Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Punk Attitude in a Cannibal Society.

For the last week I've been workingat a hospital named after a Christian Saint, of all beings, me the consummate pagan, but at the final thresh-hold of life, a hospice for the dying, launching from the material world into the infinite Light, (I hope), religion doesn't really matter, humanity is all there is. I was terrified of the job before I went in, it seemed terribly complicated, so many wards, 175 aged and dying people for wild little animal me to look after, yet my experience stood me in great stead, the worst was thrown at me from the beginning and I handled it with aplomb.

Two old ladies fell over at dawn and cracked their heads, not in my wards because I try to be there to catch them, but I rushed over and assisted my fellow nurse in this hospice's technique of patching up such wounds and after dealing with these nasty gashes felt I was ready for the worst. The fire alarm went off with much futuristic fanfare: bells, sirens, disembodied voices echoing instructions bouncing up and down the 7 levels, the staff all ran around like headless chickens, very few knew what to do, me and the charge nurse gave a quick one minute course in 'fire-drill', luckily the fire that set off the alarm was burning toast in the nurse's residential quarters and no disaster of eternal flames rained down.

And one old woman died on me at 3 am in the morning as I sat by her bed, she was Jewish, a survivor of the concentration camps in World War Two Germany. I noticed her breath grow more and more shallow and I  leant forward to observe her more closely and caught her very last breath exhaled into my face, I inadvertently breathed it in, and I felt I was then imbued with her ancient spirit, as if I was being passed a baton in the survivor's race for life. I've sat with many people as they've died so I was not unduly freaked out, death is "the final destination" of life and in fact I was honoured to be the one to send her across the mysterious dark river of the Unknown.

She had shat herself at the point of death and I was told the Jewish religion demanded she not be touched till her Rabbi came in to offer up last rites. He was not due for several hours and she was to lie in her own faeces, smelling like a sewer, though her family was to sit with her soon. I decided to ignore the irrational demands of her faith and got my assistants to clean her up quickly, dress her in her best clothes and have her presentable for all her loved ones to fuss over. And I'm deadly sure if she was asked in years gone by if she'd like to be left squelching down into her own shit as she died, she would've replied in horror, "No damned way!"

I finished work at 8am and, exhausted, had to catch the rush-hour train thru the city. The platform was packed with commuters and when the train pulled in at 8.45 it too was jam-packed to the doors with sardine-like humans with no way for us on the platform to squeeze in. I could see there was space up in the middle of the carriage, the drones were simply  blocking the doorways so they could be the first to get off, and nobody else could get in. In a flurry I just threw myself into them, pushing them aside, at first politely asking them to move up the stairway, and when they just stood there like lumps ignoring me, I started shoving them aside and yelling, "Move, fuckwits!"

Still they blocked my way, standing on each others'toes, in each others' faces, dead-eyed like zombies, not standing aside even the slightest bit to let me thru. I had to shove and push harder and made my way up into the carriage, with certain suits tsk tsking and pushing me back, one arsehole heaving my backpack in my face because it brushed her coiffed head. The train pulled into Martin Place, where all the sky-scrapers threaten to topple over, the pack of zombies rushed off and I realised the mob were mostly office workers, pushing useless bits of paper for a job and possibly sending many poor souls into penury, and I called out loudly after them, "What a bunch of arse-holes!" The rest of the alien drones shuddered, and I saw them pretend exaggerated politeness in contrast to my rudeness as they eased past each other to get off at Town Hall Station, shop-keepers for the most part, ready for another day of selling shoddy crap to morons who didn't want it.

Sydney has become the "banana republic" long threatened by our 'rulers' and these were the third-world hordes scrambling to their slavery, and as one tall, blonde wimp left for his collar and tie non-job he gave me a vicious look of "How dare you show your rude individuality to us good, conforming citizens!" And I smirked back at him with a "Fuck-you" cheesy grin,  I'm 'BAD',it amuses me to have a punk attitude in this rat-race world, at the least it gets you onto a crowded train. I yelled at his white-shirted back, "You'll all end up on your deathbed one day, lying in your own shit!"

(I realise this all sounds anti-people/worker, as if I'm not part of the faceless crowd, but this Blog is all about "me , me, me!", the crass curmudgeon and yowling Punk Poofy Cat, lost in a magnificently enigmatic, uncaring universe.)

Watching the remake of "The Omen" last night at a special cinema screening on "Beast's Day, 6-6-06", (like, why do 'They' bother, it was frame for frame the same as the old one!) I was struck by the idea that thousands of years ago certain old power-mongers guessed that in the future our potential for violence and destruction, teamed up with our technology, could end in the "last of days", the "Armageddon", the end of humanity but, being ignorant, crafty and superstitious, they projected out of themselves reified ideas of good and evil, God and the Devil, to take responsibility for the horrors that would come, conveniently ignoring that the good and evil came from humans themselves, they committed BAD stuff on each other, with no help from outside entities.

On reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse", he reminded me that when populations outgrow their resources and stupidly exploit their environments till everything collapses, the people starve and fight over land, and some of them can turn to cannibalism, as happened in the Pacific Islands and Africa when they ran out of food. I also flashed that George Romero's zombie movies, "Dawn of the Dead" etc are not just metaphors for contemporary consumer capitalism where we are all forced into taking the skin from each others' backs to survive; amongst the billions teeming on this planet we're all strangers and thus don't care about anyone, (except our own families), and we end up selling, forcing, promoting life-draining rubbish on each other and thus consuming faceless humanity. Those zombie movies also warn of civilization's collapse in the future, where we fucked the environment, run out of food and chaos ensues and we turn on each other as a food source.

Those crowds of good citizens packed passively on the trains are ripe for 'cannibal society' and only those with a tough Punk attitude will possibly survive, pushing their way through all the shit raining down, (and hopefully make it out of the cities and into the wilderness to establish 'Utopias' of sustainability and co-operation, a contradiction to Punk attitude I know but I'm as full of shit as the next zombie!) For all I don't seem to care, I'm a nurse, another contradiction, I feel compassion for flawed humanity, most running in fear, knowing they will die some day.