corridor and help maintain it. If nothing else, smile and say a kind word, so she knows, and more importantly so you know, that she’s not a cog in the machine that keeps the corridors comfortable, but rather a human being with whom you can share a moment of solidarity with, based only on human kindness and goodwill.
But most of all don’t be hypnotised by a narrow version of reality, that tranquilises you into a botox brained existence. A plastic world leads to a hardened heart, and a putty brain!


November 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 10 Comments