Miniature inspired by Max Kolten’s “be a real man”
“The last thing the hero wants to know is that his beautiful words and weapons will be worthless without a bag, a container, a net.” - Donna Haraway
The sun cast a beaming, round coronation around his shadow in the late afternoon light. Standing on top of the hillside he sometimes came to for an after-work hike, he mused about the country he originates from: How the sun never attains such radiance there. How its mornings and evenings can become matters of several hours. And in the colder seasons, how the heavenly colors can dance sheer endlessly in ecstatic slowness over the gradually descending darkness of the more northern lands.
He felt a strong longing for his beautiful country and wished, as he lately always did during this time of the day, to have a dear person around to share his feelings and memories. A successful leader can feel so lonely among his subordinates, he thought in a melancholic but at the same time proud vein. The cultivation of proximity to dear people was something he never accomplished with ease. But since his country – to which he always felt like a traitor and disrupter – sent him to this honorable post in the far-off lands, social contacts somehow transformed into a personal nuisance for him. It simply was too exasperating to feel into the specific mind-sets of each individual in this sun-drenched world.
How was he supposed to deal with so much complexity and color and brightness on top of the burdensome tasks he performed for his country? Awkwardly at the beginning, he began to develop a behavior that felt like it was inherited from ancient, dusty history books (in candlelight), but which – as he thought about it – much rather came from the influence of blockbuster movies (and their flickering, colorful escapades). He felt like a drag, when he reiterated these learned patterns: Always act like as if the height of your body (he was about 1,94 meters) directly represents your moral superiority, the brightness of your skin your proximity to the brilliance of the sun, the brevity of your mannerisms your advance in authority. Act like it comes naturally. Act like it is natural. He had a fun time with his friends (if that’s what you wanna call people you fuck with in the dark corners of base-laden cathedrals) when they first tried out these weird performances. It somehow became a joke among them to snip half burned cigarettes at females who thought about cutting the cue at the toilets. To yell out in their faces: “Uuuh, I don’t want to see a pussy, it is so red and slimy and dark and … filthy”. When people looked irritated, they simply didn’t get their inside joke – weren’t part of the crew – didn’t understand the sophisticated parody they were performing.
But things change as they always do. Some friends became addicted, some bored, others boring. It was funny that most of his closer friends, those he really felt he could relate to, somehow came from wealthier families – like he himself. Only they seemed to really understand the problems he had. The struggles with derivating from the norm. The fights and fears of your parents. That you won’t be taking over the family business. Because you are not going to have a wife and a family and such things are expected from trustworthy people. In the beginning he took strength from fighting. He saw himself as a traitor and deviator with pride, laughed into the paralyzed faces of his seniors. But an identity built on mere opposition is frail, as he later found out. As his friends wore out. As he saw that they are not so much his friends as mere partners in crime. And once the crime was done, everybody went his way alone. He lost the revolutionary verve that agitated him in his youthful years. He took on a job, any job. First as a waiter, then as a clerk in some media bureau.
It was boring and wore him out even more. Any strength and pride he used to take from his being a renegade was lost to a numbing feeling of dullness. When his family took on the attempt to secure him a job, one that would “suit his family name”, as they put it, he just wasn’t strong enough to resist it anymore. He let it happen. And swiftly, with a few phone calls here and there, he had a well-paid job in the cultural department of his country – with good perspectives for promotion, if he proved worthy. In the beginning it was only under moments of huge stress that he returned to his weird drag performances of earlier days. When things seemed to get out of control, he made jokes and blamed the women on his stuff, saying they were simply too emotional under stress. These little quips worked – as intended – to lighten up the atmosphere. The women got more silent and efficient and he felt less stressed when he put the blame on others.
So, progressively, he integrated this behavior as his usual demeanor in work hours (and there weren’t really many other hours in his life to be honest). It made things much easier. Especially the women from the far-off-country put him much less under stress since he stopped trying to always be concerned and serious with them – and instead lightened up the atmosphere with his mocking demeanor. He saw it as one of the values of his wonderful country he could teach them: to not be too uptight about roles and posts. To just simply make a fun time out of it. However, less stressful time also meant more time to think. To recognize how lonely one is. When he heard about the complaints about his leadership style back at the ministry in his home country, he couldn’t believe it, simply took it for another elaborate joke in this very funny world of ours. But it still nagged him, made him think. He turned around and saw the elaborate circle cast around his long shadow stretching down the hillside. He thought about what he learned in the exhibition on archaic art his bureau recently co-organized: that in early mythologies, the sun was often considered feminine, as opposed to Latin and Greek culture. The warm, embracing, life-giving source – a mother. Somebody that cares, that is there before you, whose power is so vast, it doesn’t need to lower itself to fatherly commands, for it creates the scenery in which things then take place in a preordained way. He thought about the Voice Message of his mother, how she took care of the complaint issue back home – as much as she did with his career up until here. It was so easy to just break the rules of father, but how do you escape an environment somebody else has built especially for you? He instinctively shuddered. The sun set and he was alone on the hilltop among the many groups of day-trippers and city-strollers. A strange, cold, dark-blue sky loomed claustrophobically close above him. It was probably a bad idea to have come up here. It had only made him fall into the muddy waters of his doubtful scorns and worries. He took out his phone and checked for emails. There was a lot of work to do.