Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What is Happening to People?

Taken from my notebook, dated 14th January 2013

Walking along the beach, for lack of a better, my brother imposed an SMS debate on me as to the colour of General Douglas MacArthur's liver. We agreed that he was, in my brother's words, a 'real bell end,' and then - I forget the segue - my brother quoted a line from HBO's 'Rome;' "What a dreadful noise plebs make when they're happy.'

Then I started paying attention to the people around me. My tranquil repose, basking in the beauty of the beach and the crisp sea air, views of landscape and beach bodies...all of this ended rather pleasantly as my mind re-engaged. Hey, I'm used to it by now, it's a relentless thing, but it's the only one I've got. Being glad to see it switch on was a most agreeable occurence. I must try to capture this lightning in a bottle more often.

Plebs are supposed to be noisy when they're happy. And yet it was all quiet out here, at one of the most expensive and coveted beach camp sites in the country. Filled to capacity with tired, shuffling campers. Even the children were subdued, the teenagers sullen. Oh, all the behaviours one would look for, whenever one has occasion to assess the health of a teenager, were still there. Those with bodies and $120 boardshorts and/or bikinis flaunted, even as they snarled behind clouded eyes and sneering lips. They snarled at everything, but even the snarl didn't have teeth. Only one of over a dozen even bothered to be vain, as I saw her gaze flitting everywhere to see who was perving on her. That was the most animated thing I saw anyone being all day.

I felt like bounding urgently to them, and shaking them...especially the one girl who still looked somewhat alive. Asked her 'What are you doing, here?' Then I realised that no matter when, or where I crossed her path, whatever the circumstances, the same question would occur to me. The same answer would meet it: a disaffected, post-twitter/instagram/i-Phone/entitlement shrug of bare, white shoulders and of dark eyes. Eyes that would have been beautiful but for their sullen, defiant emptiness.

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