Thursday, 15 June 2017


A woman of unclassifiable age lives alone, completely alone, in a tenanted building. A building buzzing with human life in all three cores, on each of its floors behind numbered closed doors that open onto corridors that lead to a communal lift and stairs. She never sees anyone, well, maybe in passing, but those chance encounters are so insignificant they're not worth mentioning, not even memorising as those faces barely glimpsed are never seen twice.
It's only when the postman, correction: post person, knocks she gets to interact, briefly,with anyone, and even then she might open the door and find it's someone else. A different person, very different in height and features to the man or woman she expected, in that unmistakeable uniform delivering whatever it is that couldn't have been pushed through the slot of her ground zero postbox, the one that has a Royal Mail sticker requesting that any Signed For items are returned to the local depot if she's not home. Why she wonders do these post men and woman change so often, almost as often as the inhabitants? Are these particular flats really that bad? Or do they get bored of trudging up, down and along these floors, and just shoving mail into grey metal boxes? Perhaps they too occasionally thirst for human connection, of the back-in-the-day sort.
That's how we talk of the past now, isn't it? Use phrases like this to make us or it seem hip and happenin'.
But then that bubble of thought bursts and she thinks she could be wrong, no, is wrong to assume and thrust her own perceptions onto to others, those she only knows in a fleeting form, as perhaps they too would rather spend the day glued to their phones like all the rest, the other office or home employed worker bees, instead of having to watch where they put their booted feet or wheel and secure their trolleys in all weathers. Such a job is thankless and undervalued these days, she thinks. The role changed, so changed by the mail that's no longer sent through these once depended upon channels.
But then, so is everything else: altered, almost dramatically like a stage set with too many props so that the audience's imagination is rendered redundant, from the world she entered and grew to like. She rages, inwardly and outwardly, about this often, mourns its passing yet delays the funereal ceremony, her own personal goodbye, for of course, others said their adieus whilst she was content to hang on, has been hanging on for years, though the rope she dangles from has become a thread. A strong thread, but a thread nonetheless.
Others gave the era a pat on the back and that was it. Over. A job well done. Now, however, she's heard, you can't even do that, pat someone on the back for that action might be misconstrued. Every day she wonders what this world, this supposedly improved and improving world, is coming to? Is it the End? Then she sighs, Ahhh, wouldn't that be a blessing, before in thought she adds, for someone like me.
Someone who doesn't like being pushed into changes, full stop, but particularly when many don't seem to bring any benefits, other than making us more estranged; estranged from others as much if not more than from ourselves. And she doesn't believe that many, if any, recent developments save time or make life easier as each new device seems to be a further indulgence for the gratification now, less physically active society. She gets a little high-brow up in her flat looking down over humanity as if the people she sees are part of a social experiment and she an anthropologist. Aloof, yet not apart from the impeding disaster she thinks will one day befall: a mass disintegration, where people are forced into a situation where technology has no answers and neither do they.
And yet she knows she's hopeless at what is termed normal, responsible living. Clueless too (at her age!) though she gets by providing nothing unfavourable occurs. She is no better off then from her elevated view, and is definitely, through stubbornness, less modernly informed, as well as almost entirely lost when it comes to such matters that would once have been labelled 'Male'. Independent, as all women claim they want to be, and yet resourceless.

Picture credit: The Castle of the Pyrenees, 1959, Rene Magritte