A Tiny Question Of Dubious Importance

Today I stumbled over a little pebble on my road. I had gone this way many times before with senseless pride within the river of my peers, but never noticed as much as a tiny bump under my soles. The definite unevenness in the pavement had never hindered my routine of walking in a straight line towards my goal. But today it made me stumble.

It is as if that little pebble had been pushed up just a bit, just enough to catch my foot. It is as if something down there had risen from the underworld, and on its hunchback that unevenness had been given the opportunity to grow. That little pebble had caught my foot as I was walking firmly and made me fall.

It twisted the rhythm of my walking so sharply that I found myself tumbling, wildly gesticulating and finally falling flat face forward with the million pieces of my shattered dreaming sprinkled around my humbled self arranged in a perfect circle.

It took me a good while to gather my thoughts and to realize what had happened. While the bruising on my body was negligible the event had sent a shockwave through my system. The adrenaline rush had heated up my forehead and my pulse was racing as if I had just finished the Boston Marathon.

I looked around to find out if somebody had noticed my mishap but to my relief I saw everybody else still walking busily and distractedly towards the destination of their routines. The misery was mine and mine alone. I rubbed the two reddish scuffs on my knees, checked my elbows and then tried to clamber up on my two legs again to continue my journey of duty. But I found myself unable to rise from the ground. As if gravity had increased tenfold my limbs where heavy as lead and they clearly didn’t want to obey my command.

Again I looked around to my companions, this time longing for a helping hand. Their determination had transformed to indifference, some sent stern looks in my direction and I became aware that I was rapidly becoming an obstacle in their paths. Still I was too shocked to become alarmed and a wave of curiosity overwhelmed my civil reasoning. What was that little culprit of my falling?

The unevenness seemed to consist of a small pebble wedged between the cobblestones. I pulled myself up on my knees and crawled towards it. With my thumb and forefinger I managed to pry it lose and I held it up in front of my visual curiosity. It was roughly pyramid shaped with a triangular base and three sharp ascending ridges. These latter ones must have been the reason it had managed to lodge itself so firmly into the crevice between the cobbles. I slid my fingertip gently over the serrated edges and my eyes continued to examine the rough-hewn surfaces. The even sided one, obviously the base of the miniature pyramid, had a coat of dry mud encrusted onto it, so I started to scrape it away with a notion of distracted tidiness. To my great surprise the face underneath it had been polished and started to shine now in a deep and brilliant black. Into this perfect plane there was an etching and once all nicely cleaned up, three letters stared back at me and triggered the very instincts of my intellect. It all begun with the letter W, followed by an H and then ended with a Y.

All I was left with was a dizzying turmoil of pondering, luckily I was already sitting down! The fall had triggered the questioning of the very reason for my actions, the very source of all existence.

It was all too obvious that I had been running. Driven by an imaginary need I had decided to join the crowd and participate in the race. It had been a deliberate and calculated decision. The remembrance of what it feels like to run under a life long contract of condemnation had started to fade and since this is the cruel destiny of the overwhelming majority of mankind, there was the clear duty of re-acquaintance. Because, and I must put it in very simple terms, the privilege of living an ecstatic life of joy and fulfillment can only go so far until it collides with the dull misery of 97.3% of mankind, who live in material or mental misery, or both. What is it that makes us such willing participants in this short-lived experiment with blind consumer comfort? Step away an inch or two and you see the myopic madness in this race of systemic exploitation. But few of us do step away. Will we really learn to curb the craze before we’ve grazed every corner of our plane down to Easter Island doom? Why? Why?

Few of us do step away! I was left sitting by myself while around me the madness continued unabated. Everybody running wanting to be amongst the first to arrive in the holy land, and nobody wanting to be left behind. We had successfully conquered most of our natural enemies and now we busy ourselves madly fighting imaginary ones. I look at the few new friends I’ve made, participants in the race, kind enough to show me the rules of the game, the basics, the ABC of survival that makes the madness bearable. They are cheerful blokes who all raise families with hungry mouths to feed and schools to pay. Hence their motivation is a simple one: fulfill your paternal duties or become an outcast, pay the consequences of your carnal lust or face emotional doom. Bliss, harmony and peaceful contemplation exist only in their dreams. But what about me? I, who have chosen to become a fulltime outcast and have found happiness and inner peace, what am I doing here as a willing participant in the race?

I have mentioned the imaginary need and now that I have succumbed to it and cowardly declared it real, I have to bear the pain it brings upon the soul. I have signed up for a temporary slavedom and I better not complain. The wind around me is picking up, blowing dust and debris in my face; and one more glance at the pebble in my hand is enough to show that the human touch on it has weathered. It has become once more just a very ordinary pebble. I carefully put it down on the ground where I had found it. It must have been in fact nothing but a test of my determination to see this adventure through to the end. I calmly collect my bodily coordination, realign my joints, tune my tendons and frown the fibers of my muscular motivation, before slowly rising to my feet. The crowd has thickened and the flow of grey clad workers grown too strong to resist. Very deliberately I start my walking, adjusting the gait to match the ones of my peers. Before me in the distance but rapidly approaching the factory gates are swinging open ready to swallow us all. We are marching, now hand in hand, one synchronized brotherhood towards a predetermined destination.

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3 Responses to “A Tiny Question Of Dubious Importance”

  1. Thomas nielsen Says:

    Noooooo!

  2. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    Se que no s facil pero estas haciendo lo mejor que puedes para enfrentar este monstruo de la economía y el corre corre diario.

  3. Thomas Says:

    Did you at any point consider keeping the pebble as a reminder of your epiphany? It is all too easy to become consumed by the very system which we rebel.

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