Ramblings: (R)Evolution

I’ve been obsessed with the show Revolution this month. The end of the world/major changes in life/dystopian and utopian views on life themes are often recurring in my writing and I like to imagine what life would be like without all of the comforts that we are used to, and without all of the elements that we take for granted every day (hot water, electricity, public transport and so on). The whole point of this show is to portray life 15 years after a never-ending black out that is completely widespread around the world. Without electricity everything falls apart and has to be rebuilt again. Or does it actually get rebuilt?

Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere unless you it can be done on foot or by horseback? Or not being able to contact anyone via any form of mail or phone anymore? Basically imagine going right back to the Middle Ages, but even worse as there are not even ships to travel over the seas with, because they have all been destroyed by militias, or used for firewood. The loss of hundreds of years of evolution, to fall right back into a time that we have only read about in history books. Of course, the show itself is a little far-fetched, and it is made by the same guy who was in charge of bringing us Lost, but at the same time it gets me thinking. What if this really happened?

How many times has the end of the world been predicted, down to a specific date, just to go by and not happen? We have another one coming up very soon, in just a couple of weeks, and I doubt that anything will happen. At the same time I feel like many people I know, including myself, have been going through some strange transition phases at the moment, phases that is full of gloom and problems and sadness, that seem to trap you and pull you down like quicksand on a stormy beach right before a hurricane hits. The positive in me says that everything will get better and that we just need to push through the cold and make it back to the warmth again. Then the negative says that it’s never going to get any better so we had better just lie in bed and never get out from under the covers again. The positive is finally winning on the negative though, I find it impossible to stay down for too long, as there is some kind of invisible force from within that shoves me back out into the world and puts a smile on my face. Anyway, how can you help others who have it worse than you when you can’t see past your own troubles?

I’ve always been interested (maybe obsessed is a better word…) in revolution and uprising. Rebellion against what you feel is forced upon you and the idea of making a change for the better. Not that the better always happens, as so many human beings are too selfish and hell bent on gaining power over others in reality, but the idea that it exists makes me happy. I suppose that’s how I have always tried to live my life – by what I think is right. Although I suppose what I think is right may not be what you think is right, and if you were a fundamentally bad person then I would have to get rid of you. Or something along those lines. In any case, I digress. Back to the subject at hand, that of the world as we know it changing in such a way that we have to change our lives completely in order to live in it. What if all of a sudden the lights do go out without any warning, never to come back on again? What would your first reaction be? Disbelief? Straight into survival mode? Would you help others or just focus on your own well-being and safety? It’s impossible to really know until you are actually right there in the situation, but it’s way to interesting a thought to not speculate on how we would all survive. However, I can’t really imagine not being able to contact my family and friends who are far away ever again. That thought is too hard to fathom and too scary to even contemplate. But I do like to think about the rest of it… Where would I go, how would I find my friends, and what would I take with me if I left the city? Do you just leave everything behind and start over somewhere new, a new person in a new world? How would I live without being able to listen to music everyday anymore, or know what was going on elsewhere in the world, or even the next city down? There are so many stories to be written about these types of situations, stories that I should start writing down instead of keeping in my head. Maybe on paper instead of online though, come to think of it… At the very moment that I am writing this our internet decided to go down and won’t come back up again, which I find a little spooky, even if I know it probably has no connection whatsoever. Another thought comes to mind… Do we often imagine these end of the world scenarios just because we want something different but can’t find a way to make a change? Is it really impossible to make changes on a smaller level, instead of waiting for the world to explode (or implode for that matter), to rebuild what we have wanted to change forever? We always talk about remembering events of the past so that they never happen again, how about predicting them so that they never actually happen? Interesting concept, one for another post as it is time to make vegetable stew and mashed potatoes while I still can in the confines of my kitchen within the haven I call home. 

The main question that remains is… If all this really does happen where shall we all meet so that we don’t lose each other? Orchard St? 

Ramblings: Of utopia and dystopia and other random thoughts

In addition to reading a lot of poetry lately, I've also been craving a lot of end-of-the-world, beginning of the next world, paradise is not quite paradise, dystopian-style stories. Utopian thoughts are all cool and everything, but I have a lot of trouble imagining the perfect society where everyone and everything follows some kind of unwritten rules of perfection. Can we really believe that one day every single human who is on this planet will decide to treat everyone else as equals, never hurt anyone else, and never lie, cheat or try to better themselves by oppressing others? No. This is why this is called Utopia. Perfection doesn't exist. We are all flawed and will continue to be flawed. I can live my life treating everyone in the way I would want to be treated myself, but that doesn't mean that everyone else is going to decide to do the same. All of a sudden just because the world as we know it is going to end.
There has been talk of the end of the world coming soon for years now. We missed it in 1999. Last year the Rapture was supposed to happen. It may have, but it went by unnoticed because I suppose that most of us were not worthy of being raptured. Now the end of the world is supposed to be happening again this year. People are really preparing for it (I kid you not, I know someone who is collecting tins of food and making evacuation and survival plans for him and his family). All I could imagine when he was telling me this were scenes from Zombieland. He also told me that I was pretty much fucked because I lived on an island with 8 million other people and it would be pure chaos when it all started. I don't know what "IT all" is in his mind but I'm not getting too overly worried about it right now. All I have been thinking about in terms of survival mode is that I should probably start stocking up on bottles of Jameson and packets of Marlboro Lights, because I am sure they will be worth tons of money once people can't get them easily anymore. That's it, I shall continue to sell liquor to people to make a living in the midst of a world of destruction and despair. Smart, no?

So, this book I am currently reading, America Pacifica by Anna North, is based on the idea that the world was going through the second Ice Age, and that a small group of people (small being proportionate to the size of the world population at the time) were able to escape the ice and the perpetual freezing temperatures by fleeing to an island in the Pacific, and making a new home there. What should have been a new life for this group of people becomes a mini-replica of the US, governed by a dictator. There are those who live as rich and healthy in the nice areas of the island, called Manhattanville, while others struggle to survive in the slums of Little Los Angeles. Proper food is scarce for those who cannot afford it, and they live off fake cheese and jelly fish products. The main character, Darcy, was born on the island, and knows nothing of life beforehand. For her, this is life. But through-out the development of the plot she starts to discover what life was really like before the ice destroyed everything, and she begins to question the set-up of the society that she has always taken for granted. I haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know if it ends in a lighter note than it started in. We will see.

This society could be anywhere really - it's not too far-fetched if you think about it. There will always be those who just live, accepting that this is life, others who will question, and those who will actually stand up and try to make a change. There will always be those who are more well off, and those who have to fight every day to just survive. I just find it really interesting to read fiction that is so near to reality that it could be real. One day in the near future this may be us, stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, wondering if all those people we used to know made it off the mainland, or managed to survive despite all odds. I really want to write an end of the worldesque story right now, but I don't actually know where to start. Maybe with the stockpiling of Jameson and Marlboro Lights...

On a more lighter (and happier note), I finished a compilation of poems written between the early 2000's and last week. If you want to read them you will have to ask me and I will email them. I can't post them on here, they are just too personal and raw. And I lack the confidence to do that. I also got offered a new job, working right next door to my other job. It's pretty much perfect and I'm really really happy about it. More about all that when I have actually started working there. I also bumped into an old friend who I hadn't spoken to in months, sorted out our differences and realised how much I had missed her. This has been a pretty wonderful summer so far, even if the end of the world is (apparently) nigh.

Ramblings: Of zombies, Buffy and weeks that won't go right

I've been quite reflective this week, a little more than the past few weeks anyway, less nostalgic, more reflective on the present and the near future. Last week I suffered from a 7 day headache that just wouldn't go away, and I even had to resort to Advil on one night, which I tend to try to avoid unless I really need it. I know, I know, with the sheer amounts of alcohol I used to consume I shouldn't really be worried how one Advil can effect me, should I? I just never liked taking pills, and still feel the same now. And I also feel like I should stay tough and get through any type of pain without help, because that's what tough-girls-who-don't-need-your-help do. All I really needed was a few days of peacefulness, away from most people, a good book, a few quiet shifts at my theatre/bookstore job, and most importantly, two nights of uninterrupted sleep. I kind of got all of that, so by the time Sunday came around, I was feeling much happier and the weather had also decided to go into full-on summer mode, which always helps to lift my spirits too.

By Tuesday I wasn't feeling as happy anymore. People had partied too much over the weekend and were not going out drinking, which, you know, they should, seeing as this is how I pay my rent, getting people drunk and hoping they will tip me well. Although I must say, those quiet nights sure do bring out the insane. I had to kick one person out on each night I worked this week, just because they decided to start fights with bar regulars. The best part of it was on Tuesday night around 3 am, when I actually raised my voice (very rare occurrence), which shocked every one of the 5 people in the establishment so much that everyone went silent. Maybe I should use this tool more often as a weapon against drunken idiots who pick fights on the basis that "they know more about world politics than us dumb foreigners".
In any case, I decided to take things as they came this week - I kept losing at Chess with Friends, I didn't write a word of legible content, or even have an inspirational writing idea, my little brother has decided to disappear from any form of communication and I felt like everything was going to go awry anyway, so why not just let it run it's course and bear with it? I feel like there were other things that made me a little grumpy work-wise earlier this week, but only because I always tend to feel responsible for everything and then pissed off when it isn't done right. But there are actually much worse things happening in the world, as always, (people eating other people in this country anyone?), so my little irks and complaints really aren't important on the grand scale of things, are they? I mean, I'm still alive, I'm still myself, and I won't be eating someone's face off on a highway ramp anytime soon. (As a side note, don't get all curious about what the cannibal's victim looked like and decide to look at a picture of him. It will give you nightmares, I promise).

Funnily enough, amidst all of this talk of zombie apocalypse and other end of world drama, I have been re-watching season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The season which culminates in what should be a real end of world hell mouth re-opening with the First Evil building an army of ancient vampires to kill all that is good and take over planet earth. Good old evil vampire horror with some great ass-kicking Good against Evil fights (and Spike being all wonderfully endearing with his new soul and all that goes with it). I think I may have scared the dog this morning while practicing my zombie-deterrent high kicks and punches, so it may be more safe for the world if I start training in a more discreet fashion for the time being, by running a few miles a day again. Need to build up that endurance just in case, because you never know what is going to happen. For all I know we could be living on top of a hell mouth that is going to open and spew out thousand of zombie-like vampires.
I still love this TV show as much as I did when it first came out - it could have been so silly, like the original movie, but ended up being super smart and fast-paced, with some excellent characters and also brilliant character development. And I always cry at the end of each season, however many times I have seen them. And some good old world-saving tactics never fail to make me feel happy, especially when it is heavily laden with sarcasm and wit.

So now it's Thursday, and I feel the need to write in here while I am at work at the theatre, listening to Jonathan Pryce's voice as he plays in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, just because I haven't posted anything in here since last Sunday. Promise I will write about something more interesting during my next shift on Saturday...Which reminds me... While I was walking across the street earlier, on my way here, I was hit by a sudden smell of hot concrete and petrol fumes which immediately took me back to my trip to India in 1993. I could see myself stuck in traffic in a rickshaw, hot and sweaty and wondering if we would make it back to the pilgrim center in one piece. I want to go back and experience it all again, but as an adult this time (I just realised right this moment that my mum was the age I am now when we went to India). But I also want to go to Africa and travel around there. I need to go to France (this isn't even an option anymore, I have to go back this year). I must make sure to get all of these trips in before the zombie apocalypse really takes off and travel becomes a difficult undertaking. I don't think fleeing to a desert island is really a viable option due to the fact that there may be smoke monsters and Others lying in wait.

I'm having way too much fun creating all of these survival techniques in my head. There must be a short story in here somewhere. Which reminds me... I need to write a story about my ex-CIA/MI-5 cab driver who picked me up on Wednesday night. Fascinating (even if it was all a figment of his own imagination).