Suspense and Suspension

by Chris Bisson

There is such a profound surrealism to tonight.  Waiting in silent halls in the middle of the night for the world’s most powerful people to determine the future of humanity feels like one is an ant atop a raging freight train.  The Earth literally hangs in the balance.  The fallibility of humans becomes startlingly evident, almost adolescent, in the face of its power – surpassing all else, in the direction of planetary functions.  There is a stark new reality to face, that we are all collectively a force of nature.  But this force of nature is not governed exclusively by gravity, charge or pressure, it is also moved by imagination, reason and social structures.  The girders and sheets of metal that enclose this conference centre I sit in has birds flying around in it.  Has wind flowing through it.  Feels cooler – damper from one space of the structure to another.  A self contained world, the one in which perhaps the thoughts and dreams of these negotiators live in.

Not simply to be in such an exclusively human world, but to be in a suspended space.  Accounted for – badge numbers register my position in a zone held for transient people.  Transient attitudes.  The vacuum hush of air, the plastic smell of cubicles, the refined chill on my shoulders all surrounded by guards and guns and fences.  There is a lonely quiet, a few murmuring conversations around, the hum of cars, gentle and sometimes scurried steps of dress shoes.  Collars, pencil skirts and ties, but also t-shirts and tattoos.  Procedure, decorum and protocol, but sloppy spaces of beer bottles, trash and coffee stains.  So many people on so many different clocks.  A timeless timezone bound by reality, cloistered by abstract legal procedure, packaged and movable from one place to another.  Where is spaceship COP floating around spaceship Earth?

This all makes me wonder, as the empty halls filled with sleeping dreamers waiting for the global elite to decide the fate of the Earth, what world is it we are trying to save?  The one I sit in feeling perplexed and confused, or the one outside?

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  1. […] Bisson writes from Durban in the final hours “There is such a profound surrealism to tonight.  Waiting in silent […]

  2. […] Originally posted Dec 9, 2011 in CYD […]

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