Friday, October 26, 2007

Freedom from choice...

....would be nice.

We don't have a lot of that kind of freedom here in the big smoke. Freedom from choice. Evem just writing down the words makes me feel a little less heavy....

I was walking throught the Eatons Centre today, briefly, and was floored by the place. It doesnt matter how often I go in there...I still feel like it's so wierd how we are constantly surrounded and bombarded by images/words/people/giant billboards/t-shirts telling us how we should look and what we should buy and who we should befriend and what we should eat and how we should smell and and and and. It's friggin overwhelming. Sometimes I wonder if the idea of choice has gotten way out of hand for us in North America. I feel like it's one of the plagues. Instead of locusts we have 10 by 10 foot glossy's of a photo-shopped, airbrushed, collagen filled woman with pursed lips and a 'come hither' stare - everywhere you turn. It's as if they are magical, multiplying billboards. There is no escape from it. And all I went in there for was a coffee. It's so fucked up. Or maybe I'm the one who doesnt get's so hard to tell sometimes in this culture of more, give me more, give me more. I sometimes feel like an alien. The only thing I want more of is custard tarts...mmm....custard tarts...yummmmy..

On a better and complete opposite note, I bumped into a resident today who isnt currently staying at the shelter but who is one of our regular "community members" (thats politically correct social jusitce speak for "guys who regularly stay at the homeless shelter"). The last time I saw him he was being restricted and was in rough, rough shape. He was emotionally, physically and mentally distraught. This is not unusual for him, and even when he gets super irate, he wouldnt hurt a fly.....althgouh he likes to direct his anger at inanimate chairs, tables, chess sets, hamburgers, plates of get the drift. Sometimes it's quite helarious, if somewhat annoying. Anyway, he was actually looking really good (not to the men in suits who walked by us). He seemed really stable as well. He told me he's been at the good shepherd and going regularly to his anger management program - only 4 weeks to go. I told him I thought that was awesome, and was relieved he wasnt throwing hambugers around anymore - and he actually laughed. Then I started laughinhg harder and we actually laughed quite hard together....and it was a really really good moment. It was so good to have a conversation with him outside of work and see him somewhat happy...smiling and laughing even! I needed to see that today. I'm really glad I saw him.

I suppose it's true, and can be said, that maybe a guy like the one I was just talking about does need more freedom of choice as opposed to less. And he probably won;t ever be presented with the choices he badly needs. I, on the other hand, have choices coming out the wazoo that threaten to drown my peace of mind and distract me from things that really matter. It's so confuseing. I have choice but wish I didnt have so much of it. He has little choice (from his community/culture/world) but probably would give anything to have more choices than the meager ones he is presented with. I guess it's an age old problem....but no less baffleing. If only we could even the scales...or spread the resources...or at least cut down on those obnoxious billboards least. I'm the last person who wants to grand-stand, or preach or tell people how i think they should or should not live...but we really need so many useless billboards on everything?? Hmmm...I don't know how this turned into a rant about billboards. Ah well.

word. -jc