Appetite for Distraction – Another Day.


He wakes up. It is early. It is mild. He is mild. He gets into the shower and he turns all taps to the correct temperature immediately. It is going to be a good day. He has a coffee and he eats a slice of pie and even though his car is now dead again and he still doesn’t have a driving license his life could be a lot worse and he thinks this is probably what love does it probably makes those things that were monstrous and awful that much more manageable at least for a time until love fades unless it grows and enrichens like a fine whiskey or expensive mouldy cheese. Then he reads about the way white people have tried to destroy black people in America and then he reads about someone who is developing a warp drive space ship for NASA. The Alcubierre Drive looks exciting but it may just be a case of NASA again desperately trying to get funding because everyone keeps ignoring them and forgetting how sexy and exciting space travel is so they trawl their memories of childhood science fiction stories for hooks that will snare the goldfish brained media. He learns about alien planets and birth control and listens to Birdland and the myth or reality that Russel Crowe is a fan of knitting the theft of lots of passwords and the chasm dividing girls toys and boys toys and the movies of 2013 none of which he has seen he does not watch them any more even though he used to love them he finds them empty and unsatisfying and they bring him no respite of relief or delight and they are all artifice and all surface and dripping in money. Then he eats his lunch which is chili and corn bread. Then he spends the afternoon planning and then the death of Nelson Mandela is announced and everything changes and he is moved and he has a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes as Jacob Zuma gets to read the announcement and bask in the golden glow and then the newsroom is a hive of activity and pictures are gathered and obituaries are broadcast and thoughts are requested and slowly the internet unfolds itself ever fast like a great tidal tongue licking and slaking it’s thirst on the information and everyone has a personal thought and a connection and then within a very short amount of time it is not about Nelson Mandela it is about politics and it is about famous people who met him and it is about who can post the most profound quote or the most interesting photograph or the most unusual interview and the icon is trundled over until it is time to watch the performance of A Sound of Music live on NBC the first live musical performance on American television for 50 years and it goes very well and everyone gives it a college try and makes a valiant effort and then people start using Mandela for their own purposes, to defame others, to question others, to prop up their own positions and it has not even been but three hours since his death was announced by the compression of time on the internet allows information to have the life cycle of a fly at the speed of a humming bird and there is no time for quiet reflection or meditation or why Russel Crowe was allowed to sing in Les Miserables or why Pierce Brosnan was allowed to sing in Mamma Mia or why Sean Connery was allowed to sing in D’arby O’Gill and The Little People and that Stephen Moyers is not that bad after all and as the hagiographies are corralled on the networks and the genuflections are given no one discusses the CIA involvement in Mandela’s capture or Mandela’s time as a supporter of violent resistance because then he would be in Guantanamo serving out a sentence without trial or hope of release and that would not be a good example for anyone to set. So Mandiba dies and he joins the pantheon of Ghandi of Lennon of Theresa of King of Russell of Sagan of Zinn of Addams of Coldicott and then the sweep of history continues on ever on and new trinkets are glanced at and new diversions and focused on and on the bus a lady hears of the death of Mandela and says who and her friend repeats the name and she says who again and then the name is repeated and the lady says who he he don’t pay my bills and then finally she finds somewhere in her memory the recollection of who Nelson Mandela is and she says a final time I hate to sound cruel but like I say he don’t pay my bills and this is true and he doesn’t pay her bills and whoever does is who is important to her and she leaves the bus now knowing who Nelson Mandela is and that he is dead but his life and his death have had little impact on her life because she has greater concerns the concerns of staying alive and paying her bills and feeding herself and her family and the heaviness of sentimentality for someone she has never met is not something she has the luxury of infusing her body with of considering of musing on as she carries on through the day after day after day living and dreaming and hoping for a better life for herself a life which does not touch the death of a man who don’t pay her bills. He considers this truth as he falls asleep and wonders what he can make of it. No one will dare to say what this woman said in the press or on the television. Everyone will emphasis the historical moment the storied history the game changing event and then they will all play candy crush in the commercial break and congratulate themselves on their book deals. He falls asleep to these conflicted confusing thoughts.

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