It was a guessing game with no winners. There could have been winners but no one was ever motivated or courageous enough to chase after the people who were the pivotal pieces in the game.
Through the salt stained windows of the big house by the sea we would watch people passing by on the path that ran parallel to the ocean and guess their professions and make up stories: “She works at a bank but does escort work on the side’’, “ He works as an insurance salesman but dreams of becoming an opera singer”, “ She is a housewife who has just murdered her husband and is plotting her escape”… and so it went on.
Early on in life we develop the ability to judge in order to make sense of our world. We judge others and then later we start judging ourselves, usually without even realising what is happening. We formulate stories according to our belief systems and we are so often wrong, yet that doesn’t stop us. By labeling someone with a profession it’s as if we have been given some magical insight into understanding a complete stranger.
I have a friend and words bother him for this very reason. He thinks words are a hindrance to the essence of just ‘being’. I see his point but I love words. However, it’s interesting to ponder, would humanity be better or worse with no spoken language? If we were all raised by wolves? Would it be less chaotic? Maybe.
This friend of mine loves doing nothing. In fact, he has devoted much of his adult life to doing nothing. He believes that doing nothing is under rated.
After some years working in a variety of jobs including getting paid to hang out with real live penguins and tourists; he saved enough money to build a little house, where he lives a simple life dedicated to doing nothing.
But it can be argued that nothing is actually still something. His nothing consists of playing musical instruments, reading books, contemplating the human experience, walking on beaches, fossicking in op shops for old collectables and avoiding social interaction as much as possible.
If I had to define my friend and label him, what would he be? Within his doing nothing, he fits a variety of non-nothing titles: a musician, a philosopher, a collector, a hiker, a loner, a dreamer?
I have been thinking about this lately. If I am no longer a painter then what am I? I am writing, but does that make me a writer? And what about the in-between time when I am not painting or writing?
When I am alone in nature, words don’t matter, they really don’t. I don’t have to be anything, I just am. And it’s wonderful. But back in society, in the game of being human I find myself wondering lately, what am I? And it’s interesting to observe, from the inside looking out because some days I don’t even know if I can guess the right answer anymore. And maybe, like the people passing by on the footpath, my answer can change day by day. Maybe if I spend enough time away from society, then I can be the girl who was raised by wolves.