I found this in a repertoire of old writings, a true story which I wrote down after I came home from it. This is about two years old, so it is a little immature (although don't quote me on that, I'll fiercely deny ever being immature). It's only been edited for syntax, links and such.
Don't expect to read about anything grand, anything that will at least attempt to actually liberate me from this self-consuming Leviathan that is the society we live in. I do simple deeds of deconstruction, a little bit of anarchy here and there. I try to tell myself that I'm putting that one grain of sand in the mechanism, that one that will make it grind one day, overheat and, hopefully, explode, but in reality I'm just too much of a coward to go all-out.
What symbolizes our society more than the daily routine of going to work to consume to work to consume to work and die? And within that routine, what better symbol is there than the commute, especially mass transit, and especially the subway? We've all seen those accelerated videos of masses of working men and women streaming through the hallways and in the trains to and from work, where whatever little identity we had is totally consumed in an ever-moving colorful mass of nothingness.
At the subway station I get off at to go home, there are three doors that you have to walk through to get out in the open. I don't know how it is in other subways around the world but in this particular line you have to actually push the door to get out (which isn't always the case). Anyway, at my subway station, one day the door in the middle refused to work as well as it used to.
As I walked up the stairs, I could see some business woman pushing it once, giving up and moving on to the next. Then, as networked automats would, the crowd split in halves and everyone started streaming through the two other doors. You can expect what I did, I tried my hand at the middle door, and it wouldn't give in. I took a step backwards and rammed it with my shoulder, at which point it easily gave in, the mechanism was just a bit rusty, and it could be opened after all.
For weeks I kept pushing my way through that door while everyone left out through the easier doors, until someday someone filed some form and some workers were dispatched to oil the door up or something and it went as smoothly as the others, and I stopped caring about the whole thing.
Until, yesterday, I came home and found that, this time, the door had been surrounded with flashy green and white tape.
Everyone was walking through the other doors. However, I reached through the tape and pushed the door. It opened without resistance. I muttered something about Franz Kafka and stepped over the tape, walking through that door, and climbing my way through more tape on the other side. Sure, it was easier through the other doors, but that kind of statement is my way of de-guilting myself about being a productive, consuming member of this society I claim to despise.
Anyway, tonight I come home, and I see some pieces of torn off green and white tape, only to see it replaced by more red and white tape. I tried the door again and again it functioned perfectly. I cursed and then began to tear the tape off. I walked out the door and began tearing off more tape in a quite comical way since the long bits of tape were spiraling in the wind and I desperately tried to grab it and tear it all. When I finally did, I spun round and saw that a cashier or something (guy who sells tourists three day tickets in garbled English) had been staring at me from inside his bulletproof box.
I had been planning to anyway, I walked up to the box, still clenching flashy ribbons of tape, and said "The door works perfectly fine."
"Who do you think you are to tear off that tape?"
"Who cares, the door works perfectly fine."
"The tape's been put there for a reason. You don't know what it is."
"You can't tear that tape off like that."
"Why not? All that matters is if the door is working or not, not that some guy who works here had a reason to put tape around it."
"You don't know why that tape's been put here, you can't tear it off."
For some obscure reason I felt like I was talking to a wall so I walked off, throwing the tape in a trash can. As I walked away I heard him say that next time action would be taken.
I like to think what I did was also a symbol of what I think we should do, i.e., some playful and ironic deconstruction of authority in the little things.
At least for a start.
Now that I look back on this, I can't help but feel condescending sympathy for my former thoughts and this angsty, post-modernistic bullshit story. At the same time, I can't help but see that it's still more mature than the usual angsty crap you get from the typical teenager. I can see seeds of the more nuanced views I now hold. I will probably feel the same when I look down on my current writings some time from now.
At the time, I was mentored by a philosophy professor from the far left end of the political spectrum, and not only does this story reflect the anarchistic views I held, but that I also still hold, in a way. Before being taught by a far lefty I was also mentored by a far-right philosophy professor and the one thing that this experience has taught me is that every political system is coherent. Each has truths, and I still can't disagree with the basic observations of anarchist authors about what the advent of modernity, an era which I otherwise admire, has done to our personal freedoms.
Now, it does not surprise me so much anymore that such an absurd tape would've been put up. The most likely answer is the fear of litigation from somebody hurt by a malfunctioning door. Contemporary rampant litigation is something which deserves another angry tirade, but I barely considered that motive at the time.
Anyway, this "old" document is what it is. Personally, I actually like it more than I would've thought. What it shows is more than my maturity or lack thereof, or post-modern anarchistic political philosophy. Despite the changes my intellect has gone through in the past years, my character has remained globally the same, and this moment of introspection is also a moment of pride. I consistently show contempt for authority. It is not a contempt born of insecurity, resentment or frustration. Instead, it is a healthy, joyous contempt born from confidence and—if I may say so—superiority to the standards for and by which most of society's meaningless rules have been established.
We make decisions affectively and we justify them later with reason. It never works the other way around, no matter what great lengths we go to to convince ourselves that this illusion is true. A neuropsychologist would tell you that we think that because the center of decision is really in the right side of the brain and the decisions we make there are later wrapped up with logic in the left side. He'd be right, but he'd also be wrong, because a writer born centuries before the word neuropsychology existed knows this and will tell you about it a way which is not just a lot better, but also a lot more useful.
Among the things that happened in the past two years, I moved. The subway station I live by is different, but it still has a set of doors you have to push through. Every once in a while, someone pushes a door, it won't open, so he gives up and goes through the next one. Invariably, I try and open that reluctant door. Invariably, it gives in to even a slight push. If one day one of the doors was taped up, I know that, despite my moving past adolescent ideologies, despite my awareness of rampant litigation, I would behave exactly in the same way that I did two years ago. Today, instead of anarchism, I would find an other ad hoc ideology to wrap my actions around. It doesn't matter. I realize that the more I change, the more I stay the same. For better or for worse, and despite the humility I try to approach life and people with, I am who I am, and if you don't like it you can fuck off. If you put up tape and expect me to respect it for no good reason, only as a societal taboo, you are mistaken. And if you ask me for a reason for ripping that tape off, you won't get a philosophical tirade.
You will get a laugh and a smile.