If the Social Contract were a song it might be Hotel California; you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. The theme has strung itself through several nights of sleeping stories for months or maybe longer. Last nights motel room had two exits protecting a tired truth in a locked cabinet under a keyboard. One door opened to a dark hall of curiosity and confession represented by a woman peeking in; anxious to lay responsibilities on the carpet where I was quickly gathering a pile of drawings I didn’t want anyone to see, I was resistant to letting her in. Go away. Not now. Closed doors eventually receive knocks despite the signs we place outside them. The space you are occupying is an old and dusty mess. Particles everywhere.
What is the difference between confidentiality and confinement? Privacy? Shame? Motive? Manners? It likely boils down to whether or not we have a choice and whether or not we’re equipping ourselves to see the full spectrum of those choices. We need a nanny. We need a bigger house. That outfit needs a little sparkle. What was I supposed to do? Tell him what really happened? Think of the consequences. Because it was a dream, I could see through the walls of each room into their hearts and mine. Don’t find me out. I want to leave. Unburden me from ways of men and mean. What time is tea? Where is the help? How are we defining that today? They don’t know either. Until someone picks up where they left off to wrestle with an ancient bear.
The door behind me was ajar revealing a whiter, lighter world of services, sidewalks and shops. Not a single thought could be heard among the attendants, baristas, clerks and consumers rhythmically exchanging time for money. Her eyeball was still peering into the narrow crack as I stood between two worlds stuffing impressions of my self into a safe. I don’t want to be responsible for what you’re going to say. It’s nothing new. They try and try but the tracks are paved in tar, brick, cement. It was something about a minor moral infraction yet she cowered, whispering his err like a provincial child tattling to teacher. Her demeanor, more than the tasks now dangling from this futile episode of semantics, was the greater aggravation. Romper. Stomper. Bomper. Boo! I see you said, he said, she said. And oh what? Here lie the bones of lazy Fred? I was not going to cover my face with a colander and shout out names nor did I care to walk through door number two; a path which appeared to lead only to various forms of different enslavement, otherwise known as debt by enforced participation. What if I don’t want to be assigned a number? What if I don’t like the room? What if I don’t want to bring you more towels? What if I’m allergic to the soap? What if none of the beds are just right? Who gets discounted? Veterans? Children eat free the elderly, the handicapped, no pets allowed and the stars. Attempts to pretend we’re anyone other than who we are is simply an adjustment of cost. Someone is always manning the front desk.
There were no exits but thankfully, there is awakening.
“In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from where there is no exit but as a limiting situation which they can transform.” –Paulo Freire