Monday, 05 September 2016 19:31

Hello surrealism, goodbye reality

Salvador Dali had it right all along Salvador Dali had it right all along

Last week I came to a point that made me look up the word ‘surrealism’. Life just seemed more and more surreal as the week went on.

Of course, first of all I came across the famous The Persistence of Memory by the eccentric Spanish painter Salvador Dali. And then one of the descriptions of the aspects of surrealistic art and exactly what we seemed to be experiencing: the irrational juxtaposition of images.

Somehow the news all week had been surreal – a picture of a woman forced to take off her burkini placed next to one of a veiled Scottish policewoman, an insult-shouting Trump next to an insult-shouting Clinton.

Sure, let us make a huge deal out of clothing; distort the facts in oh-so-many ways and think of a few more religious and national stereotypes, because we really need those. The world is overflowing with people who’ve been displaced and are trying to find a home in a culture so different from theirs and we focus on what people wear at the beach?

Let’s focus on distorted, exaggerated quotes of the two possible leaders of one of the most powerful countries in the world, squabbling about who is more of a bigot. Really now? I kept reading the news, going “Really? I mean, really?!”

Then, when the week ended, I thought: “Phew, it must have been some crazy planetary alignment up there, to make everyone act this ‘out of whack’, thank God it’s Friday”.

I had one last phone call to make – to a ministry – my ‘favourite’ kind.

After half an hour of being connected, disconnected, put on hold, being reconnected, asked to call a different number, I finally thought I was talking to ‘the right person’ and asked my, as always, plain and straightforward, questions. 

The answer I got: “I am sorry; I am only a simple employee and not entitled to answer these questions”.

I suppressed my urge to just sit at my desk and cry and called the new ‘right number’ with no result. And then… 10 minutes later, I was called back by the same ‘simple employee’, suddenly answering my questions.

I hung up, notepad full of notes, smiled and prepared to get up and bang my head against the wall, asking one last time: “Really, I mean, really?! Is this for real?”

But then I remembered that there are people out there, getting all worked up about who covers their body in which way, about who will backtrack on how many promises if elected to lead an entire nation, and I decided, not knowing who is a ‘simple employee’ and who isn’t, really shouldn’t affect me.

Salvador Dali had it all right back then: The artist would attempt to enter a meditative state of self-induced psychotic hallucinations so that he could make more sense of things. Of this unusual routine, he wrote: “I am the first to be surprised and often terrified by what I see appear”.

But on second thoughts, I am ‘surprised’ and ‘often terrified’ by what I see as it is, without hallucinogens. Let’s just stick to the natural meditative state and hope that one fine day, some sort of normal reality will return.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

Email Me · Linked In · Twitter · Facebook