Thursday, 10 November 2016

On Malls and Mortality.

I was walking through a shopping mall today and realised that I never, ever go upstairs. I wondered why, but only briefly. ‘It’s because there’s nothing up there to interest me,’ I thought. ‘Come to think of it, there’s nothing down here to interest me either, apart from the coffee shop.’

So why is there nothing in shopping malls to interest me? I suppose it’s because I no longer paddle and frolic in the shallow watercourse provided by our culture in this theme park we call life. I drift these days on a river that is wider than a mile in some parts, but narrow as a creek in others. And sometimes I’m beset by overreaching waves that threaten to engulf me, while at others the water settles and becomes as calm as a duck pond on the old village green. And then there are the outcrops of jagged rocks against which I'm occasionally driven, and the stagnant backwaters in which I sometimes find myself marooned. I’ve even been over the odd cataract here and there, and come out bruised but still breathing.

But one day I shall encounter the great maelstrom and be pulled under with irresistible certainty, never to be seen again. And the same maelstrom will also find and swallow the paddlers and frolickers, because as the man said: Send not to know for whom the bell tolls…

And this is all in the mind, of course.

And this is an odd time of day to be making such a post. It belongs with Lisa Gerrard songs in the sagging, sultry hours after midnight, so I’m being precocious for once.

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