Are you a zombie? No, not one of those supernatural creatures who rise from the dead but those who go through life like mindless robots, who work to live and live to work. These zombies lead a life where passion is absent and where booze and drugs combined with television deaden the mind.
They are the ones who proudly say that they have not read a book since they have graduated from high school and that they can’t wait to get home from work so they can pop a cold one, and then another, and then another and so on. I never understood that kind of life. Perhaps if they were to spend more time in nature, in walking rather than driving, then maybe they would stop being zombies and would remember what it is to be a human being.
And now with all those intelligent phones everywhere you have to be careful if you don’t want to collide with them. With their beady eyes glued to their small screen they walk towards you in an absent-minded way, too busy sending and responding to texts and oblivious to where they are. I nearly collide with these individuals on a regular basis and it is I who has to step aside to avoid the collision! Nothing is worse than walking behind them when suddenly they stop in their tracks. Luckily I am still a human being and not an appendage of my phone and I am aware of what I am doing at all times.
Living as a zombie is not fun, but until you realize this by yourself you will always look askew at those who like me are not tethered to technological instruments. I use these instruments at times but I am not their servants but the master, something that these zombies cannot understand. They live as slaves and do not understand their condition. Woe to the zombies, and may they wake up one day to be fully human again. Until then, I will continue to step aside when I meet them on the sidewalks, for their sake and mine.
Everywhere I look I see giant cranes that are busy building condos and every other sort of buildings in between. This hustle and bustle never stops and it never ceases to amaze me how cities, like an organism, grow and expand. I began to reflect on this analogy; and what about our own personal growth, do we personally continue to grow as well? Of course I do not mean growth in the obvious way but in self-improvement, this intangible area of our lives.
For some people this word means nothing at all. “What?” they all exclaim, as if improving themselves was a ridiculous idea. For some, they have already achieved the pinnacle of improvement, and we all know that if one is perfect one cannot improve. We all know someone like that. Yes, some people seem to have a high opinion of themselves and they can do no wrong. In that group one often finds politicians and other petty bureaucrats. Without a doubt they strongly believe that they are always right and you the customer/citizen is in the wrong. They know better of course.
But there are some people who understand that one can always be a better person and that our psychological development should never end. Of course, this necessitates some sort of introspection and a willingness to explore our mind and see what cobwebs are lurking there. And once these cobwebs are identified then one must decide to do something about them. Since there are many steps to becoming a better person most people never even go past the first step, that of acknowledging that there is some sort of shortcoming in their personality. Most people will try to evade the problem or will try to deny that there is a problem such that in some cases it might take years before an individual decides to act. This struggle in our minds between what we know we should do and how we act is never-ending. Only some lucky souls have the courage to correctly identify the problem and then the courage to act on the solution promptly. At times the solution is forced upon us and willy-nilly we accept it because we have no choice. Either we change voluntarily or something worse will happen if we persist in our pernicious ways.
We are not unlike a city in fact; we too can grow and expand, but in our case it must be by a conscious choice. One individual deciding that things must change and that they will. For a city to change in a positive way many individuals must agree to that change and this often at the highest level. In that aspect at least, it is far easier for people to enact change in their lives as you have only to consult with yourself and act. But in both cases though, the reality of the current situation must be acknowledged if change is to occur. And that is where the rub is; reality is evaded and negative situations persist, to the detriment of the individual.
Three cheers to reality! And may we all see clearly through the fog that envelops our minds the actions we must take to be better persons.
I recently received a flyer in the mail from a well known funeral company peddling their arrangements. Immediately I took my pulse and started wondering whether they knew something about my health that I did not know. I assumed that they had connections with higher-ups but when I looked in the other mail boxes I realized that everyone in the building had received the same flyer. That eased my natural anxiety but only slightly.
I began looking over the flyer which was in fact a questionnaire consisting of 8 questions. They were the usual suspects; do you know where you will be buried? Have you ever made plans for others? Did you know that by buying a bundle of services you could save money? And so on. It sounded more like the pitch of a cable company than that of a funeral company. Except for the burying part, it really made me think that they had lifted the questions from them but of course, the cable company would bury you in unwanted channels that you must buy as part of their package.
What I did not understand was that at the top of the flyer it was marked in bold letters “confidential survey” and yet, one of the last questions asked me to identify myself in order to receive more information. That was silly of course. If it was confidential then no need to reveal yourself. If you do identify yourself, then of course confidentiality is breached. It is an either/or proposition.
The most nonsensical question was the last one which asked how I had learned of them. This did not make sense as they were the ones soliciting me through mass mailing and not I calling them up or emailing them for information. Which led me to think that whoever dreamt up that flyer should be fired at the very least; first, for disturbing my peace of mind and reminding me of my mortality and secondly, for wasting my time in analyzing this shoddy piece of marketing. Luckily, my pulse is still low and stable and my blood pressure has now returned to normal, no thanks to them.
The other day I applied for a job and was invited to an interview with a prospective employer. The odds were against me but in such cases where one has nothing to lose the correct thing to do is to say yes and to act. At best you get what you want and at worse you are in the same position that you started in. Yes, life can be as simple as that at times.
So I sat down in the office and looked around me; two other people were there seated, young by the looks of it and totally immersed in their intelligent apple. I, the old foggy at 52, was looking at the walls of the room, and then looking at my shoes, and then again looking at the walls. Such pretty walls. I then examined my hands and counted my fingers. I was pleasantly numbed by all this. The room looked more like the waiting room of a dentist or doctor, except that there were no magazines to read. I suppose that you do not need magazines when you have a zillion of them available in your intelligent apple.
I observed the young people; both were casually dressed and relaxed, while I was dressed more for an outing at a restaurant, minus the tie. I hate those devices whose sole purpose is to cut off the flow of oxygen to the brain of the person foolish enough to wear them. I suppose that it is necessary if you want to pontificate on important subjects but as I had nothing to pontificate on, I will leave that to politicians and bureaucrats and of course, the pope.
Finally I am ushered to the interview room along with another prospect. The person doing the interview was probably in their mid-20’s and was exceedingly polite. It all felt awkward, as if somehow we were discussing funeral preparations for a loved one. The other prospect was probably in his late 20’s and was more of a show-off so I was happy when the interviewer focused on him rather than me with his questions.
After this interview came another interview and again, the interviewer was probably in his late 20’s to early 30’s. I took it all in stride. I still remember when I was the youngest in the company, and then I saw steadily how I became the oldest in the company. None of this is worthy of doing a song and dance number of course. As long as I don’t see the grim reaper running after me I will be content and continue on my old foggy ways.
In the end I did not get the job after wasting nearly four solid hours of my life and at 52, this matters more than at 22. I can still hear the grim reaper laughing at me as I exited the building.