Posts Tagged ‘alienation’

Cycling through Four Exfoliations

January 8, 2021


soundtrack
(dedicated to all bike mechanics everywhere and at all times)

ex·fo·li·ate v.tr.
to remove or shed (a layer of skin or bark)

So far in my life, as of the writing of this short story, I have completely exfoliated four times by riding a bicycle long distances.

The skin or bark that I shed each time and with each push of the pedals, was the hardened, calloused, persona that formed as I lived through the smoggiest and most acid-rained-on parts of my life. And like a snake or caterpillar, the result is a fresh perception with which to build on. A shiny new outlook and worldview. A new skin (or bark).

Exfoliation 1. Steel City Puberty

The first life-saving exfoliation took place when I hit puberty at 12. After spending 6 years alone and friendless in a sprawled out subdivision isolated from people or interesting activities, I was finally allowed to bike far enough to get myself friends when I turned twelve! The two best friends that I made in the first year of bike freedom lived 6 km and 10 km away.

Most kids didn’t bike very much in Steel City. The TV was there for them, I guess. TV stopped working for me at eight.

I pedaled as carefully as a pre-teen can. As my hardened, alienated skin peeled off, I had to really watch out for cars and trucks as our subdivision was located right next to a busy highway interchange. I still can’t believe I survived all the almost-collisions and near-misses. But I did.

I was a new fruit in town with… FRIENDS!

Exfoliation 2. Back to Steel City

Leaving Steel City for a few years to study abroad, I returned broke and feeling like a failure, finding myself back at the house that I biked away from so many times. Unloved and with no real reason to be there, and carrying all the existential angst of a young adult who can’t seem to grow up and leave home… I was able to steal away almost every nice evening, and do a 16 km loop around Oily Lake.

Narrowly avoiding being hit by impatient truckers and fast-moving suburbanites, I was able to do this loop often enough to make a plan to get a job, save money, and get away again. If I hadn’t biked reguarly during this period, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

And with the terrible bike infrastructure and total absence of bike culture in Steel City, I could have disappeared under a vehicle’s wheels during this period. But I didn’t. Perhaps the danger of almost being killed every ride made me appreciate being alive more. Gave me enough appreciation for life that I got focussed.

I was an organized fruit now, with PLANS!

Exfoliation 3. Post-Steel City Stress Disorder

A few years after relocating to a big city where I knew no one and nothing, I started to experience the aching crisis of panic attacks – a daily horror of heart-attack-like sensations, insomnia, and the budding of social neuroses.

Doctors and Psychologists try to help with words, therapies, advice, and a few happy pills. But none of it really works. There is a deep malaise in my head and these cures just don’t seem to be on the same scale as the terror behind the attacks.

But I find a way to control them in the evenings. Bike rides. Long, four-hour bike rides through parks, along canals, and up mountains. Though the panic still lingers, I am finally able to sleep well. And this leads to a cascading of positive improvements that leads to the disappearance of panic attacks within four years.

I was a more cautious fruit now with… SELF ESTEEM!

Exfoliation 4. Collapse of Capitalism

When I was in my middle ages, the stock market crashed for the fourth time in my life. I was in Spain at the time on vacation, and had to return immediately on the first plane because of what media was calling an “epidemic.”

Arriving in my city apartment, everything had been rebranded as diseased. And because of this, our ability to move around, work at your job, or see friends were all limited in order to save lives. Sit still in a house and save lives.

I always suspect things, and I suspected throughout the pandemic that the real reason for the repressive and anti-social measures wasn’t to save lives through distancing, but rather to save capitalism through lies. It wouldn’t be the first time. Our country was built on the lies of capitalism after all. Less informed people don’t know this about Steel City’s history, and so they are happier than me all the time. Blissful while wearing surgical masks in their SUVs.

Nonetheless, I went along with the repressive measures, giving my government a chance to prove its case. Or, eventually, to reveal that it had lied for some reason other than to steal from people to keep the financial parasite class well-lubed with everyone’s stolen cash. “Perhaps there is more to this,” I said to myself as I put oil on my bike chain, “Whether it’s real or fake, any crisis can be softened up a bit with aerobics and calcifediol.”

So, I biked long-distance almost every day, worked at physically taxing jobs, and didn’t experience the weight gain and profound existential misery that many of my friends did, and that I could have as well. I actually kept my morale up and my body in great health.

I wonder what kind of skin (or bark) I’ll shed when this is finally over. Maybe it’s everyone’s skin that’s at stake this time.

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)

click for fruit

The Turtle Gang

January 7, 2015

Fake History turtle

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Probably the scariest gang in Lostra City, the Turtle Gang – also know as la Bande de tortues –  was organized in a way that defied any kind of hierarchy or chain of command. Instead, members could simply ask another member to help them, and the other turtle would help. Nobody refused to assist or obey another turtle on the basis of authority or class. It was set up like a cooperative, but with an incredible unity of purpose and a total lack of the kind of divas with exaggerated senses of self importance that can bring down any kind of cooperative project.

Active in things like children’s sports programs and community education, laBande started to get involved in motorized-vehicle attacks the same year that it was noted in the Turtle Voice that over a thousand turtles had been killed by cars and other motorized vehicles in a 12-month period.

The first year of the Tortofada, a thousand random cars (and their drivers) were destroyed by turtles- exactly the same number of turtles that had been killed by cars (and their drivers) the year before. One of laBande’s many spokesmen – Trina Callabaster – told a TV news anchor that her friends were just trying to raise awareness of the callous way that vehicles continue to kill smaller species.

“We never wanted to find ourselves at war with the car. But car operators crush us with their gadgets, and just leave us to die on the sides of their asphalt roads. Every turtle left to bleed to death on the roadside with a broken shell… is an attack on turtlehood – on the very existence of the turtle species.  And the gravel that is often found on the shoulders of the road is perfect for hatching turtle eggs and raising babies, so many newborn turtles watch as their own mothers are destroyed in front of them.”

I love turtles

Humans loved cars more than they loved humans. After the attacks were publicized in human media, the human elites (car dealers, arms dealers, oil dealers, and corrupt banks) went on red alert. Dow and Monsanto shifted billions of government research money into the development of environmental poisons and poisoned foods that would render turtles brain-damaged and physically immobile. The pentagon bought a trillion dollars worth of turtle den busters, a type of experimental chemical and biological bomb that worked especially well on reptiles and amphibians. The major networks began hosting talk shows with themes like “Do we need to kill all turtles in order to have peace?” and “Why do turtles hate progress?”

The imagineers of Hollywood produced over 150 turtle terror movies in just three years, with five of them winning Academy Awards for either best picture or best special effects (a vintage turtle in a microwave sequence won big time last year).

When a turtle carrying an uzi was named Time magazine’s Creature of the Year, the largest human government on the planet vowed to eradicate all the bad turtles using a combination of public awareness campaigns and environmental vandalism. Their plan almost worked until, ten years into it, billions of humans developed side effect illnesses from all Monsanto’s environmental poisons and these new diseases wiped out a quarter of humanity. The turtles of laBande rejoiced and regrouped.

Click for fake history

The Qaturday Audience

November 8, 2011

Who is it, and what does it want?

__________________________________________________________

Das Qaturday Audience

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The Qaturday Audience needs distraction to mask the everyday moral repulsion that is a permanent feature of modern society with all its hateful technologies and social rules.

Qaturday provides an outlet – a third place – for the audience’s awkward sense of not living a dignified natural existence. It provides the robotic social-climber with an instant nature fix, without demanding that he alter his modern behavior in any way that might actually help other animals (and his own species) to survive with dignity. In this way, Qaturday is like binge eating to forget about a weight problem and cholesterol: it’s only therapeutic insofar as denial is.

The Qaturday audience is lonely and lost, and finds solace in the monotonous voice of mass media, in the zany meaninglessness of Qaturday images, and in the static helplessness and cuteness found in each pic. Helplessness is an accelerant for feline cuteness so elation comes quickly  in a rush of empowerment.

Helplessness is something humans like to project onto their domestic animals. They enslave their pets, thus rendering them helpless in order to get maximum cuteness and maximum thrills out of them. Pethood is about human thrill-seeking and not interspecies coexistence. Pet owners project their own helplessness onto their housepets by forcing these captured beasts to live vicariously for their masters’ pleasure.

Tragically, human societies are organized on the pet model as well. Pethood is the miserable state of most humans of all classes, and that’s why a little role-reversal at the end of the day feels soothing – harmless revenge on a creature that God probably intended for humans to torture anyways.

There’s never enough time for the complexities of philosophy or of thoughtful education among the Qaturday Audience. The  zero-attention-span of the 9-5 caffeinated workaday requires some kind of distraction from real life/non-fiction. So the time-starved cubicle-bot seeks out Qaturdays that provide cuteness, zaniness, and an adequate dose of irony to conceal the incompatibility of the juxtaposed images. And all of it instantly and with the illusion of thought behind it.

These cats don’t know what they’re saying to the Qaturday Audience. Much like their homo sapien audience, these cats have been programmed to have “opinions” that have nothing to do with the actual needs or instincts of the featured cat models. The Qaturday Audience recognizes itself here, but only on a sub-conscious level. On a conscious level, the Audience is completely unaware of anything except its fabricated “need” for entertainment and cuteness.

And it is in this artificially implanted “need” that Feline Cuteness Hegemony finds a willing host to set up a base from which to conquer your independent thought.

__________________

The Qaturday Mail Bag:

Q: Isn’t caturday just pix of cats with funny words added by human beings?

A: This is like asking if Las Vegas is a city where you can play cards. Yes – but it’s much, much more.

Q: What if the words in the caturday aren’t even funny?

 A: There is an important paradigmatic difference between serious caturdays, and unfunny ones. The unfunny ones are often unserious as well.

Q: What is Qaturday?

A: Qaturday is the re-fusion of humanity and its animal nature. Post-civilization.

Q: What does Qaturday demand of the audience?

A: It demands that its audience get away from its texts and its fake history and return to nature, to instincts, and to letting the environment decide things rather than trying to change the environment.

>”<

click for more das qaturday

O Quarante

March 10, 2009

le O-40 2

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Hot liquids melt his fur into skin as Rusty eases into the swirling water of the massive jacuzzi. His small, pert backside brushes a water jet that parts the fine white hairs between his cheeks.

He thinks silently to himself as a cloud of artificial fog comes out of one of the disco boxes near the bar:

Someone ought to throw some ice in there once in a while so the mist doesn’t burn your flesh.

Rusty closes his eyes and fantasizes about being the quirky and high strung spokesmodel for Le O Quarante.

“Is there any better way to temporarily forget the decline of our species and the gray misery outside than with a quick fix of steam and flesh at le O Quarante health club and slushee bar?”

This mix of chlorine, the other patrons’ cologne and the pot he voluntarily ingested before the sauna are mixing together to make Rusty feel dizzy and unfocused. Which is exactly what he needs.

Am I stoned? Of course, I’m stoned!  Why wouldn’t I be. Sitting here in this sauna wasted and breathing in chlorinated mist and soap products. After all, I’m a polar bear. What have I go to look forward to? Extinction?

After working in an office all day, role-playing comes easy. But now comes the hard part for after-work Rusty – relaxing. How to relax your polar bear muscles when the fate of the entire world seems to hang on every adjective of every sentence of every conversation. ‘You snooze, you lose,’ is why he drinks so many espressos.

Visualizing Antarctic penguins, he spreads his toes and concentrates on unwinding the nerve endings in his chest and upper thighs as he exhales slowly, like a Buddhist monk creaming his smock.

Rusty’s mind changes gears suddenly:

Hey, isn’t that a grizzly wading into the pool? What the…

I have a major soft spot  – I don’t know why it’s called soft – for bears from other lands. I remember I heard some smart bears at college say something about how this was my way of avoiding intimacy.

But is that really why I chase after gorgeous and healthy brown bears? I mean, I really love being intimate with bears from other lands. If I wanted to avoid intimacy, wouldn’t I stay home instead of seeking this kind of intimacy?

The grizzly emerges from the cold water of the pool and walks right over to the jacuzzi where Rusty is now trying to relax. One of his muscles gets really tense as the small but well-built brown bear submerges his lower abdomen in the chlorinated cauldron and breaks the sauna code of silence.

“Hey, do you know what time this place closes?”

Aaah, a country bear.

Rusty will be sleeping well in a few hours.

Why People Buy Luxury Brands

March 7, 2009

video

lux flood

At some point in your adult life, you realize you’ve sacrificed most of your personality in the name of economic considerations whether these considerations are real or constructed – biological or status-seeking.

It’s at this point in your lifestyle-and-career that you begin to need inanimate objects that seem to have a personality – just the thing you lost over the course of your Consumerist “life.”

So I posit that the “need” for BMW, Prada, Disney, Iphone and Haagen Dazz is created by people who’ve lost their souls to Consumerism, and are aggressively trying to buy it back.

Sadly, I’ve never seen this strategy succeed in replacing the real personality that a consumer drone lost in himself. You can’t buy back a lost soul. You can only stop being distracted by snake-oil salesmen mythology and wait patiently as it (hopefully) grows back.

For many people, luxury items like cars and mansions are a “need” that they have, though it can’t really be logically demonstrated how the possession of these objects really helps improve their lives. Most owners of automobiles – for example – spend a quarter of their waking lives driving, parking, or paying for their life-improving object.

Hard to believe humanity is willing to sacrifice most of its free time in order to buy the “luxury” of spending time listening to CDs in traffic. It may be true that leather is more “luxurious” than cloth upholstery, but it’s also true that free time is far more important to anyone’s happiness than leather upholstery.

All of this identity-seeking-via-products is constructed via marketing and branding. These products have little to do with relieving any craving that people just naturally have. Cavemen didn’t sit around pining for the day they could tear around corners at 120 kmh in Corinthian leather. They were just happy being able to eat food, hang out, and live out of water.

Of course, some would say we’re so much more sophisticated now because of our sudden attraction to brands and machine pedigree. Others might ask, “Why do we have to leave our homes because of the floods?”

:: Capital, Volume One
:: Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
:: A lively PoFo discussion on this essay

thanks for bumper cars


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