Shite. Or, life as we know it.

This is not about angst, existentialist or otherwise. Angst is about worries and repressed beliefs. This is about...resigned frustration. And hopelessness.

This is what you get when you're walking along on a sunny day, not too hot, with a slight breeze, just enjoying the vibrancy of people out for their weekend shopping, while dodging playful kids and strutting teenagers, and even smilingly rejecting marketeers rather than just curtly walking past.

And then you stop when you see a young-ish woman, slumped in her wheelchair, raising a melting ice-cream cone agonizingly slowly with her one unparalysed arm.

And you watch her single-minded focus on that mound of strawberry flavoured coldness, as she ignores everything else - the heat, the rest of her crippled body, her eager parents who hover ready to help her out, the pitying stares of passersby.

And you cannot bear to witness the delight, the simple and pure joy that breaks out when she finally does get her tongue on it, all by herself. It's too strong - the emotion makes you feel like a voyeur...no, like a thief. Like you're taking something away by even witnessing it. Because this is her victory - this simple act of licking a cone of ice-cream.

And you instead look at the parents, and notice the years of hope and pain and frustration and anger and disappointment and weariness ingrained into their faces. You try to, but you cannot imagine how it must cut through them, to watch her react with so much happiness to such a small, small thing, and to wonder yet again (and despair, yet again) of how much more she would have enjoyed other, bigger things.

And though at that moment, you feel buoyed by the strength of the human spirit, buoyed by the grit and determination that all three of them possess, by the love and kindness the parents give her, by the sheer joy that she feels....

despite all that, you hate an existence where this exists.


You hate an existence where that woman goes day after day after soul-devouring day without the use of her faculties, just through some freak of genetics. And you hate that there are millions and millions of people who cannot see, cannot hear, cannot walk, cannot hear, who have cancer, who are in a coma, who are have allergies, who live in fear of their heart and their blood and their skin, and who knows what else.

Every day.
Every single day.
Every moment of every hour of every single day.


And no, the "This is life, and this just how it is" argument does not work here.
The "This is what makes life what it is" concept is not accepted either.
Nor is the "There has to be the bad to understand and appreciate the good" premise.

Those sentiments are made by us, to make us feel better about our luck, about the life we have. More precisely, about what we have more of in life than others do. Those platitudes are created to justify our most fundamental desire - to live. And to persuade people away from having the right to doing with their lives what they will - including, if need be, ending it.

This is not about the unfairness of it, unfair though it is.
It's about the sheer pointlessness of it.

The pointlessness that you know that you will have to face this if you choose to live, and you will have to live by only occasionally thinking of them, because otherwise you just won't be able to bear it. Or otherwise, just block them out completely, except for the random donation given when the guilt manages to break through occasionally.

The pointlessness that, even if you get the opportunity to work with/for them, it will be through a little-by-little approach, because the overall picture is so overwhelming that you will be forced to focus on the here-and-now, the minutae, to have even a hope of retaining your hope.

The pointlessness that, say what you will and do what you can and think how you try to -
it will still be there.

This is our hell.


I love Lucy said...

I felt the same frustration when my mother was diagonised with Breast Cancer.The only thought that ran over and over in my head was "Why her?"But there was no answer of course.At least nothing that helped me make sense of the situation.

Revealed said...

So let me inject some of what might be termed insanity but isn't really (at least it isnt if you read this carefully three times before replying). This isn't hell. This is a glorious opportunity to understand! To learn about stuff. This is like the biggest experiment ever and you have been picked to be an observer. How can this be hell? This is like just awesome, dude.

The Bride said...

I loved the way you wrote this - you said you could not imagine what the parents felt but I think you conveyed a lot of what they possibly did.

I have to say though - it depends whether the person (whether blind, deaf or otherwise challenged) is so from birth, or if they lost the faculty later. If it's the former -yes they are missing out on something but you really don't know what you're missing until you've had and lost it. So it's us, as people who have these faculties and cannot imagine losing them, who impute greater tragedy to the situation. For a person who has never seen or heard, there may be other joys, other pleasure and we have no access to those. This is just a thought - may not be the case at all.

And then it's a bit like the 'better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all thing'.

??! said...

you're right. so right. and good wishes for your mother.

ok, so we're observers. in hell.

this isn't about denying their right to life. or emotions. it's just that...it happens. and it shouldn't.
if somebody wants to cover their eyes and enjoy the world that way, fine. but to be born blind, without an option? nuh-uh.

Revealed said...

Sigh. You are missing the point. One suspects you were an Arts major.

??! said...

And you've been reading a few too many Raymond Feist's, one suspects.

Revealed said...

Tsk tsk. I do not borrow.

??! said...

apologies then.
but you forget, one cannot be the observer, when one is in the experiment oneself. Rather messes up the whole experience, no?