|Self-Indulgent Essay 2: Electric Boogaloo
||[May. 2nd, 2005|06:17 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod
|||||Kronos Quartet-Pandit Pran Nath / Aba kee tay||]|
I walked along the border between privilege and insanity again. Where I am not welcomed, where I am shunned and leered at for my wealth and skin. Where I gawk and stutter at the alien landscape my pearly white hands dare not get too close to, lest it snap back at them. I am surprised by poverty, like the pampered son of royalty. Who am I to traverse this territory? Bestriding the lands I have no deed to, like a benevolent prince who dares to gaze at those poor commoners who work his clanking war-machines and become the gears within his stygian factories. No prince, though, more like a usurper overseeing his spoils. Who am I to judge the world wrought as payment for my luxury? Descending from my cloud to breach the cavern that lies beneath paradise. Intruder is the only appellation for a figure like this; that is all I am. Even I can't stand it sometimes, but I keep returning because I'm a fool, and prideful, and guilty, and self-loathing, and "I just have to see".
There was a women today. She shuffled around the front of an old bank, lost in the fog spewed forth courtesy of her addiction. The structure behind her was great and beautiful, a gravestone to lost opulence. A legacy of the hierarchy that brought this women to where she was now. An alley ran along the side of the bank, overgrown with foliage. A man hurried out of the lane, as she tottered about, she still forcing her ample proportions back into her too-tight clothes. There were old seals lining the top of the bank's boxy frame that I fell into studying when I should have been concerned with walking. The sidewalks near the bank were broken and jagged, in my distraction I misstepped and kicked one of the pieces of glass that pave the earth here. Noise resonated in the canyon of row-homes. She noticed me and beckoned for my company, touching herself in way that was seductive in her mind; palsied limps moving awkwardly over her body. She uncurled her lips into a smile that bared her shattered teeth. Her eyes were as hollow as the collapsing vault that stood as the backdrop to her madness. I kept walking, and she slowly dissolved back into the refuse littered growth that ran along the side of the old repository.
She was once a little girl, somewhere, sometime. She had had a father, a mother, and someone that had cared for her, once. To what degree they influenced her, I can't say, but they must have been someone to raise her. One, two, all of these things fell away, if they ever truly existed in her life, leaving just the shell she was now. There must have been a child there once. When was the innocence stolen? When did the circumstances she was ensconced in desiccate all of the spirit and sanity to which she had clung? When had the twin specters absolute poverty and neglect rape her consciousness, and had they taken it long before she had ever been touched by a man? When did a drug steal her life from her, leave her a gibbering automaton, wandering the streets? In a matter of time, someone would steal whatever spark was left within her, then she would glide into the darkness after light. It will be a release from where she is now.
Or was I wrong? Again, the rich prince bravely lowering himself to cast pity on those below him. Sickening; even the people here hate me for transgressing. And I'm just passing more judgments; it seems that is the constant product of these blighted sojourns. I forget the people who live and build their communities here, I get preoccupied with the wicked. I tell myself that I just don't want to forget it, like most choose to do. But, I have the luxury to leave whenever I want, to say, "Enough!", and flee back to my castle. Cowardice is all that I bare. Maybe one time I'll bite it out there, and that would show me who's boss.
I know they would never kill one of us, not unless they were mad enough to bring the hammer of god down on their lost province. 10 people were shot over the last weekend alone, but in a century, they had never killed one of us. The wealthy, they were more untouchable than the police. The outrage over a slain plutocrat would resonate across the state, there would be marshall law in whatever little neighborhood was foolish enough to touch the higher castes. They killed five of their own yesterday alone. It didn't even make the front page. Cowardice.
It started to rain, and I turned back home, back to the fortress.