Pigs in Paradise

Strange ritual, this gorging on holidays. Course after course – for we have paid dearly for them – slides down the hatch in habitual response to colors, textures, tastes. The floor is flagstone; the chairs in this grand old hotel are plastic, of all things; service is efficiently and politely provided by those I’m sure would rather be home celebrating with loved ones.

I’m a victim of my own awareness. These feasts always leave me uneasy and confused about motives and directions. While I am grateful for good companionship and superb views, I cannot will blinders. This is not a routine I was born to in this life, nor is it one I necessarily embrace. Classes, divisions, exclusions. Employees who are not allowed to pack unserved leftovers home to their families. People paid to smile and offer mandated authenticity, though I couldn’t blame the bulk of them for resenting what they, themselves may never experience, save vicariously.

Brunch ends at 2:30 sharp. Having spent years in the restaurant business, I note nuances in exchanged looks between the help; urgency in dark eyes. Carts are wheeled high with equipment designed to please finicky guests; plates are stacked and filed; food is discretely portaged away to be dispensed of in whatever manner the establishment sees fit. An elder friend among us relates that it is donated as pig slop, but I wonder about guilt, selective hearing and the wasteful truth.

We live amidst bounty juxtaposed against the backdrop of phenomenal waste; mountains of refuse alongside pristine beaches and bikini-clad tourists intent upon iPhones, flocking not to the spectacular vistas of rainbows and whales breaching in the background, but to the warmth of sun and impeccable service.

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6 comments on “Pigs in Paradise”

  1. Great post Bela ! Social commentary like this is evident in a great book i read by Edward Bunker ‘ No Beast So Fierce ‘ check it out – ‘ Truth and fact are cousins not brothers.’

  2. if people could see themselves as others see them they would be humiliated!

    • Aloha Ronnie, and yes. I think you’re right; only people who move through life without self reflection likely make excuses for their behavior without batting an eye. We are at such a critical juncture in human evolution, I don’t know how it’s possible to ignore quite so much. Yet some of us still do, despite all the obvious (at least to me) wake-up calls going on around us. Sigh.

  3. Hi Bela,

    What jumped out at me is your closing para and, I quote:

    “We live amidst bounty juxtaposed against the backdrop of phenomenal waste; mountains of refuse alongside pristine beaches and bikini-clad tourists intent upon iPhones, flocking not to the spectacular vistas of rainbows and whales breaching in the background, but to the warmth of sun and impeccable service.”

    Very astute but have we tried to discover the cause for this divergence? To me, as we perceive ourselves living within the safety of geographically bounded countries and societies, we are actually fracturing into disparate countries and societies. For example, in India it is now quite clear that there are at least three “countries / societies” that occupy the same geographical space. One that is aggrandising all the wealth and resources and at the other end of the spectrum one that has to subsist as scavengers of left overs. Huge and increasing inequality all round. In the US, as we speak, 1% of the population holds 40% of the wealth.

    Misplaced consumerism. Skewed aspirations to catch up. Enhanced need to be better than thy neighbours.Your closing lines are but one of the many visible symptoms of all this.

    Great post, Bela.

    Shakti

    • Aloha Shakti – all points well taken. And I agree, divisions within borders certainly exist, and have existed, as long as recorded history. Only now, I think it’s far more crucial that we stop making excuses and start pulling together to resolve some of the critical problems of our time: water, poverty, clean energy. It often feels to me like we’re on a speeding train which is fast threatening to jump the tracks, dumping everyone on board into a big pile together. Then we’ll have no option but to call one another kindred and get over our perceived self importance.


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