Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

As I walked into OPSM across plush carpet swimming with beautiful women in white coats which apparently make them look more scientific and credible, I wondered into the optometrists room to have my eyes puffed with little whisps of air, to be embarrassed because I couldn't’t read the middle line of the eye chart and to listen to a chirpy little optometrist the age of my daughter tell me what I already knew, that I need new reading glasses, it struck me how lucky I am to be who I am and where I am. I wondered out after having my cornea’s photographed and much lens flicking with a shiny new prescription to browse the rows of Dolce and Gabana, Rayban, Sophia Lauren, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren and Chanel frames . . .of course I picked out a lovely little sage green Chanel number and sat whilst sweet little teen tried to sell me transition lenses and antiglare coating before cranking the figures to tell me that my new specs would cost a cool $800 after the refund from my health fund. I happily ordered said glasses which will appease my vanity and make me look cool typing into a computer where nobody can see my face anyway.

I sauntered home, breezed in to say hello to Otley and DrummerBoy happily shooting Mexican Terrorists, was greeted by a well groomed labrador with a stick in her mouth, pleased to have the alpha female back in da house, poured a nice glass of Preece Semillon Blanc, . . . then came in and watched the news.

How privileged I am . . .my only child, mother, father, sister, aunt haven’t suddenly been extinguished by the force of nature in Northern China and buried under tons of inaccessible rubble. . .My house hasn’t been devastated by mud slides cyclone and I’m not waiting after 7 days without water for a ruthless military junta to allow a paltry 30 Thai doctors in to relieve the devastation while the rest of the world, eager to help, is left in fragile negotiations with idiots on about how to dispense aid. I’m not afraid for my family still in Zimbabwe whilst I labour doing someone else’s ironing in South Africa and wondering if my mother and child have fallen victim to a racist machete. I’m not in a feeding queue in Darfour with a starving baby that resembles the progeny of some alien with wide fly-infested eyes and a swollen belly. I’m not in some middle eastern town masked and wired with explosives prepared to give my life to kill the infidel and meet my 17 virgins. I’m not even in the outback sniffing petrol and watching in an induced stupor as my children are sexually abused by their uncles and neighbours or shooting up against the wall and selling my body to slimy old men in Kings Cross. I’m not lying cold and hungry and disoriented with schizophrenic voices arguing in my head in Parramatta Park. I’m home, warm, loved, drinking wine, a roof over my head, a family who loves me, friends who care about me and so much fat on my body that if there was a famine tomorrow, I’d be the last to go!

I know where my children are, even if one is living in a Hostel in San Francisco. Thanks to the marvels of the internet and Skype I am able to talk to her today and any other day and tell her I love her. I know my son is happy, employed, well-adjusted and fabulously silly, in a relationship and offering to 'shout' me pizza. I moan about my expanding waistline, my sore knees and my rising level of debt but there’s food in my fridge and my dog has just had the remains of Tuesday’s Rogan Josh which could, if expanded with a little rice or potatoes feed a family of 20 in some starving corner of the earth. I feed a skinny old horse who should be converted into dog food or glue, on molasses softened barley to help him gain weight that would be sustenance to - I don't know how many people if only they could receive it.

I don’t want to swap my life with anyone less fortunate. I want to help and do what little I can but I thank the powers that be, for the little, insignificant, minuscule twist of fate that landed me where I am today. When the worst thing that could happen is my Internet dies, my washing machine is banjaxed or a bank cheque bounces . . .all I can surmise is that life is pretty wonderful on my side of the fence and although I'm not a religious person, my prayers go out to those who suffer.

I don't look through my Chanel glasses and see a perfect world. No pink lenses for me. All at once, I can see the lonely, the disenfranchised, the desperate, the hungry, the politically misguided, the bigots the purists . . But I am grateful for my position, given to me by a chance meeting between a sperm and an ovum - even though it's been hard at times, I have not experienced anything compared to some in this world and today . . because of that realisation, I am happy and eternally grateful and desperately sad that our third rock from the sun is such an awesomely and totally fucked-up place.


Nick said...

Funny, I was just thinking something similar - how lucky I'm not one of the millions of refugees forced to give up my home, and maybe my country as well, just to survive and have a decent life. As you say, just because of a random twist of fate that gave me my particular parents and home country. So many people in orderly countries like ours moan non-stop about their daily problems but they're a rose garden compared with the indescribably wretched lives some people have to endure. To anyone with any sensitivity it's totally heart-wrenching.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Yep, each time Angela comes to work and tells me about her worries and her fears, I remember how incredibly lucky and blessed I am. Each time I drive down the road and see the guy begging at the traffic lights, or the guy selling wire and beaded things on the side of the road, I remember how fortunate I am. Each time, I drive past the squatter settlements, that blow away and leak in winter, where neighbour preys upon neighbour, where crime has no limit, I think how easy my life is. And even though I sit here behind my high walls, security system, security doors, constantly looking over my shoulder, wary when walking in the street, I still know there are millions out there, not just here, but all over the world, who live pain, terror, torment and suffering on a daily basis.
How did we get to be such a fucked up race. Why are we so unable to get past our fundamental fear which is what causes us to rape and pillage the planet and ourselves. Why do we not learn from history.
I don't know. All I do know is that I can only try to be the best person I can be, to live the best life I can live, and in so doing, hopefully emit some energy of love and peace into the world around me.
I try to be the light I want to see in the world - I don't get it right all the time.

A powerful and moving post, Baino.

ian said...

What's really disconcerting is when the poor world stands in your hallway looking around - the twin house of our new Rectory sold for E2.25 m. A Burundian colleague came to Ireland and acme out to our house most Sundays over the past year

Nancy said...

The following is something to ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death ... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful ... you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder ... you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, and count your blessings!

Author unknown

You said it just as well, Baino!

Kath Lockett said...

What a wonderful piece, Baino. (Are the white-coated OPSM assistants ex-employees from the Ponds Institute perhaps?)

I often have similar thoughts when I see Love Chunks cooking; hear Sapphire practising her guitar and Milly out sunning herself on the lawn and realise that it was sheer luck that I happened to have been born here.

Maybe it's why I avoid watching the evening news - not just to prevent Sapph from getting distressed but so that *I* don't.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Baino! Sometimes the media do a good thing by reminding us how fortunate we are! *hiding with thick framed ten year old government issued specs* ;)

Nick said...

Thanks for that, Nancy, that makes it even clearer just how incredibly fortunate some of us are. It's so easy to take our relative comfort and privilege completely for granted. Privilege that for many is just a shimmering dream on the distant horizon.

Baino said...

I won't respond to each of you because I think we're of one accord. Be thankful for whatever you have and even in our most desperate hours things can only improve for us thanks to faith for some, family for others and a deep seated appreciation for what we all have.

steph said...

It's a mad, mad world, isn't it?

Thanks for putting a bit of perspective on it, Baino

Fabulous post! I reckon it took me through every emotion.

Another award winner!

Babysis said...

Here Here!

George W. Bush said...

Fair play to the boy, those dirty terrorists won't shoot themselves.

Baino said...

George W: Terrorists or tourists? How's your head this morning?

George W. Bush said...

Please don't use the damn tourist joke, that's as old as Methusaleh.