Attention Seekers & The Struggle for Silence


My next door neighbour, J.D. Cornfield, works as a shoulder blade sharpener. I can't remember when he painted his Garapa garden decking green and blue to mirror the sea. I know it made me nervous, tense, and drink sour milk. The man is a blatant attention seeker. Each morning, at sun rise, he can be found sitting in a lifeboat in his garden, its bow directed towards my kitchen. He wears an orange life jacket, and vigorously rows while shouting or blowing a whistle.

His facial expression is usually one of fatigue and anguish. Sometimes he sees me and throws fish into my garden. Then wails in a voice, stern and provocative: 'This sea is poisoning my life!' 'You think you're a big-shot!' 'Hey, you in the big house! Big-shot! Watch out for sharks, and women who smile and take you for a sucker!'

I watch this little man navigate imaginary waves and seas, and think I'm experiencing a film in slow motion. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether someone is laughing or screaming inside. Sooner or later, the shallow, amenable, myriad of persona one adopts each day, must crumble for the sake of one's sanity. The illusion of indispensability, the pressure to conform, to be respected, loved, is a shallow pier.

I have a charming, shallow house. J.D. who continuously craves attention has a transparent home. Each room has glass walls. Some are frosted, for example, the bathroom and master bedroom. Only curtains obscure the view from the least observant voyeur. He installed CCTV cameras (inside and outside) to watch every movement he makes. I believe he has a website devoted exclusively to thrill-seekers detached from reality. The number of subscribers is frightening. And yes, I watch with darkened gaze.

J.D. has a desire to be noticed at all cost. In fact, he's just an empty train fastened to an unused railroad track. And there's no shortage of trains.

To my dismay one of our interior French doors is starting to dress, and speak, Dutch. I stand and stare at the doors like an idiot. The dog is playing the piano; something from the Canine Composer Series. Now I understand how silence sometimes struggles to be heard.

A face floats before me like a plate of Tagliarini with courgettes, prawns, mint, and chilli. In fact, it is food. My 'present' wife, Mona, has thrown my lunch at me. Her face has cracked, and the dreadful anxiety of her thoughts are laid bear. 'Nothing happens around here except what's in my head!' The dog keeps playing the piano.

I notice the sky is overcast. J.D. is rowing with conviction, and going nowhere; throwing fish, torturing himself. The dog tells me that it wishes to be potty trained. My wife says, grimly, 'I can't be bothered. You're an empty restaurant. You'll never amount to more than a short walk around the docks. '

Suddenly, I feel my life has structure and meaning. I feel a strong connection with the earth. I look down. My wife has smeared the floor with 'high quality' super glue. I'm barefoot and, for the foreseeable future, not going anywhere.

Reflections: Most of the time we are acting without being aware of it. In the end everything becomes jaded and dissolves. Surviving life and work requires considerable hypocrisy. Sometimes honesty can be a luxury.

The future looks bright for the pharmaceutical industry, so keep plenty of water at hand to help swallow their pills, whether you need them or not. Also, the banalities of self-help books are embarrassing, and rootless, and foster the illusion that fulfillment is easy, which it isn't. When I feel calmer, I intend to potty train the dog, and cook some of the fish lying in my back garden.


Susan Deborah said…
So many ideas: Hypocrisy, Attention-seeking, Life, . . .

They are yoked together in violence (Am quoting what the crevices of memory show).

I struggle to think where I fit.

Joy always,
ronnie kerrigan said…
Hi Susan Deborah,

My post was triggered by a number of issues and topics which seem to have a life of their own, and to my mind, not always to the betterment of humankind. There is usual a dollar sign attached. Think "the pharmaceutical industry, the arms industry".

The on-going daily enhancement of media - the internet, facebook, twitter, YouTube, multiple digital TV channels, etc - create the ideal environment, not only for attention seekers, but for marketers and advertisers to target advertisements to individuals as they surf "individual pages" on the Internet. Also, to monitor mobile phone users, and do likewise.

Where is "so-called" society heading with its blind acceptance of unwarranted surveillance, and sensitive data on individuals (including health records) being made available to central databases which may end up on the Internet to download for a fee.

We have potential employers (and others?) scouring the Internet to find out details on individuals: their interests, hobbies, marital status, travel, jobs, income, political and religious affiliations - the road goes on forever.

Most smart people do not post their true views on the Internet for it may come back to haunt them whether it is in prose, polemic, or video.

Issues like hypocrisy, dishonesty, the myriad of persona individuals adapt daily are nothing new. It's how we - as individuals - respond to them that is important.

My post is satirical but some times attempts at humour make people think about topics for themselves, and not as an illusory collective.

Take care & best regards
And thanks for dropping by

Susan Deborah said…

New template looks great.

Your detailed comment is worthy to be a post itself. The views you have expressed sound quite scary.

Take care.

Joy always,