Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Watch out! This post uses the word "Labia"

I went home to visit my family this weekend. I spent two days on the farm; it’s always so quiet, sometime boring. So I boarded a bus to crawl back through the slush to Toronto. I pulled out a copy of the book Ishmael that my girlfriend gave to my little bro at Christmas and started to read and we bumped and slid our way south. I very quickly was engrossed and kind of knew that something big was coming.

So as I flipped thought the pages shivering in the cold I read about a talking Gorilla named Ishmael and his thoughts on captivity. What is the nature of captivity? do we even know that we’re held captive? The Gorilla’s argument is that we’re so blind that we do not see the bars of our cage. That we don’t understand the prison we are making for our self out of this planet because we refuse to live in harmony with it but rather exploit it as merely a life support system for humans. Very interesting.

As we crept towards the city the scenery progressively changed from more rural to suburban. We moved through grassy fields and frozen marshes towards parking lots and video stores. A teenage girl sat in the seat in front of me and chattered incessantly on her cell phone. Rumors, nicknames, derogatory slurs about friends or actions at a party. We continued on. We came upon big box stores and bus shelters; it was becoming steadily more urban as we crossed through the satellite communities of Toronto. Now the Gorilla was questioning our creation theory and if the world was truly made for us.

The annoying teenage girl was replaced a few stops later buy a man in his mid twenties. I could not tell if he was drunk or mentally disabled, because he rolled his head around in circles as he held a porno mag wrapped in a newspaper inches from his face. I started to wonder about the prison as I felt the awkward embarrassment of public labia spreading to my left in the form of a young mother and child, and the guilt of being amused by the whole thing, by the elderly ladies behind me.

We were now at the end of the line. I hopped from the bus and quickly descended to the subway. On the subway I kept reading. The Gorilla was critical of man’s assumption that we need to conquer earth and manipulate nature. As soon as that happens classes are formed, people horde or are deprived of resources. It becomes not only about conquering nature but conquering your fellow man.

I rose from my seat, curled the book into my pocket and climbed the slick and slushy stairs to the street level. When I looked up I couldn’t believe my eyes. As if nothing has ever been more apparent in my life, chaos, people climbing all over each other, jumping queues, yelling and running. On the walk home I passed homeless men stumbling and fighting over cigarette butts. I saw a woman, cross-legged on the wet pavement wailing hopelessly for change. I saw building upon building, a car upon car, reaching higher or stretching further away from compassion for humans or the world around them. I questioned my own behavior as horns blared, and reflected on the choices I’ve made as I stepped over used condoms and hypodermic needles. What a shock, I was always aware of gluttony or consumerism, but I was really feeling it accost me now.

Perhaps the thing I’m most excited about is the talking Gorilla.


At 8:18 PM, Blogger kristin said...

your gf told me about that book back in dec --- now i reaaaally want to read it!


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