These days, the first one of a couple to retire may well find themselves in a different dynamic. No chance of having the house to oneself, of sitting in the study alone surrounded by books – the office space is shared. Music not-of-choice scratches from The Worker’s laptop. No chance of practicing the piano during work hours – that would be too noisy for The Worker in the next room. So would cranking up the stereo to play the Rolling Stones at adequate volume. Now, the retiree does whatever he can to free up the house, or to get The Worker back to the office.
First World problems, as they say. Be grateful etc etc. Sure, okay.
But there’s a bigger, more intractable problem at hand. The ‘What are you going to do today?” question, innocently posed over breakfast.
Superficially, it’s easy to answer. Plant out the seedlings. Measure up the next stage of the wine buffet I’m building. Walk the dog, maybe go for a ride, or go to the gym. In my dreams, a coffee with a friend – sadly friends are thin on the ground these days.
Underneath, the answer is not so easy. Find a way to stop the march of the censors? Tackle the conflict of interest of health professionals regulated by AHPRA? Protest at the globalist power grab by the WHO? Hose down the climate hysteria? Fight the proposed laws on so-called misinformation? Be honest with myself about the probability (i.e zero) that officials will repent for the atrocities they inflicted in the name of safety? Or the probability (i.e. strictly greater than zero, perhaps approaching 1) of a repeat performance that will make the last 3 years look like a clumsy rehearsal?
Like I said, not so easy. Some heroes like Australian doctor William Bay are battling AHPRA in a rearguard action to save the doctor-patient relationship for all of us – let’s hope he succeeds in his High Court action.
The truthful, stark answer, for me, to the question “What are you going to do today?” is “Pretend.”
Pretend to others that the only things on my mind are the aforementioned seedlings, and walking the dog. Pretend to others that the ‘news’ of the day, in so far as someone tells me something they learned to recite from the mainstream media, is of any interest whatsoever (other than, of course, the fact that it plots the course of the ‘narrative’). Pretend to others that I can’t foresee travel restrictions (not really very difficult, given the metastasizing ULEZ cameras in the UK), food scarcity, energy poverty, among other things. Pretend that I’m not livid with anger at the trashing of our cities, our freedom, and our humanity.
Pretend, that is, unless and until I find ‘others’ who might not be shocked or dismissive of my perspective. Like someone I met a few days ago putting up a Forest of the Fallen installation in my hometown. In any interactions now, I’m looking for any chink in the other’s worldview that might hint they have an alternate take on the narrative. At the first such hint I drop the facade.
Then it all comes bubbling out, an uncontrolled firehose of remarks, while I scan their face for signs of agreement or at least receptiveness to what I’m saying. It feels good to have an honest conversation where the reality of our experience is not dismissed.
The Forest of the Fallen gives a voice (so much in fashion these days, apparently) to those who have been injured or killed by the injections that were forced on us. They are direct physical casualties of the war on the public, and just a fraction of the indirect casualties that our society has endured – businesses and wealth destroyed, hopes shattered, grief unconsoled, celebrations immiserated.
Perhaps we’re all pretending. Perhaps there are people who are pretending and hoping that the news reports are true: of rising heart attacks in young people being caused by breathing too hard, or sleeping too long, or sleeping too little, or that you can get a blood clot from eating the same fruit daily.
Perhaps we all know what just happened, but we are all pretending that it didn’t, from one of two perspectives – either pretending that everything is normal while actively suppressing one’s suspicion that it isn’t; or knowing everything is very very bad and actively disguising that knowledge with plausible cover stories when we encounter the other perspective.
Either pretending that I didn’t personally ostracise or coerce or shame someone, while knowing in my heart that I did; or pretending that someone I love didn’t do that to me, while knowing that they did.
Either pretending I’m growing food because I’m retired and need a hobby, while actually suspecting that future disruptions might threaten food supplies; or pretending that lockdowns and supply chain chaos and panic buying will never happen again, while privately wondering if a backyard potato crop isn’t a bad idea after all. Two perspectives, one veggie patch.
At some point, the two perspectives must collide. If truth ever emerges from the collision, either the pessimists will be relieved, or the optimists horrified. Let’s hope it’s the former.
In private, I’m not pretending.
Republished from the author’s Substack
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