Work….does it strike you as weird that there’s this thing that most of us hate – and yet we have to compete to be allowed to do it, like an odd sort of board game your uncle brings out on Boxing Day. Throw a six and you get to spend twelve hours a day in a prison shuffling papers, or de-feathering chooks! But of course, what we actually want is money. No money without work, right? But suppose you got paid a living wage whether you worked or not?
A few weeks ago about eight of us rural hicks tooled down to the Community Hall to watch the film Free Lunch Society (we had to bring a plate – does that count as a free lunch?). BUT, said a particularly suspicious woman afterwards, if the government PAY us, does that mean they CONTROL us? Be that as it may…what would you do, if you didn’t HAVE to? (I guess I’d write, and clean house for old ladies. I like old ladies.)
Turning from one kind of dream to another, is there something wrong with us ladies, the way we hoover up all these novels about brooding, muscle-bound billionaires who force us to submit to their cruel desires (granted, we LIKE being made passionate love to by hunks, who wouldn’t? But the whole point seems to be that we DON’T…and yet we must. Sick…or what?) Do you like being ordered around? Or is it a harmless game, like…having a thing for anal porn?
I’ve been reading a lot about domestic abuse (research for my current novel) and have experienced some…it was not particularly sexy. Granted, there’s a rush when a guy wants you so bad he throws you onto the bed and ‘takes’ you…IF you’re in the mood. It palls, though – especially when you wake up in the night and put your hand on his leg and he throws a tantrum because he’s the one who’s supposed to do the taking. I’ve had a guy put his hands around my throat. I’ve had a man force sex on me. I’ve had a man – six foot four and full of muscle, as the song goes – jump up and roar at me. For a while I tried to fix it, as women so often do… We say men need to change – they do, and maybe so do we. Perhaps self-respect, autonomy, the right not to feel afraid – is more important than love. Maybe we need to learn to put LESS value on love, to care a little less…the new feminism?
I had a German backpacker here lately. She was lovely, but she wouldn’t watch the news! Why not? Because she said it was depressing…you can’t change anything, after all. You can pick up your rubbish and turn off the lights, but what can you do about Them – better to look away. So what’s the difference between living in a…what’s it called?…oh yeah, democracy…and under a dictatorship? The power to choose between Those and Them, once every four years? And what if THEY take over while you’re not looking and next thing you know…bam, you’re in the Third Reich! Maybe it’s our duty to keep looking…what do you think?
Poor old democracy…I was at the markets the other day and bumped into Suspicious Lady. Again (well, it’s a small place). “Our local council,” she said, “is completely corrupt and useless!” “Yes,” chimed in her grandson, a bearded lad in his twenties, “I’d rather we had a monarchy. At least kings aren’t tied to any particular interest, and they’re trained to rule, right?” If even Generation X want Henry VIII back, are we in trouble?
And on a personal note, I just ran out of water. I’ve got two rainwater tanks: one’s empty, the other nearly. When I walk around, the grass crunches like straw. City people I know have been telling me they’re looking for boltholes…little hideaways in the country where they can hide from the collapse of civil society, when climate change has fucked us all up. On board as I am with this plan…how common is it?….I can’t help thinking, yes, but what will you do when your tanks run dry. What will we all do?
Well, I ordered up a water truck. An acquaintance bought a house in New Zealand. Hard to imagine that any of this borderline survivalist stuff will be required…but I admit, my dried up creek, and the tanks, have me spooked. When the river runs dry…