A decade is a decent whack of time. Was the term narcissist being bandied around ten years ago? It certainly is nowadays. Every second person, and their fancy hybrid dog, seems to tick all the boxes to qualify for a clinical diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
And is it any wonder why?
The modern world is dominated by laissez-faire capitalism, and the human race is getting bigger and more competitive. An equal share of the pie is rapidly shrinking by a simple law of mathematics.
To get ahead, to get a larger slice, one must run harder and faster with utmost confidence and the ability to lie and obfuscate and step on others to jostle one’s self into a position of above average comfort. No self respecting member of the modern world would be content with average, so the story goes.
It’s all about me. It’s peak individualism. Me, me, me…
Thus the preponderance of the narcissist. And of every second person who is not a narcissist, most of them are classic enablers. They chide those few of us still left who possess a more collective vision of the how the world could be, as envious perpetrators of tall poppy syndrome.
Once, the most powerful person in the world was a narcissist. And some of his most hard-core supporters were the poor and downtrodden. His ability and audacity to bold face lie was somehow ignored or excused by millions of voters. Meanwhile, there was a consensus amongst astute observers that the number one leader of the so-called free world was not only a narcissist, but a malignant one. A malignancy verging on psychopathy.
He is gone now, or is he? Is he in the wings – waiting, plotting, conspiring with his enablers to return with vengeance? Or has his toxic influence polluted the zeitgeist sufficiently that the era of unfettered individualism is destined to burn for another decade or two?
In the west, individualism is somehow equated with freedom and democracy. Western commentators like to point out how the rest of the world, the nations where perhaps a more collective world view is valued and legislated, is a world of human rights abuses and deprivation of freedom run by evil dictators. This grandiose propaganda is ubiquitous in western media. And the fear it instils in the ordinary punter has us voting in right wing governments time and time again, despite the immense weight of evidence showing the greed and corruption that pervades the so called born-to-rule class of society.
In Australia, the popularised notion of ‘having a go’ has led to, among other injustices, a severe housing affordability issue. The insane current boom in real estate prices is dividing us further into a society of haves and have-nots. In the race to get ahead, the basic human need for shelter has become a pawn in the cruel game of private wealth creation. It seems that the initial hopes that the pandemic might cause a reset from rampant individualism to a more compassionate collectivism have vanished.
Will a bursting of the property bubble succeed where the pandemic failed? Will it be soon, or perhaps in a decade?
We watch and wait.
I’m in the middle of a bureaucratic goose chase with a government department. It’s hair pulling out stuff. I have supplied said department with the exact same information through five different channels and still, somehow, the situation has not been resolved to the bureaucracy’s satisfaction. It’s a hungry machine, devoid of empathy. It’s a Tower of Babel!
I’m not surprised that people vote for politicians who tout less regulation and smaller governments – private enterprise and the free market are the solution for a smoother ride – NOT!
I say this because I also find myself on an insane merry-go-round ride with my telecommunications/energy provider. Ironically, a government website helped me to find this particular provider! We’ve all heard how you have to shop around to get the best deal.
Saying that, have you shopped around to find a better bank deal? I mean you’d have to be a fool to be paying the fees you are currently paying. Get on the phone and barter with your bank. And if they don’t come to the party, just change your bank. Easy peasy, get online, get on the phone and change everything.
Currently, I’m trying to get out of my community bank, yes one that’s not even for profit. I have one share and two accounts with this credit union. Their online banking service often goes down. Once, I had to download a whole new web browser to access my accounts. My regular browser was no longer compatible! And now, as I try to escape, I have to contact all these government departments and private enterprises, including my telecommunications/energy provider who has a ‘bundle’ of my services, and also my numerous employers [if you can call the businesses who hand out gigs through apps on mobiles, employers], including one which doesn’t respond to emails and doesn’t even have a phone number. Yeah, change your bank, it’s easy – NOT!
The other day on the phone after listening to menu after menu of options that didn’t fit my situation, I finally pressed # and spoke to an operator. Feeling like I had made some serious progress, I felt I had no choice but to accept their request, “Can you please hold?” Then, while listening to an endless thirty second loop of infuriating muzak, I realised that the navigation of hostile worlds requires a team of experts. I emailed NASA and asked, “Now that you have successfully landed Perseverance on Mars, do you have some spare time to assist me with some wicked problems I have encountered here on Earth?”
Somehow we both knew it as Calacoci’s milk bar. It’s a Starbucks now, typical. Nothing stays the same – probably just as well.
Three o’clock for a coffee and if it works out maybe a drink and … dinner? The drink and dinner part wasn’t talked about between us, but it’s sort of implied. At least I think it is – standard internet dating protocols. Coffee for starters in a very public place, then, take it from there.
Seven miles from the city, a thousand miles from care. Get off at the wharf and if you’re lucky, Dad, especially if he and Mum are treating themselves to a Javana Sling, will shout us kids a milk shake at Burt’s. Cold as, in those tall aluminium cups. I remember feeling all grown up when I had grown tall enough to be able to peer over the ruby red laminex counter top and see into the stainless steel milk tub. Always a mystery before that. Where are they dipping those ladles to get the icy cold milk from? I would wonder, but never ask. Might get a clip over the ear if you were too curious, asking too many questions.
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It’s raining. I closed the van door and took my beach towel off the line. People will be coming later but if the ABC weather guy is right, all will be well.
We used to talk about the weather, now it’s about climate.
We used to talk about holidays, now we talk about a virus.
We used to wonder about what we could do for the world, now we wonder what the world will do to us.
Christmas is still a time of giving, or is it?
I’ll walk down to the service station later and get some ice for the esky. Remember when nothing, except hotel dining rooms for bona fide travellers, was open on Christmas Day? Remember bona fide travellers?
I have family and friends in the upper Northern beaches lockdown zone. They won’t be coming to my place as planned. We are planning now for a January Christmas, that is if Linda can get back from Queensland after Jetstar cancelled all flights from Dec 26 to Jan 8. The Avalon cluster has crossed the border from NSW into Qld, so who knows what might happen?
We used to plan for the future. Now we take it as it comes. We never stop learning, hopefully.
Some of us have had an absolutely terrible 2020. Some of us have barely noticed a difference. The notion we are all in this together has been proven to be a bona fide lie.
The spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving, is the spirit of humanity. It doesn’t matter what day of the year, it matters every day.
It’s a Christian thing. Morphed and assimilated, personalised and commercialised. Seasonally appreciated, proportional to your latitude north or south. Food, a focus. Family, a necessity. Gifts, optional. Giving, the whole point.
And as we near the end of a year which has marked us all in one way and a thousand, good and bad, predictable and crazily unbelievable, we dream of what can be in 2021. Lest we forget.
Journalist: What are your thoughts on X?
Politician: Well let me say this, X is an important issue and I think there needs to be debate about it.
Journo: But what are your thoughts, are you for X or against it?
Polly: It is a complex issue and we take this matter seriously, and that is why I encourage the whole of the nation to engage and to participate in the dialogue.
Journo: How about starting the dialogue now and stating your beliefs on this matter.
Polly: OK, well we here in government…
Journo: Hang on, the government has been kicking X down the road for the last seven years, what is your position on the matter?
Polly: My position is the government’s position.
Journo: But your government doesn’t have a position.
Polly: Yes we do, we are actively engaged in our communities and having that dialogue.
Journo: But that’s not a position.
Polly: Well in a democracy all voices need to be heard.
Journo: But the public opinion on this matter has been known for years, an overwhelming majority of the population support X.
Polly: Our party has a long tradition of not reacting to the whims of whatever is popular as drummed up by the spurious polls conducted by the media for mere sensationalism. We have principles, we are not a populist party.
Journo: In terms of principles, where do you stand on the matter of X?
Polly: Look, in principle we support the concept of X, but the cost of X to taxpayers is something that needs to be taken into account in any dialogue on this matter.
Journo: So principles are overridden by economics.
Polly: I didn’t say that.
Journo: Didn’t you? What did you say then?
Polly: Look, I have answered your questions and there are others here…, next?
Monday 9th November 2020
How nice was it to be a part of the collective human sigh of relief that took place yesterday?
Friday 6th November 2020, 4:25am
Too close to call.
While the world waits, for who will get the 270 electoral college votes needed to be President, life goes on and the media needs to report stuff. Stuff for us to consume. We hunger for it. It’s nibblies at the moment while we wait for the result of this “unprecedented” and “most important election of all time” [Journo speak]. The main meal is coming.
There is a lot of wondering. Wondering if the incumbent will leave the White House even if he loses fair and square as decided by the courts. Wondering if he will sign pardons for himself and others between now and January 2021. Wondering what the hell is in store for the US and the world in 2021. Wondering even if the democrat candidate takes the seat, how on earth does America overcome the ugly red blue polarisation that looks neatly geographical on the election outcome maps shown on TV, but as we know, is actually an untidy divide that exists between people who live on the same streets and even in the same families? It’s not geopolitical, it’s personal. The ununited states.
Is the main meal civil war?
Monday 5th October, 2020
5.23am AEDT (formerly 4.23am AEST)
It’s a public holiday, Labour Day. It’s spring, it’s the second day of daylight saving. Here I sit, wondering how my writing routine is going to react to this arbitrary changing of clocks.
The clock on the fridge still displays non-daylight saving time, ie, one hour earlier than what all our mobile phones and computers are saying. They automatically adjust, algorithms. The clock on the fridge requires the pressing of two buttons simultaneously, thus it stays, for the moment, on the ‘old time’. My watch, which requires several button presses in a unique combination I always forget, was never changed when daylight saving finished back in April, last Autumn. Now it reads the correct time again. See how slack I am?
What is the real time? Let’s just say very early morning, the dark variety. Writing time.
Labour Day? A public holiday to commemorate the achievements of the Union movement? A day to remember the sacrifices of workers? I’m not sure. I could Google it, but I don’t like internetting early in the morning. It takes me away from writing and before I know it, it is not early morning anymore and I have become distracted and agitated from reading the opinions of the world. I lose my creative writing mojo.
Mojo? Sitting next to me on a stool is a big Australian English dictionary. I look up ‘mojo’. It is colloquial for life force. It is also a word from ‘US Black English’ for a magic charm, amulet. I think of Black America, and I wonder if the POTUS has died overnight from COVID-19. I could look it up on the internet, but refrain. I want to write.
Specifically, I want to write my next book, which stupidly I have somehow got into my head, should be a novel. Stupidly, I say, because I now have this massive thing swirling around in my head, let’s call it, ‘my yet to be written novel’. It’s massive and morphing. I have made several starts, none have been sufficiently captivating to captivate me sufficiently. And so this thing, ‘my yet to be written novel’, loiters in my head and stirs up those monkey voices that tell me I am not capable of writing a novel and not sufficiently hard working or disciplined for the task.
Novel? ‘A fictitious prose narrative of considerable length’, (Dictionary on stool, 2020). See what I do in my allocated time for writing my next book? Stuff like this. Slack, eh?
It’s OK. I like to think that I don’t have unrealistic expectations of others and I try to apply the same to my self. Dropping the word ‘should‘ from the self talk vocabulary is a good start. Of course I’m going to struggle to get a novel underway. Of course I will struggle with keeping up the enthusiasm needed to pump out 50,000 plus words (considerable length). Of course I will question at every step of writing a novel whether this ‘thing’ is of any worth, and worst of all, if I am of any worth. It’s OK, I’m getting better at shutting out the monkey voices.
The beginning of daylight saving, though occurring in spring, is in many ways the start of summer. I’m grateful I don’t have to do physical labour in summer. Especially since summer is of considerable length – and lengthening. I’m grateful for being able to write, and for the moments of mojo experienced as I struggle with my next book (novel?), in the dark, now twilight, of early morning.