Monday, April 18, 2005

An Individual In Confrontation With The World, Pt. 10

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Sebastian was seeing red again when he read from a newspaper another neoliberalist right-wing politician boasting: "If someone struggles physically or mentally, his income also must be superior to the one who doesn't bother to struggle", adding that "everyone is responsible for themselves". Such claptrap! If this was so, then why would some people struggle for all their lives, and still stay piss-poor?

Why should I follow the rules if those high and mighty politicians won't, Sebastian thought when watching a news report about the latest bribe scandal featuring politicians and some supreme court judges holding high positions. Viva civil disobedience! Up against the wall, motherfucker!

Enough of this already. He had to get out. It was Saturday night, so he decided to head for a joint called The Pop Club. Actually he was too old for that place with its teenyboppers and hiphop kids, but he had become accustomed to hanging out there for over a decade now, and the idea of having to spectate the antics of sad, drunken people of his age or older at some other bar, where the more "mature" people normally gathered, only filled him with disgust. Having kids around him made him feel young himself, even though the calendar may have said something else.

The Pop Club was not far from where he lived, only two blocks away, so you didn't have to risk your physical health having to stroll all through the drunken Saturday night jungle by foot or to waste your money in taxis.

When Sebastian arrived, a heatwave struck him in the face. The air was hot and humid as if in a greenhouse. Later on he found out that the blower that pumped cool air to the dancefloor had been broken, and the bartenders opened windows to let in some cold spring night air, to the dismay of those people who were sitting next to the windows.

Nevertheless, kids were dancing and fooling around as usually, as clueless and stupid as ever, but still somehow cute, as very young and ignorant people can be. Sebastian struggled his way to the bar through the crowded dancefloor where party people were wriggling to Beyoncé's 'Crazy In Love' or to some other current hit the DJs were always playing. As usually he bought a lager in plastic pint, which the bartender handed to him even without Sebastian having to place his order: not a case of telepathy, they knew he never drank anything else. Then Sebastian tried to find an observation place in a club where people were jammed in as if in a tin of sardines.

As time went by, Sebastian saw less and less familiar faces at The Pop Club. He knew he was an old relic there; his own contemporaries or even the people he had hung around with only a couple of years ago had mostly stopped clubbing when they had gotten older, deeper into their relationships and careers, and had started their own families and so on. Or then the old school people he had known had moved away to the capital city after better-paid jobs in IT business, advertising, TV or music business. Many nights he was content only to sip his beer alone, never talking with anyone and gazing the ongoing silliness of kids around him.

The DJ, an old veteran who had played at The Pop Club at least for twenty years, spinned now Deee-Lite's 'Groove Is In The Heart', a big club hit in 1990. Sebastian had grown sick and tired of that tune after having heard it at The Pop Club about a million times all through these years. It still seemed to be a floor-filler, though. This DJ in question had previously been specialized in old soul and funk, but in the latest years had been starting to play more and more MTV-type of R&B, which bored Sebastian: all those girl groups with their dance routines and pseudo-raps, simple tunes that sounded like children's songs, and with their digitally enhanced breasts and booties. Well, if that's what the kids today wanted to hear, OK, but as far as he was concerned, they could just fuck their "bling-bling" culture. Keep it real, man...

Though usually drinking alone, Sebastian always did his best to avoid giving the sad lonely-wall-rose impression. He kept walking around the club all time, "checking the scene", even danced a bit occasionally, and always finding a new observation post, instead of keeping sitting in a distant corner table, lest some soul with good intentions came to ask him: "Hey, why are you sitting here alone, looking so sad?" and blaah blaah. Usually they were either some plain-looking girls with nurturing tendencies, not-so-attractive to him, or worse, drunken guys whose babble more often than not bored Sebastian to death.

Often Sebastian kept thinking about his loner position, why he had to be such a lone wolf. He had been like that since he had been a child; he had always found other kids' games and their constant running around only childish and stupid; there had always been other things he had found more interesting, such as his fantasies, the adventures in books or films, his own little private joys. He had felt for all his life that he did not belong.

Did he feel sad because of his solitude? Sometimes he had, yes, but he had learned to intellectualise it, to see it all just philosophically. He was just an observer in this world, it was his his task to learn to understand, to be an eyewitness to the world's madness, not an active participator. He knew he was running away from his own feelings that way, but even that was better than living in a constant pain which came along with understanding. Keep your distance, don't get involved. Observe, analyse. Think. Keep an ironic detachment. Just don't feel.