Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2014 Contents C9
Thursday, December 11, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
I came across some beautiful orchids
in a mall recently. They had bright purple
flowers with pink and orange highlights
on long graceful stems punctuated by
lush green leaves; it was the kind of per-
fection that stopped me in my tracks to
marvel at nature s beautiful works of art.
My heart sank as I approached, when it
became evident that they were plastic.
"Did they pretend to water those plastic
plants ?" I wondered. It was strange, they
were still arguably as beautiful, but the
fact that I knew that they weren t real
made them worthless to me.
The scene in the mall was terrifyingly
surreal. Above me was an expansive artist s
rendition of a beautiful blue sky with
patchy wisps of clouds painted onto the
Stretching out in front of me under the
buzzing fluorescent lights, down the mall s
main avenue was an imitation of a venetian
canal, complete with gondolas and boat-
men dressed in red and white striped shirts
with the typical hats gliding past.
They poled their crafts down the canal
past the main luxury brand consumer
stores under this beautiful artificial sky.
It didn t feel real, felt disoriented. I had
been wandering in search of truth, and
now found myself lost in the twenty first
I walked on past storefront windows
full of carefully posed lifeless plastic people modeling
the latests clothes. The intrinsic value of what
these clothes did was no longer of importance.
The fact that they were designed by someone
whose opinion on how clothes should look this
year made them exceedingly more desirable. Inside
each store, plastic caricatures of femininity in
similar clothes worked behind cash registers and
counters wearing fake hair, false eyelashes, spray
tanned and bleached skin, fake facial features,
coloured contacts lenses and augmented body parts.
A cacophony of hollow sounding fake laughter
rang out in the halls as I wandered past groups of
people trying very hard to be dramatic and funny.
I strode on past the disingenuous smiles and awk-
ward fake politeness. On past false bravado and
insecurity masquerading as loud, brash affectations
I saw others that constantly flashed practiced
poses and grimaces of artificial exuberance in front
of cameras. When did we start trying to look so
happy in photographs? I remembered when old
black and white photos captured real people doing
real things, just as they were; as if to declare "This
is me now?" It felt lonely being surrounded by so
many fake people.
Up ahead of me in an open area there was a food
court in which the fake people lined up under bright
colourful signs for fake food; material from factories,
devoid of life, health, love and pride.
My attention was drawn to crescent shaped
crowds of people that formed around the bright
flashing images on television monitors that told
them what to work for and buy at regular intervals
in the crowded mall.
On some of the monitors fake people pretended
to be real, while others showed scripted reality tel-
evision. Some even read the "news." Highlight reels
of fictitious heroism from athletes faking greatness
and hard work with drugs stirred some of the crowd
into patriotic fervor. Apparently it was a holiday,
one of the many ironic holidays that endeavour to
commodify the best of human emotions in ways
that inhibit their expression.
There was the background sound of music in
the mall, but was it really music? It wasn t played,
but rather made according to a formula, the melody
cheaply ripped off from the soundtrack of an old
movie or ancient nursery rime. The lyrics seemed
to be of little importance, and as for the voice,
with the advent of autotune it could have been
anyone. It was the kind of music that was more
about image than sound.
Fraudulent politicians and governments were
making false promises and pretended to be every-
thing to everyone. Wars were fought for fabricated
reasons. Bogus money was being printed. Phoney
religions sought to maximise control and their false
prophets made nebulous and magical claims about
the afterlife, healing and enlightenment.
It was like a nightmare that I couldn t wake up
from. It is only through confidence, individual
empowerment and consciousness that one can
reemerge from the pervasive fakeness and herd
mentality into reality. We are all lost in this twenty
first century. Quality can t be faked, make your life
worth living. Are you really real?
• Reflections returns to its normal
place on Tuesday, December 16
Are you really real?
It was like a nightmare that I couldn't
wake up from. It is only through
confidence, individual empowerment
and consciousness that one can
reemerge from the pervasive fakeness
and herd mentality into reality. We are
all lost in this twenty first century.
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