Every morning, just as I’m waking up, I make a great effort to hold onto that half-asleepness, hold onto it before my world becomes an aching reality, before my wife or my children wake, before I begin to feel the world pressing in. This is the time of the day when I can dream largest, when whatever it is I feel and think can become as close to being real as it ever will. For these brief moments I ignore the passing sirens, the clatter of the helicopter, the vibration of trucks in the street and the stereo’s of passers by turned up so loud I can feel their bass “Barmp, barmp barmp…” in my pillow. If I sit in this dreamy haze for long enough and compose a thought just right, I can will them all away. It’s my moments peace. It’s a little like meditation, but it’s not quite that as I’m not trying to attain nothingness. There is certainly something I’m trying to envisage. I’m trying to reach for my ideal world. A world where I don’t have to rush about, a world where I can go to work, but it doesn’t feel like work, it feels more like an honourable commitment. A world in which we’re not running about making no sense of ourselves and each other. A world where I can sit in the grass without worrying about the glass that may or may not be there, or how much longer I have until I have to go back to work, be it my lunch break or the beginning of the weekend.
This in itself sounds quite ridiculous. Naïve even. I’ll grant you that. But until you really know, or at least feel you’re on the path of really knowing, it always seems silly, childish, and utopian to reach for something that seems vague and unobtainable. Some things, like childhood dreams of super stardom and mass recognition, do, for some, become a reality, and oddly enough it would seem, if they ever attain this super-stardom they all too often come undone; end up with a broken soul, lonely and confused and wonder what it is they’ve been chasing this whole time. “Why is that I want to be famous? Why is it that I want to be rich?” Some may ask, but rarely dig too far into understanding why these things are. Some may even retort “Because it’s awesome! You can get whatever you like! People adore you!” But I wonder what form of adoration they have in mind, and whether or not getting whatever you like is necessarily a good thing, especially when a large chunk of those things you want are simply trinkets , consumables, disposable, and momentary.
This world I see has no need for these things. There’s more than enough to go around, and there’s no way that one person can unduly have more than another. As there’s really no need to have more when you’ve got all you need. Your soul is fulfilled, and you’ve never been told to want more, never been trained to believe that if you get that suit and car then you’ll get the girl, never been told you’re dumb, ugly, or poor. I recall the words of Tony Montana in the Scarface film, how his dream and vision has inspired countless persons seeking the power that money and influence will bring. There seems to be a great exaggeration of Tony, he completely loses it, he slams his face into piles of cocaine, abuses his friendships, has piles of money, influence and a trophy wife to boot. In the end he gets it, he’s killed in a scene that’s been played over so many times, falling form his upstairs balcony of his mansion into his fountain where his bullet riddled body turns the water red. He’s a gangster, a man that is obviously on the wrong side of the law; someone whom we can easily paint black and or white, good or bad, someone we can label. But what happens when there’s people just as nasty, or even nastier than Tony Montana who can’t be so easily defined? And what if these larger than Tony’s are in complete control?
I try not to think about it for too long, my wife will wake up soon and I’ve been unable to fully see and breath the aspects of my world which I promise myself every morning. I don’t get to see it all, I never have and I don’t think I ever will. But there’s fleeting glimpses of it. From the mundane, trivial aspects of it, to the grand sweeping narratives of realisations of a unified people, individual and together, supportive and independent. This morning I see… What do I see? Strain. No, don’t strain. Think. Feel.
I’m walking through suburbia, or what was once called suburbia. A long street with crests and dips as far as I can see. Old street signs tell the names of the streets, and the guttering is crumbling in parts. At first it almost looks apocalyptic. Some of the houses are burnt out with trees growing up through their roofs, forest animals can easily be heard, and there’s not a car in sight, well none that are immediately recognisable as cars anyway. I start to listen and I can hear soft low singing, not coming from a stereo, or music player, but a real voice, a beautiful, hard worked, long soulful tune runs down my spine. There’s a house that I can see which has big raised beds for growing vegetables out on what was the lawn, it seems to spew over into numerous other lawns. Children are tending to the small crops while a few elders watch over and sing that song I hear. There not unhappy, but they’re not plastic happy, they know what needs to be done and are happy to do it.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” It’s gone. I open my eyes to see my beautiful daughter in her pyjamas jumping up and down by our bed. The lights are on, and there’s a stale stillness in the air that I didn’t notice before.
“Come on Daddy! Breakfast, breakfast, breakfast!”
“Ok, come on mama” I rouse my wife. “Let’s get this little one some breakfast. Now where’s your sister?”