As I rode on the bus to work this morning, I peered out through the foggy windows and sniffed at the rain-sodden air of a frosty cold morning. On the bus, every day, were commuters just like myself - groggy eyed and bitter about going to work, trying to steal an extra minute's worth of sleep on the ride.
And maybe because it was a Monday morning, just like the hundred and one other Monday mornings before this, or maybe it was because I sat down and watched Shawshank Redemption last night - that I somehow realized we don't really need to be in prison to be prisoners.
After all, it is uncannily similar. We all wake up at the same time, every day - we report to our bosses, we spend a day's work in hard labor - we eat when we are told to, we take our breaks when they are allocated, we go to bed at set times and we have to submit applications for days off. Unless you are your own boss and life is relatively easy for you, masses of other people who live the life of a drone, day in and day out - prison is a term best used loosely.
We are not really truly free. We are always prisoners to society, conforming and adapting to the standards and expectations of what the community wants. Perhaps we are not free until we live like a bird, doing just what we love, whenever and however we want to. Me, I feel free in a sense when I am cantering off on horseback, or when I am simply strolling along the sidewalk hand-in-hand with the person I love - when I am doing something I thoroughly enjoy and choose to do out of choice, and not because I have to pay the bills.
What would we do without our imprisonment? What would we do if left stranded all alone on a completely deserted island - no need to work, play or hunt for food - what would we do? Perhaps most of us would feel lost, maybe even desperate.
I want to break free - I want to do things I want to do, recklessly abandoning all consequences, I want to go far far away with someone I love, I want to wake up whenever I want and I want to work hard because I choose to enjoy the work. Reality is harsh, they say - but so is prison. And escaping from prison is no mean feat - and trying might kill me.
As we all shuffle into work at the same time, dressed in drab tones of grey and black, like a pack of penguins, like clones from Star Wars, perhaps, in a way, we are all already institutionalized.
Labels: life, ramblings