Sunday, July 15, 2018
Some safari or cruise
I find myself trapped in a luxurious Portuguese prison while the World Cup, Donald Trump, Brexit and Wimbledon rage elsewhere. Please don't send help or mount any rescue mission, I'm calm and intend to remain so. It's an education, a slow, warm and selfish one. Also self imposed. I read "Poverty Safari" by Darren McGarvey whilst sitting by the pool sipping red wine and/or slugging cold beer. My guilt, empathy and recognition materialized as beads of sweat. I asked myself many times "how did I ever get here?" There was no clear answer any more than asking Darren McGarvey "how did he ever get there?"
We are all passengers on some large karmic cruise liner it seems. Some are up on the sun deck or in the lounges, drinking, laughing and socializing with well chosen friends. Every day there's high tea and dancing. There's a lot of chattering and academic and aspirational manoeuvring. That's the few. The rest are in the engine room, shoveling and swearing, leaning on shovels and staring into a well managed blackness. Some are serving in the dining rooms, ironing in the laundry or busy in the kitchen chopping up pig's trotters and squeezing oranges. Some just hide in lockers and damp sea chests afraid of discovery.
This travel plan is fine for some but bloody unfair for others but it's the luck of the draw or an accident of birth. Of course the officers and regular crew on the ship are reasonably happy, they need the poor, that's part of the evolved plan and the main part of the industry. Exploit, ignore and patronize them, that way everybody stays in a job and has a career plan and a mortgage and the poor just get poorer. As for me, I remain a traitor and indifferent parasite, a stray from my working class roots. I grew up ashamed of them and tried to bury them, that was/is a fucking stupid and ignorant idea. I won't be doing it again. Whoever you are you should read this book.