Monday, December 3, 2012

To Live Here

The following is a short excerpt from some writing I did months ago for a workshop and (as usual) never followed up on. Probably should get around to doing that... some day.

This is what it's like to live here.

The business district like a big grey ghost, swooping arcs of concrete set against the dim anonymous backdrop of offices and condominiums. On the newest roads, burning white streetlights interrogate passing cars. This is where the real money is made, in seventy-storey buildings with ceiling-to-floor glass panels that manage to reveal nothing: a jacket thrown over the back of a chair, the desktop computer in sleep mode. The thumbnail-sized figure of a lone cleaner, vacuuming miles of carpet at midnight.

At this hour the only people around are tourists stumbling back to their hotel rooms and foreign construction workers sitting on the pavement, tired out from working overtime, waiting for their rides back to the industrial dormitories where they sleep, eat, exist.

Where is everyone else? Asleep in the suburbs, slotted into thousand-unit public housing estates, side by side by side. Watching television alone in their living rooms. Drinking beer at the open-air coffee shops, one leg propped up on a chair. Filling in blanks, working out equations, memorising chemistry formulae for school tomorrow. Crying, fretting, arguing. Fucking. Fighting insomnia in the dark, listening to the neighbours rearrange their furniture upstairs. Driving home, speeding and swerving. Working on a presentation for the boss, typing up a resignation letter. But mostly, mostly asleep. Or watching TV.

Tomorrow, another day, same as the one before.

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