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TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER

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07.15.14


What if, in the future, we could walk anywhere we damn please, without a fear in the world?

I imagine myself, an old woman, walking at night in a city where no one is afraid to walk at night. As I walk, music beams from open windows and porches where neighbours gather, chatting, a loud cackle here or there. The trees are full of bird song and solar lamps wink on and off. The skyglow is minimal; you can see the Milky Way.

In the world we made out of necessity in the wreckage of that last century, havens emerged from near-ecological ruin, wherever we re-organised ourselves according to the principle of sharing, rather than a division of labour based on gender or location, so that expectations and assumptions were recalibrated to accommodate peopleís potential. Over time, despite episodes of violence wherever people attempted to dominate, these islands of consensual peace became eventually linked into something called the commons, where necessities like water and space were not owned, but shared with each other, each humanís right. No longer proprietors or servants, we were stewards of our present and ever-unfolding future, our tumultuous past a teaching reminder of past societal ills. In a world where people share, no gates, no fences, no ghettos exist. Instead, everyone has a bed and a seat at a table, and there are gardens, libraries, and playgrounds everywhere. On the road, you can amble, loiter, shuffle, dance, whatever you want to do. You can walk anyway you want, with whoever you desire, in whatever fashion you like. The road is yours, and everyone elseís.

In this world I imagine, my elderly self can go wherever she wants at night, without a weapon improvised from a domestic object. The night is hers, even in her old age. She wanders the streets, untroubled by the sounds and furtive movements of night; there are no terrors to imagine. She wall-reads and moon-gazes and stops to look at cats in windows. Once in awhile, she has a conversation with a passerby, a stranger, or a friend. When three unknown men approach, she will eye them, say hello, never feel the fear she knew as a young woman, because potential is different in this world. Every night in the commons, she makes up new itineraries with her feet and verifies that, yes, walking is a practice of freedom.






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