The colours caught my eye, I couldn’t help myself and looked down at the box moving away on the conveyer. The automated belt was loaded with individual serves of pre-made dinners, large bottles of soft-drink, single serve flavoured yogurts and plastic wrapped frozen food I didn’t recognise. A man loaded the items into his trolley, stacked it to the brim with what most people consider to be food, but really, it’s not food, lets be honest here, it’s just processed food like product catering for an audience that either doesn’t want to make an effort to eat real food, doesn’t know any better or totally loves and subscribes to the system in place. I paid for my eggs and butter and walked home through a lifeless concrete car park followed by orderly footpaths. I’m in familiar yet unfamiliar territory here, but I’m making do. Life has changed and I find myself in a place I never imagined I’d end up. I’m living in a regional city again. Short term, a necessity, some sort of forced recovery.
I scrambled eggs in butter, added home pickled jalapeño, backyard parsley and sat alone at my small wooden dining table. Not a sound other than scraping of cutlery on my plate. I forgot to put on music and I don’t own a television so there was no background noise to break the excruciating silence, just a simple meal and thoughts I can’t turn off.
I’ve been called a cynic and a nihilist on more than one occasion, and I understand why. It’s not like I want these eyes, I’d rather be ignorant at times, but they’re there, they notice the details of the world I exist in and provide plenty to ponder. So much of the western lifestyle doesn’t make sense to me, the capitalist consumer culture is celebrated but its hollow, it destroys more than it nurtures. It lacks purpose. A walk through a busy mall or buying basics at a supermarket has me asking, how did we get here?
The food issue which I’ve been observing for too many years just seems to get wackier and wackier, like an experimental new drug that gets trippier and freakier and won’t wear off. New products that defy logic, and the masses gobble them up feverishly, no one asking questions like “what is in this” “what am I eating?” I don’t care as much as I used to, I don’t believe change will happen like I used to, the whole debacle just bothers me less. I literally care less. I’m tired of the issues around food but I’m equally tired of the health warriors and their wacky and unmaintainable extreme lifestyle approaches. I just focus on real and simple. This approach is still very appealing. My heroes are people like immigrant grandmothers that cook traditional seasonal dishes and have never heard of the most current food trends, those that would scoff at high end food establishments or cheap processed food meals. Chard, dill, onions, feta, ricotta, pastry, spanakopita making kind of people. These are my people, the minority now.
The very concept of what is real is toyed with so much now, it extends well past food. It used to be more obvious, but now lines are well blurred. Social media is unreal, with our filters, face swaps, basic people doggy ears, and gender face swapping filters. Who is real now? What ever happened to someone just being themselves. We also apply filtration to what we post, we leave out the ugly side of ourselves, instead we share pretty images of a life we know people will aspire to. We hide personality flaws, mean streaks, coldness, spitefulness and just show pretty scenes as they appear in our life, because that’s what makes people like us, and that’s what’s important right? People liking us? Writing this post is sure to piss someone off I probably don’t know other than in a digital online sense. Do I care? No. How does someone liking me actually have any impact on my life? Simply, it doesn’t, so I don’t mind being real, sharing honest thoughts, even if they aren’t as pretty as a perfect sunset. Social media has given the human population a platform for people to be fake, curated, and the cherry on top, its a tool for people to share their unwanted opinions about each others personal lives, political persuasion or lifestyle choices, and we actually listen to them. We consume it and we seem to love it. The hatred and vile commentary on social media posts is amazing. Take the time to read through what people take the time to write. The yelling at each other, the hate, the offence of it all. It’s amazing to witness.
Is this us now? Is this who we are for good? It’s so surface centric, it rarely digs deep into what we are, and who we could be. We believe and buy into insta famous lifestyles. We want that fame, everyone is famous, everyone wants to be heard, but who is listening? Don’t we just scroll down so fast without reading the words anyway? We just consume images now. So fast, so light on the details. It’s as nourishing as the processed food on the conveyor belt.
I’m worn out, I see other people are too. People are walking away from social media, taking long breaks to re-group, to recover, to focus on the real things in their lives. I think that’s healthy. I’m chasing beautiful things in the real world. They’re out there, those beautiful human stories, traditions, relationships between people, food, adventure, nature and quietness. Small moments where you can rest in a forest, close your eyes and just listen to nature. No human noise, just peace. I’m searching a life with purpose, life that is very real, even more real than before. This is what matters, this is what I find beautiful. In a world of fast and fake, I’m attracted to slow, honest things, real people, real food, real ‘live in the moment’ moments. Exploring things I’ve never seen, tasted, heard or touched. This post probably makes little sense, I know, I still ramble a lot, but for me its about taking steps. Healing steps, explorative steps. Moving in any direction, anything other than standing still.