Saturday, 11 December 2010

Choices, choices...


Choices, choices...

Life is all about choices. It has been pointed out to me that talking about needing to move into a squat as being ‘good fortune’ may not, in fact, be very sensitive to those for whom it is not. In fact, one of my housemates found my first post to be so offensive that he posted it on Urban 75, to see what others would make of my Nathan Barley-esque nonsense. Within minutes he was reading, through peals of wicked laughter, uber-violent death threats from the capital’s homeless. Lack of stable shelter, it seems, has not dimmed their imagination one bit.

I’m stuck between a squat and a posh place. If you’ll forgive the enormous generalisation, the middle classes hate squatters and squatters hate the middle classes. I’m now perceived as straddling both these worlds, so there’s potential to feel the wrath of both groups. I don’t like being subject to a powerful, ruling elite but I do like humus: what is a boy to do? Ideally, I’d live in a world without these pretty useless definitions: a classless society, and fuck their food preferences, anyway.

One of the most vehement threats came from someone who questioned the choosing of this way. Certainly, to move into a squat simply to say you have moved into a squat (, man) is completely cuntish. Moving into one simply to have had the experience should be a different proposition entirely. Is not life all about new experience; wouldn’t we get bored pretty quickly without it? You’ll never get to the next chapter without turning the page, and the page I was on was getting pretty dog-eared. For me, it was time to read on.

Of course, that smacks of what my housemate describes – brilliantly – as poverty porn. Mere masturbation, not proper fucking: ultimately fruitless. Of having a diamond and testing it between hammer and anvil merely to prove its worth – and losing it in the process. This assumes that I had a diamond in the first place; and even if I did, that that standard represents anything more than 24 carat comfort. It’s not comfort per se that I’m turning away from: it’s the easy option. And I understand that this makes me as pathetic as the drunk, the gambler and the serial shagger: why not simply say no?

Well, it’s not that simple: as the junky stands no chance so long as he’s still hanging out with his drug-friends, so I have no chance of curing myself of consumerism when being bombarded by messages to buy, buy, buy. The cheeky fuckers even came into my home at night – in glorious Technicolor - just to make sure I got the message that I might be fat, ugly or otherwise inadequate, and I’d better buy myself better. How can I attempt to wean myself of wastefulness when there are those out there who clothe their children, take care of their education, by encouraging me to waste? The pound is a powerful incentive, and only the best is good enough for their kids.

But in my new place of residence the speaker-box has been firmly and finally shut off. One of my housemates, Eva, returned home this week and told me of an afternoon spent shopping with her sister; she went on to explain that she sometimes seeks sanctuary in shops and stores. Wandering around the aisles, even trying things on, has a profoundly calming influence upon her. When I go shopping I feel anxious: compelled: judged by my choices. Eva’s calm comes from knowing that she doesn’t need any of this stuff. She walks out of the shop empty handed, soul intact, her choices made…

Ps. I promise to be more practical next week: to have done so this week would have been dishonest…

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