A post that is NOT about societal pressure!

So! I have been sitting here typing for close on thirty minutes or so, telling you all about my friend Marty and the dead tree out the front of our house, when, coming close to the end of my blog, I realised that all my words were in fact a rant about societal pressure. Perhaps I do not need to tell you, as you now realise you are not reading what I have just written, that I deleted it all! I deleted it, not because I did not want to share what I thought on this subject, as you may well know I have no aversion to making myself sound opinionated – even on topics for which I really have no opinion (and that there is the true telling of an opinion sharer – they have none, yet share it anyway!) but I have no intent of droning on about society, values and expectations, not today anyway (we’ll save that for the day I feel like boring you all to death – and please do not feel safe, that day will come) because as I was reading back through my post I realised that, astonishingly, it was not entertaining (not that what I have decided to say will be any more entertaining, but who knows by the time I get to the end, knowing me – I may become lost in another topic altogether!)

Yet I still want to tell you of my friend Marty, because he has left such an impression on me that even though I knew him for barely five minutes, and at this point remember his gorgeous little puppy’s face better than I remember his, I still am thinking about him three days later. So perhaps I will merely impart some facts that I found fascinating, and you can decide for yourself where the societal pressure lecture would be inserted.

We met Marty while we were camping. Marty lives in the tent next to the one that had been our site. That’s right, I said he lived there… does that surprise you? (Society’s Imposed Value Number 1 – Oh sorry, I did say I was going to let you decide for yourself!)

But to cut to the point of my story, Marty, the tent dweller, woke up each morning, showered and shaved, had his T-bone and Bundy for breakfast and then went to visit his children. Each afternoon he would pull out his white Stratocaster, plug the amp into the barbecue power socket, and play for all the camp site to hear. One night we invited him to dine with us (ah, and we had only the best sausages and burgers that Coles does sell!) but he had already eaten, at a rather fancy restaurant to wit, and at this I laughed. For how could a man who was forced to live in a tent afford to dine at restaurants, play a Strat, and eat T-bone for breakfast.

The simple matter of the fact is that he wasn’t forced. He chose to live there. As much as my family have chosen our three level suburban home because we love it, he had chosen to live in a 2 person dome tent, with only a handful of belongings which resided in his disintegrating panel van (that is all except his guitar and amp which took pride of place in the back seat of his brand new Mazda!)

Think about it. Societal pressure. Values imposed by peers. Expectations of the common. No doubt you can see how they all fit into this story. I do not think I need to explain myself as much I had in my previous attempt at introducing you to Marty.

And the dead tree which was mentioned in my opening line. Well I didn’t really get around to talking about that, because it really had nothing to do with Marty, it was simply another expression of Societal values in the fact that some people who reside on this street see nothing in the barren tree but regret for the leaves that are long gone, whilst others, myself included, see only a history so full of beauty amongst its craggy branches that it would be a shame to chop it down. The tree was simply a metaphor for our friend Marty, and one that no longer plays a part in this story, now that it is a story of facts, rather than opinions.

Have you ever thought about it? The force which makes us see things so differently from our neighbour, and yet so much the same as too many others, that is societal pressure, and that is what this post is NOT about!

See, I told you I’d change subject by the end of it!

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~ by Alissa Anderton on October 27, 2009.

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