At this very moment, as I type, I can see cars moving in an endless convoy down the main road. It’s a noisy flow of metal and smoke; a constant drone, ebbing and flowing with the tide of people. Across the road I see an apartment complex, one of those that seem as if they’re made of little TV sets piled on top of one another. I can see right inside – more screens, people on their couches, somebody playing the piano, a little girl trying to ride her bike on the balcony.
It reminds me of the bleak vision I have of the future.
As a child I collected countless things – rocks, marbles, stickers, sea glass – things that seemed so insignificant. A child can place the largest value upon the most mundane of things, something that becomes increasingly hard to grasp as one slips away into adulthood. As an outsider, banished from the imaginative wonderland of childhood, it’s hard to remember the feeling of losing your favourite pebble or toy car, despite their abundance. Why this thing? They’re asked. But does there have to be a reason?
Time passes. Our little trinkets and treasures get lost, stuck behind the couch, under the bed, the inside of the vacuum cleaner. As we begin to grow older, we develop a new sense of what it means to own things. I remember watching TV as a 7-year-old, and being fired with an artillery of obscenely colourful advertisements telling me not only that I wanted it but that I needed it. Some things become exclusive, others useless, some even shameful. Things become a disguise for money and a benchmark for comparison.