It’s odd to be a Londoner abroad. Or any city-dweller for that matter. Looking at local life beyond your metropolis and knowing how small and meagre a re-imagining it is compared to the crazed and fiery life of millions of people clinging to one united concrete haven. Aware on top of that that the natives call this parochial stasis civilization. All the life they know is herded into strangling borders, nailing them into place and into self. Butterflies, or wasps, pinned under dusty glass on view to the panopticon of similar cases that house the rest of the hive.
But who are we? Not some alien breed. Not some segregated other drawn from urban blocks to gaze at specimens. Nothing so grand. We’re insects ourselves – our hive bigger, more chaotic – in our imagination perhaps even freer. If we look at their narrow homes with pity though how do they look at ours? Our confines where we are unknown and unseen, our cases buffed to a dull sheen but finished with frosted glass to keep hidden forever ourselves and our own. Busy in solitude even if we warm ourselves on a million vibrating heart beats around us.
That’s the thought that halts our travels and silences our judgement. The though that cuts us adrift from our wryly knowing observation and anchors the urbane to the isolated. Obscuring the differences and leaving us to wonder whose way is sunk most by its’ frailties and when, if ever, we should start running from both.
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