A woman of unclassifiable age lives alone, completely alone, in a tenanted building. A building buzzing with human life in all three cores, on each of its floors behind numbered closed doors that open onto corridors that lead to a communal lift and stairs. She never sees anyone, well, maybe in passing, but those chance encounters are so insignificant they're not worth mentioning, not even memorising as those faces barely glimpsed are never seen twice.
only when the postman, correction: post person, knocks she gets to
interact, briefly,with anyone, and even then she might open the door
and find it's someone else. A different person, very different in
height and features to the man or woman she expected, in that
unmistakeable uniform delivering whatever it is that couldn't have
been pushed through the slot of her ground zero postbox, the one that
has a Royal Mail sticker requesting that any Signed For items are
returned to the local depot if she's not home. Why she wonders do
these post men and woman change so often, almost as often as the
inhabitants? Are these particular flats really that bad? Or do they
get bored of trudging up, down and along these floors, and just
shoving mail into grey metal boxes? Perhaps they too occasionally
thirst for human connection, of the back-in-the-day sort.
how we talk of the past now, isn't it? Use phrases like this to make
us or it seem hip and happenin'.
then that bubble of thought bursts and she thinks she could be wrong,
no, is wrong to assume and thrust her own perceptions onto to others,
those she only knows in a fleeting form, as perhaps they too would
rather spend the day glued to their phones like all the rest, the
other office or home employed worker bees, instead of having to watch
where they put their booted feet or wheel and secure their trolleys
in all weathers. Such a job is thankless and undervalued these days,
she thinks. The role changed, so changed by the mail that's no longer
sent through these once depended upon channels.
then, so is everything else: altered, almost dramatically like a
stage set with too many props so that the audience's imagination is
rendered redundant, from the world she entered and grew to like. She
rages, inwardly and outwardly, about this often, mourns its passing
yet delays the funereal ceremony, her own personal goodbye, for of
course, others said their adieus whilst she was content to hang on,
has been hanging on for years, though the rope she dangles from has
become a thread. A strong thread, but a thread nonetheless.
gave the era a pat on the back and that was it. Over. A job well
done. Now, however, she's heard, you can't even do that, pat someone
on the back for that action might be misconstrued. Every day she
wonders what this world, this supposedly improved and improving
world, is coming to? Is it the End? Then she sighs, Ahhh, wouldn't
that be a blessing, before in thought she adds, for someone like me.
who doesn't like being pushed into changes, full stop, but
particularly when many don't seem to bring any benefits, other than
making us more estranged; estranged from others as much if not more
than from ourselves. And she doesn't believe that many, if any,
recent developments save time or make life easier as each new device
seems to be a further indulgence for the gratification now, less
physically active society. She gets a little high-brow up in her flat
looking down over humanity as if the people she sees are part of a
social experiment and she an anthropologist. Aloof, yet not apart
from the impeding disaster she thinks will one day befall: a mass
disintegration, where people are forced into a situation where
technology has no answers and neither do they.
she knows she's hopeless at what is termed normal, responsible
living. Clueless too (at her age!) though she gets by providing
nothing unfavourable occurs. She is no better off then from her
elevated view, and is definitely, through stubbornness, less modernly
informed, as well as almost entirely lost when it comes to such
matters that would once have been labelled 'Male'. Independent, as
all women claim they want to be, and yet resourceless.
Picture credit: The Castle of the Pyrenees, 1959, Rene Magritte