The Sprawl is one of those things that looks good from a distance. When you look at it from the restaurant on the 100th floor of the Zaytec Building, the city is beautiful as it spreads out below. At night the glow of tail lights make the streets and arteries of transportation pulsate like data flows on the net. As you sip your martini, the Sprawl is Art. Most of the beautiful people don’t ever walk at lower street level, where the urban decay shows the roots of the old city. Where all the litter settles and the ugly washes off the city and pools, gray and dull. The poor and disinfranchised live here. They walk. They don’t have the latest hydro-burners that ride the high street levels and park in the expensive garages with drivers and gates the latest in shiny plastic and chrome. The underbelly of the city is grime. It gets on your clothes and skin and gives you a ghost-like palor. If you live here you know. You know because of the persistant cough from years of testing biological agents on the poor, and because you don’t have health insurance. You know because the grime gets under your fingernails and you can’t ever seem to get it out. You know because you are close enough to see the pixels.
What really separates the haves (above) and have-nots (below)? Is it fate? Is it education? Is it that some eagerly play the game, and others like me detest the game because it is all fake smiles and platitudes and there is no real susbstance to it? Cheating the poor out of their savings, or the elderly, or the sick, or the many who get involved with the law because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time? Real-Estate salesmen, doctors, lawyers – all with their special cliques and circles of friends who all dress alike and think alike? Why do the people who play the political games and accept society at face value end up with the high-rise apartment, maybe a cabin at the lake. Vacations and perks. While the rest of us who want to think and feel freely, who are creative and demand justice, equality and freedom of expression end up down here? I’m educated. I’m capable. I’m also a geek. Technically capable and quick to question authority. If you are close enough to smell the bullshit and ask, “Why?” then you are only destined to rise so far in the world. I guess I can take comfort in the fact that most geniuses never became rich, but were rather poor and subjugated by the wealthy morons who play the game well and don’t have a clue otherwise. Some of us feel that to sell out is moral defeat, while others in society play it like a board game, only interested in the things they can acquire before they die. For all the frustration I feel (the liquor courses through my veins as we speak), I can rest better knowing that I am a unique individual who is poor, but in a way superior to those who buy into the latest theory on management and economics without so much as a thought. I’ll sleep well tonight (not just because of the liquor – that’s just to remove the veneer of frustration) because I can see the pixels, and moreover because I want to see the pixels.
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