Someone Else’s Life

Photo collage of man on platform bed in chicken wire room with birds on wires by Mario Savioni

My Iranian friend suggested that it would take 20 years for the process to take place, but I surmised we were almost there, now something like coronavirus would be introduced to speed the unfolding. We are at a mad race to zero that is, from “the greatest nation in the world“ to that which will exact the lowest wages and most strenuous work, for many jobs will evaporate.

We thought living in barracks and working 14 hours was bad, the treatment of screams, like a concentration camp, and people telling on each other to those with the power to flip you off, or even shoot you for rebellion.

We thought the lines were long in the depression. In 2020, there will be no lines. Your $11,000 in unemployment will evaporate as fast as you can drink Voilà. If you are lucky, you will have enough money to buy your meals of raw vegetables, put them in an Igloo, and drive to your work site, sleep in your car between the four-day, 12-hour increments, and then schlep back from your three days off, again with vegetables for your meals, and remain quiet, holed up somewhere.

There is no loyalty. It is only life or death. Sisters will will turn on their brothers, and brothers will eye their positions at these factories, as their only hope as the assembly lines kick their asses, and then kick them to the ground. If they aren’t the fastest, most flawless compliant worker, there are millions eager to take their jobs, their cars, their Igloos full of raw vegetables.

This is the stuff we saw in movies, single men watching TV in coffin-sized homes stacked in darkness, poorly-ventilated fragments, and separated by chicken wire. You had to be close to your jobs, and everything else was stolen. Lucky if you had some place to lay your head, lucky if you had something coming in. But, this upheaval was predictable even without the introduction of COVID-19. We should have known with our leaders not recommending masks, that the intention was to sicken as many as possible, to clear the ranks, so that the government could take social security, and pensions, then property, and money. Broken lives would surely follow, and with everyone in shock, they clamored not to save the country, as it was, but themselves, for they could see what was happening before the first outsourced human.

The sweat from the bedsheets kept the mind thinking.

We move in cycles as peoples, from top to bottom, and through many lifetimes and lucky geography later. But, there are no Americas to discover, and finally on the backs of survivors, some lucky “feudal“ men and women will be able to stem the chaos that will ensue. A predicted “Reign of Terror” will befall us, as Sartre said, politicians will rise and then be slaughtered and mostly hoarders will be carried off or shot when their breaches are witnessed.

“It was only two years of this,” he said, “but what were the transitions people made? I only saw my own adaptation and opportunities. The whole picture was too much to take.”

We only saw these stories from the heroes’ eyes, we never saw ourselves as extras, the cast-offs in a film about someone else’s life?

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