A House for Us
I walked into the museum and stared at the dinosaurs. They were beautiful in a strange and prophetic way because just like them, we would one day be extinct, reduced to bones and fragmented stories of our history. My mood is actually quite bright today, so I suppose that’s why I didn’t walk over into the history of war section and ruminate on man’s self-destructive impulse to obliterate everything in the name of race, religion or ideal. These days are good because I find myself able to enjoy simple things like food and soap operas. Normally I’m filled with such horror for the abhorrent chain of events man has found himself partaking in that I physically can’t do anything. The museum is filled with a lot of people today and there’s something about that which is quite perturbing. I’m not misanthropic but people do have a tendency to do stupid things and so it’s better when they aren’t around me because I can’t stand stupid people. I bump into a woman pushing a stroller because I’m so caught up in my thoughts and I apologise. * Eyes downcast, he shuffles away, his lips moving as he mumbles to himself. Typical Asperger’s kid, prone to neuroses and autistic behaviour. It seems I notice the small things a lot now that I know my daughter will grow up to be one. Doctors these days can detect the impairment from a very early age. Maddie showed incredible colour coordination and spatial recognition in a one year old. Apparently that’s unusual. I look down at my angel and she smiles at me, snot dribbling onto her top and drool trickling to her chin. She’s a mess, but her chubby cheeks make up for everything and when she laughs, as I wipe her face with a napkin, my heart fills with joy so palpable I think my chest might burst. Maddie takes the scrunched up napkin from my hand and ogles the fluids that smear its white surface. I like to believe that because she’s a highly intelligent baby she understands more than we do. As if, being so innocent and so unaffected from it all, yet so brilliant, she can see the hopeful truth in the inane. She throws the napkin ahead of her and a businessman steps on it. * I look down at my Prada shoes and see a napkin sticking to the sole of my right one. A mother and her baby appear out of nowhere and she is apologising profusely. I brush her off, dismissive enough to show my disdain for the inconvenience. The napkin is scrapped off and I leave her to throw it away. The museum is a weird place as far as I’m concerned. It’s this enormous building that houses all of mankind’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Every wall, space and fixture is used to tell a story and show gawking masses how it’s all connected. I don’t care for that stuff, though and anyone who does is an idiot. I mean, what’s so special about humans that we should even reflect on our past? It’s just the same thing over and over again. Love, hatred, greed, revenge. My brother talks about the evils of capitalism because it causes so much inequality, but he’s a fool. Evil is inherent to man and until we transcend and become more than men, we best learn to deal with it. The time is 12:08 and I have to be back at the office in twenty minutes. I start to head for the exit, whistling the Hawaii 5-0 theme because it’s the first thing I can think of. * That tune distracts me from my book and I look around for the source. I can’t see anyone, but the music lingers in the air and for some reason it touches me. It’s mellifluous, sonorous and very canorous. I imagine the man or woman whistling it to be a romantic like myself who sees the sublimity in everything. After all, a tune like that has to profoundly affect someone if they’re whistling it. I like to come to the museum because its cool and quiet and because there’s always something to learn. Earth has experienced so much in a relatively short time, comparable of course to the universe, so it deserves to be admired. Not everyone thinks like me, but that’s fine. I’m unique and how many people can honestly claim that? I hate the generic, not so much that I might hate a person for being generic, but rather because it’s what makes people think I’m a freak. It negatively shapes our opinion of others. The whistling is gone and that shocks me out of my reverie. I look up, stretching my back as I do and see a camera trained on my face. * The kid smiles at the camera. People always do that when they see a camera. I guess everyone just wants to be filmed. I’m not a fan of voyeurism, but when you spend your working day in a room watching people, you have to derive some pleasure from it. So I like to use the time to wonder about the lives of the patrons. The monitors are laid out in front of me four by four and I watch each screen directly for thirty seconds before moving on to the next with breaks every five minutes to zone out and think. It seems to me that everyone who comes in here is connected in subtle ways. Not everyone dwells on the connection, but it happens. Some eye contact, a word or just a brief encounter that stays on your mind. No ones right or wrong, they’re just locked together like a chain link and though they might never remember it, the moment impacts on their day which carries over to the next link. My phone rings, it’s a private number, and I answer it.
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