I grew up in a small village (I believe village is the correct word to use, though I am not entirely sure) in Norway. At the time, I absolutely hated it. Nothing happened there, and it did not seem to offer any opportunities for anything much but spiritual decay. As time went on, and I grew into my own and furthermore into my independence, I got out and moved to a city. Brilliant, I remember thinking, here, in these uncharted waters, there be opportunities.
How wrong I was. There was nothing but tigers in the uncharted corners of the map.
The wonderful opportunities which I expected would be present in the big city was nothing but an immediate and constant crunch – a bellowing and hollering mass of people trudging back and forth from one strange social obligation to the next, with no time to stop, breathe and relax in between all the this and all the that. “I’ve got time for a quick coffee at this overpriced coffee-shop, with all its fancy-panted and strangely named coffee, then I’ve got to go work out, after that, I’m going shopping, and then, and then, and then”. It was a culture shock for me, for sure. Excruciatingly different from what I knew. Yet, I would adapt, and learn, and grow, and furthermore take part. This I thought.
In hindsight, it all seems to me to be a constant set of distractions to alleviate the horrible boredom of having nothing to do.
The same boredom I so diligently tried to escape when I left the village for the city. What was even more disconcerting to someone with great plans of becoming a successful visual artist (my, how naive I was back then): everything cost money. Every single god-damned, god-awful thing cost money. From working out to parking, from going to the toilet or hanging out with friends: everything cost money.
Young, struggling morons with wide-eyed dreams of artistic success and a bloated sense of their own talents are not exactly known for their abundance of wealth. So came the cost of living. Exorbitant prices for crappy apartments infested with some strange fungus, and with damned weeds growing up through the cracks in the floor… tiled floors placed directly upon dirt, windows that just won’t close, walls and ceilings so paper-thin that every movement of ones neighbour is heard as though one was in the same room as them. Don’t matter. The market is as the market is, and when there is a shortage of housing, landlords can charge whatever and people will gladly pay out their nose for the luxury of having a semblance of shelter from the wild. Mind you: I don’t blame the landlords. I blame the morons, such as myself, who are willing to pay so much for so little, who chase a fantasy of city-living that is contrary to the reality of city-living. It is an illusion, a tall tale sold through television and suchlike, wherein people who do not live in cities are presented as uncultured… as uneducated, unknowing and ultimately unworthy. Much like the light in which the hordes of progressives paint the backbone of any nation; its farmers: uneducated simpletons with racist sympathies and all that other nasty stuff which the cultured and educated and enlightened city-dwellers do not suffer from. That they themselves can not seem to shake their snobbish elitism out of their bumbling buffoon-heads do not matter. Certain people, one comes to learn, is quite alright to dislike, lampoon and ridicule; is quite alright to paint in a negative stereotypical light. Others are not. Some are protected from satire, some are not.
And I am sorry to tell you this, but programs like Sex and the City lied to you.
I’ve now spent fifteen fucking years living in a city.
I came to the conclusion two years ago that this city is slowly killing me. Everything is cramped, and grey, and noisy.
The apartment I live in is cramped and uncomfortable, the constant noise and hum and buzz and drone from the city, its dilapidating buildings, its pavements with its cracks and holes, its streets and its traffic and its towering apartment complexes that block out the sun… apartment complexes where people live like ants in an anthill, becoming increasingly miserable and hostile and stressed out.
There’s noise and confusion and a confounding sense of press and pressure… the sensation of community – a close-knit community – being squeezed to death in a hydraulic press labelled “no common identity”.
And time wastes away and people waste time away and so waste away themselves, and money is wasted away, spent on pointless shopping or that damned overpriced coffee or whatever.
Everyday, the walls keep closing in, the streets get narrower, the neighbours get noisier, towering buildings go up, prices go up, everything goes up except the quality of life. That is eroding.
City-life is lack of life and lack of thought. It is lack of self, lack of identity.
In my way of thinking: when there is always something to do, something that happens, somewhere to go to widdle away the day… when there is constantly something that distracts, there’s no time to think, no time to meditate. I believe that we, as a culture, are overstimulated through overexposure. Through social media, through the internet as a whole, we are constantly distracted, constantly kept busy with petty shit that does not matter, caught in an endless loop of entertainment, a quest for validation and bad news.
When there’s constantly something beeping or flashing that demands our attention, when there’s always access to some cheap entertainment, something or other to waste time with, it requires a great effort of will to not fall into the trap of constantly doing something or experiencing something that distracts from something that may very well be more important.
That which is most important is, stupid as it may sound, getting to know oneself. In my world, boredom does not exist. At least not as something negative. Boredom, I have come to understand, is a blessing. It means stability, it means that one does not have to fight for survival. It means that things are actually so good as to allow for having nothing to do. I can hardly imagine a better blessing than that.
At the moment of writing, there is construction-work going on right outside my apartment. By which I mean directly outside. Some new giant god-damned apartment complex is being erected. And the construction work is scheduled to last for three years. That is three years of constant noise, directly outside our living room. If I wanted to, I could step out on our balcony and spit on the various vehicles and machines. That’s how close it is. The noise is impossible to explain properly. The work is heavy-duty enough that the entire apartment vibrates and shakes and quivers and quakes on a daily basis. In fact: we were told to take photographs of our walls before the work began, so that we could document it in case the work outside should cause damage to the walls. We were also instructed to move any breakable objects of the shelves and out of the cupboards, in case they should fall out and shatter from the vibrations of the work. Not a pleasant thing to deal with for up to twelve fucking hours a day.
So: I’m moving on. we’re getting out of the city. Far out, man, far away. Moving to a small village where there’s only 130 people living, seeking that elusive freedom that keeps eluding my grasp. Seeking boredom, if you will. Seeking to become self-sufficient. In a few years, we’re buying a farmstead. If all goes to plan.
Since, however, moving house is a chore and a damned hassle, I am going to have to take some time away from writing and uploading content. I will most likely keep uploading the “Lonely Train-station Blues” stuff, since that is already written and recorded and so does not take much time out of the packing and planning and preparing, nor out of the settling in and – finally – relaxing a bit after the stress and the storm. I am aiming at this only taking about a month, so I should be back to pester you with poetry, illusions of literary and artistic talent as well as badgering you to buy my bloody books, why won’t you, sometime in August. Also: I’m releasing another book sometime this year.
As always: I’ll catch you later.
- Moiret Allegiere, 04.07.2020
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Howling at a Slutwalk Moon, a collection of previous blog posts:
Vol 1 Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/107571074X
Vol 1 Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TZTPDPR
Vol 2 Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1075714184
Vol 2 Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TZR25NL
Vol 1 Illustrated Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1075717094
Vol 2 Illustrated Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1075723078