A three-year-old boy stands five feet before me in Harrow Starbucks. He haphazardly motions his body in a fluid mixture of funky disco dancing, and random combat with the air around him; like some form of crazed ninja warrior. I am impressed, and wonder what would happen if I suddenly decided to copy his actions? I already know the answer. Another boy of similar age joins in the festivities; creating a force of silent union as make believe superhero air fighters – parading in a sense of reckless abandon. It is a beautiful sight to behold, because it is the one thing in life I always search for, yet rarely find - genuine.
Throughout the rest of the building, around fourty or so adults – of varying societal groups, ages, cultures, and classes, sit with serious expressions; appearing as if they cannot figure out where they lost their own sense of raw energy - or maybe are too wrapped up in the never ending list of adult issues to even think about it, or simply don’t care; It’s hard to decipher those who think for themselves, from those who only think that they do. Right now it’s irrelevant, for all I see are these two children; in this building right now - including myself, they are the only two people, who are truly free.
To these infants, problems are non-existent. Skin colour is meaningless. Power is merely a word they cannot even spell, let alone understand its meaning. Money on paper has such little value in their eyes, you could leave a stack of £50.00 notes beside the empty toilet roll container, and they would happily wipe their bottoms with the Queens face, and then flush it down the drainage system. A pencil or a penthouse, are just toys to pass the time with. They don’t need narcotics or alcohol to hide from reality, only to eventually try to escape the same addictions to regain the same place they initially started from. They never suffer the debilitation of depression, stress, or issues of self-esteem. A copper, a cleaner, or the President of the United States, are all just adults to feed their inquisitive minds, and – besides the parents who create their lives, they have no desire to impress anybody, anywhere, ever. Finally, more important than anything else, to them, image is meaningless - fun is paramount.
I watch these boys play a little more. A decade from now, they will likely enter these walls as moody, sullen faced teenagers; awash in a passive aggressive conditioning to look, think, talk, walk, and act as everybody else does – even if it is nothing like the person they are deep on the inside. Fashion, music, governments, propaganda, media, celebrity culture and the like, will silently dictate the paths of the lives they were meant to live, destroying the freedom via a means of creating reasons to separate ourselves from one another, even though we don’t really desire to do so; dystopia is alive and well, we just convince ourselves we cannot see it. They won’t even know it, until many years from now (and if they are lucky, perhaps never), but right here, right now, these two young spirits are as free as the birds in the trees, the leaves in the wind, and the sun in the skies - in touch with God, themselves, and all else encapsulated within our ever expanding universe.
There is, however, one potential saving grace for the boys; they may find each other through the constant fight of how we really are, versus how we are often expected to be. For this is, in my view, the only real means of feeling any form of freedom in life as an adult; by finding the select few alive in this world who genuinely understand, that the reality of the human race is as beautiful as it is brutal, clever as it is stupid, and as productive as it is regressive. While it narrows the percentage of connection, it also makes each connection much deeper and longer lasting. And even though I am aware we all have to grow up eventually, it doesn't mean we have to go inward too - wouldn't we be all much happier if we could simply be ourselves?
The boys have left now. Once again, tomorrow, they will punch the air and kick imaginary monsters which lie before them. Personally, I hope they never stop dancing to this beat; it has a rhythm all of its own...