Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reclaiming The Uncertainty of Hell

Somewhere inside of a day spent just doing this and that and hanging with my boy D. in and around Pretoria I called the Guru with an important labor relations question.

"Hullo yes.  What?" is perhaps the warmest greeting one can expect from the distant spiritual one.  He is after all often too busy being godly to be remotely cordial.

"Are you feeling better?" I asked.

"Yes I am almost there."

"I'm confused.  Are you not the one who keeps company with the gods and, therefore, should be immune from the ailments of the earthbound?" I asked between sips of steamy coffee shop cappuccino. 

"Yes I do but not everything can be avoided.  What is going on?" he breathed through still clogged passages.

I asked my question and he sighed heavily.

"What the f*ck you gonna do in that dusty town now that you quit your job?  Don't you know that the grass is never greener on any side.  Have you not tried this before?"

"Chief we run different clocks and value systems.  I am tired of the sh*t I put up with at salary hell and it is important to live for something than to just die slowly for nothing," I pressed in vain to the holy one who sees everything from inside a system that does not even approximate the complex systems theory approach that genius woman who now wears hijab explained to me on our way to Mount Hood one summer evening.

"You should put up with half of the stuff I do in an average day and you will be holding onto your job.  The grass is not greener anywhere and you just seem lazy to me," the Guru puffed.

"You let me worry about the grass chief.  I have seen it and if it ain't green I'll paint it f*cking green.  Later," I said and ended the call.

"What that coloured f*ck say?" my boy D. asked as he paged through a copy of Satre's "Being and Nothingness" he just picked up.  I repeated the pearls from the dutiful sage who knows heaven and its purpose.

"Forget that fool man.  He believes that little shriveled man was god and expects you take him seriously?" D. said in Afrikaans shaking his head in reflex.

I take the Guru seriously.  He is a good man and friend who speaks his mind.  Sometimes I like what he says but most times not.  Whatever he may dispense though you can be sure it is not just warmed over opinion.

He is as thoughtful as he is annoying.  

Like it or not, the Guru thinks I am making a beeeeg mistake to cast aside a well-paying, if even mediocre and uninspiring job, and do so without a five-year-plan or career briefing to "strategize for 'the what's next".

"I would really like to see your bank balance.  You must have more money than you show anyone.  What will you do for money?  Money is better than no money!  A job is better than no job," he said to me just weeks ago.

Whatever doos!  Money is not the be-all and end-all of anything in life.  Nothing comes out of living scared and living in the shadow of comfort you construct to keep you shaded from your fears.

I expect, no I know, you will find that those dreams you fondled throughout your thirties and discarded in your early forties still haunt you.

Is that living?  Fronting through your fears and setting aside the will to push another storyline over the tired over-played account that finds you thumbing (or is that numbing?) through the TV guide looking to escape the Jaws theme that plays in your consciousness.

Somewhere in Mangalore a few years ago I confirmed a truth about my character I suspected all along.  And that personal truth is that I simply don't give a f*ck about playing games, especially this game that is constructed as life.

Falling flat in Mangalore also made me realize that the most profound question I had ever asked and will ever ask was when I was seven and in conversation with my dad at our kitchen table.

"If there are so many poor people suffering in the world because they don't have enough money why not just print enough money for everyone," I asked my dad.

Four degrees later and a stop-start academic career and I still consider that question to be the most important deconstruction of what is constructed as life and value.

In a sense I committed metaphorical suicide that day in the kitchen of my tender years when I withdrew my consent to be cast as Sisyphus in their game of life.

I know you read here dude.  I know you probably shaking your head as your eyes mist over from the incense that follows your holiness around.

I told you a long time ago that when I retired I was going to join you on your stoep and remind you that you should have f*cked more and f*cked up even more.

We not far from that stoep Hesus.  We may not make it there together but don't you just want to put the remote down and find that other dream.  Again.

And if we fail to make it into the gates of heaven why should we even care?  You know my ass will be bored with all that angelic virginal sh*t and finality.

Join me in hell here and in the afterwards.  In either hell, at the very least, there are still unanswered questions and suspense for living from moment to moment.  In the hell of the afterward we can join forces with Che and stage a revolution and send the devil to heaven where s/he can atrophy under certainty and all that fake ashram-like happiness.

We will teach that red mutha  to know that nothing, nada, and niks is certain in any context.  And then hell won't be such a bad place after all and you can drink all the beer and smoke all the reefer you want and marry as many strippers as you like!

Don't be scared boet.  I'll meet you there in just a few short ones.  So for now stop hiding under your satin bed sheets and start driving toward hell.



Kweli said...

Much support, my brother. Your words remind me of a line in a poem: are you barely breathing and calling it life?

Ridwan said...

Thank you kindly my brother Kweli!

The line says it all.

Peace brother,