The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


Time Enough

By Oliver Jones

“It’s about time I stopped and stretched my legs” I thought with a synchronised yawn and a glance out of the window. Light rain, funny, all I could see were blue skies; they dragged me to the door drunkenly shoving a
mobile around my neck.

At that very moment the notion hit me, for that brief moment my lung expands with gratitude full of fresh yet cold January air, I am in a network; a network of unknown quantities, one that consists only of other super
monkeys, mirroring my exact movements. Invisible bonds that connect us, invisible bonds that modern conventions have tried so hard to sever. Dividing us up into static, regimented platoons, defined by hay bales and plaster, we are a hive of bees hanging to our individual rights above a vast bowl containing a soup of singularity. Humans are social creatures and our technologies reflect that. Break us apart and our wires crawl out like the roots of fungi in an ancient forest, connecting us beneath the soil.

Right now, I am touching the network, feeling it in my nerves, I may leave my house but I may never remove myself from the database in which I voluntarily placed myself. Slow at first, profiles, friends’ lists, pictures. Then blogs, bank, work and car all follow me, a weightless weight on my shoulders. Even if I wanted out, the people I meet throughout my forecasted life will fill in the gaps I do not want to.

A spark of rage, a feeling of building the dream home around you only to realize that it its lovingly selected materials are all variations of Perspex, in addition, you devised no exit. What to do? You may remove the
mind via a bullet in the head but not the body, not the profile. Feeling this mobile, like a noose around my neck and I am barely two meters down my quaint concrete garden when I decide this day, is to be lived like it is my last.

Tearing the wretched device from my neck and setting it up for recycle, letting it fall to the ground, the mobile quickly graces its new bleak, solid, habitat with small, needle like dandelions that swiftly collapse around what now resembles a caterpillar wheezing and twisting, slowly burning to death. A shudder dances up my spine, this device that contains my genome taking one last squirm, one last breath. This must be what self mutilation felt

Impossible, no. What I am laying whiteness to is consequence of chance, randomly firing microwaves that I, as a stupid human am associating with stupid human attributes; furthermore I have no time for this mildly amusing
spectacle. This day will not wait for me and my legs are hardly even adjusted to this upright position.

My feet with me in tow are headed for a remote place, a place that as a teenager I used to climb trees and fall in love with authenticity. By chance I would wind up living close by but never revisiting, out of fear? Definitely, it would be of no surprise if those trees where gone, now synthesised and far more efficient yes, but now exhaling and inhaling, so slowly it’s barely noticeable, but distinctly eerie, I so used to love to climb.

Grabbing the fence post I hurl myself over the barbed wire, for a brief moment my feet bid farewell to the pavement before being met with a sudden thud of soil. This is a shortcut, today I’d rather not endure the market
stalls, their blinking lights and directional adverts subtly screaming at you for attention, they make my head pound and palms sweat, my mind unwillingly absorbs the junk that merchants spoon feed it, such a dreadful waste of thought, I am no baby.

This quest for tranquillity, a place to hide from the manufactured, the engineered, is tinted crimson with fear. What if that place no longer exists in modern society? What will become of me then? Outcast, wanderer, a kook, children come at me and ask questions for which I supply no real answers while adults strategically tack around me. Sailing boats avoid shallow waters, Adults don’t like taking risks. Why on this day, the day that is to be treated as my last would I head toward a memory? Have I been a skipper who has sailed in my comfort zone, but now finds that the winds have not been to kind? The idea lingers in my cortex, starting to crackle, again I feel the
anger, my nervous system starts humming in my ears, I am about to run.

At this point the local farmer lets two mean black hounds of their leash. He and his dogs has been shouting at me for a few minutes now, ever since I vaulted into his pig pen during feeding, I have not yet had the time to emerge from my thoughts to deal with this pressing issue. But the pigs have long since scarpered, I was about to follow suit anyway.

Hurdling fences at my age? Feels easier that it should be, in addition I am sure that I escaped from the jaws of these same hounds some fifty years ago. Seems they have gotten a lot faster since then as they are practically snapping at my heels. Hurtling across farmland through fluffy clouds of white Chick-hens and an angry mob of Bowl I feel the rush of euphoria as I dive down the valley into a damp muddy forest, I almost don’t care if these dogs maul me right now, if the future is so bleak, why not give up when my head bares a stupid grin up amongst the clouds and my muscles are burning coal? Suddenly I feel a vengeful jaw lovingly embracing my ankle, I fall face first into the mud, I almost forgot.

Grow old they said, but for how long, for whom? Life expectancy is increasing at such a rapid rate I am sure to hit two with double noughts. Would hate to be old for an eternity, to lose my body and dive into a database.

The dog is still latched on to me; I feel no pain, yet. I almost casually reach down for it, grab its head, and twist. The beast in its last moments gives up a feminine yelp and falls limp. I promised that I would live today like it where my last. That means I will not give up, not today, I am fearless. Its partner is stood some distance away, just looking at the scene before it, its dead accomplice, still baring its fangs, latched onto me. The stream that trickled just behind me provides the soundtrack as this once ferocious animal starts a very human cry.

The promised place of my memories lay just on the other side of this stream and up the ridge, leaving the departed lovers behind, I start to climb. I should be feeling a scathing pain in my ankle around about now but
somehow, I feel numb to it. I left something behind in my garden today, something more than a mobile but I somehow departed with it.

A memory, these stupid human memories that make the past seem so perfect, like viewing an old house from far away, come to close and you can see the torture years unforgivably ravaged it with. Here lay that old house. Dark and rotting, in agony and past its time, even the trees that befriended this home and complimented it with every sunlit hour for years, now with shame, keep a cautious distance. I am fearless, the thought fluttered in my head. This house needs to be put down with dignity, much like an old dog, past its natural life.

Later that night, I would revel in the resulting glow of my new found philosophies here, the old wood now gratefully alive again in a beautiful coat of bright colours for a brief moment. I would only laugh my lungs sore and my voice hoarse, pause to contemplate the past before throwing it into the fire along with everything that will be lost in time beyond this point in my life. At this time I feel wealthy; at this time I know I don’t
belong here.

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