It’s Sunday so I don’t have to work. I sometimes enjoy my day off but I often spend it drinking and trying to forget about going back to work the next day. My neighbour, Stan, usually drinks with me when he’s not out chasing tail. He’s about 20 years younger than me; probably about 25. He still believes in the dream of meeting a woman and having a relationship and kids and all that shit. He has no idea that they don’t give child licences to the lower classes like us. I love the naivety of the young.
I visited my grandfather last Sunday. He’s 85 now. He looks like he’s 105. Every time I see him he tells me how lucky I am to live in this age. He talks about homeless people being all over the streets and crimes being committed in broad daylight. He says the best thing this country did was break away from the bullshit democracy. He thanks the ruling classes for coming over and showing us the way. I used to argue with him, telling him that I would have loved to have lived in a time with freedom of speech and a five day working week. But now I just listen. He’ll be dead soon, not much point in arguing with him.
My first assignment after school was to work in a clothing factory. I thought it was okay but boring. I figured I would be there for a couple of years, do a good job and then get a better posting. I ended up being there for twenty years. Then I got put on a share farm. I thought I hated the factory until I got to the farm. The past seven years have aged me terribly. I asked Stan to guess my age a while back and he said 60. I didn’t get mad with him. I thought he’d guess 70.
I remember in history at school the teacher used to talk about how shitty our country was before we broke away from America and England and all them. A bit like Pop, he went on and on about crime rates unemployment and homelessness. I used to try and get under my teacher’s skin and bring up the right to vote and freedom of religion and how our behaviour wasn’t as regulated or blatantly controlled by our rulers. He once kept me in after class and told me to be careful. He told me that I could get in a lot of trouble if I was reported as being a capitalist. He reminded me of the Blue Trials that were held to out capitalists when I was a kid. I just shrugged and thought he was an idiot. Perhaps, if I’d listened to him, I might have got a better placement after school.
Now, as I down my sixth or seventh beer for the day, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if we kept our political model. It’s a pointless exercise, I know, but it doesn’t stop my mind from going there. I could just as easily be a rich business man as I could be a poor labourer. I don’t really understand how people were given jobs back then. Pop said the old system was designed for the rich people to stay rich and the poor people to stay poor. He said that he got to vote for who he wanted to lead his area but all of the choices were rich, white people.
I suppose, if I was born a couple of generations earlier I would have followed the path of my ancestors and been poor. I would have picked a rich, white man to decide the big decisions for me and I would have worked in shithouse jobs like I do now. It probably doesn’t matter either way. Both systems were designed to keep my sort at the bottom of the pecking order. At least the crime rate’s down and we don’t have homeless people anymore. Maybe I need to listen to Pop a bit more. I suppose I should be happy for what I have.