Monday, November 23, 2009

Cultural Sleeper Agent

There are main roads all over the city, and they follow the same basic formula: houses, service station and an occasional Indian or Chinese takeaway.
But on this particular stretch of road, something was different. Perhaps that it was that the bricks of its mock-federation homes were of a hue more drab than usual. Or perhaps it was that the layer of grime on the service station window was slightly thicker than its innercity cousins. Whatever it was, as he sat on the bus he got the impression that this was the original suburban main road; a blueprint from which others were built. It was an arterial road, but this was not the only anatomical metaphor that applied to it. It was a vast pathway that made up the neural network of the suburban mind; a code on which the middle class desire for stability and predictability were writ large. The end product was an exercise in offensive blandness.
The main road was also a sort of waste chute in which undesirable innercity types were whisked quickly and efficiently away, leaving their sanctuaries of parks and wooded avenues undisturbed.
That said, suburbanites would have little to fear from his fellow commuters-docile suits en route to the glass boxes of corporate estates. If he had shown his usual attitude to dress he would have drawn stares, but today he had assumed their guise. He did not see dressing fashionably as conforming in his case. Rather, he saw it as a concession he made in order to infiltrate and create havoc in mainstram society. His suit and tie amplified his capacity as a subversive force rather than inhibited it.
The bus sped on through the overcast morning, cultural sleeper agent inside.

Sunday, November 8, 2009