This article was supposed to be a simple one: an interview with Tom Plevnik, a street-photographer whose work I’ve admired. While this essesntial component is still there, I felt compelled to go a different route. I think I know where I’m going, but let’s see if I get there.
This will be part one, other parts will follow. I can’t tell you how many parts. I’m curious to find this out myself.
I hope you’ll bear with me and enjoy the ride…
Pictures attached to this part of the article and subsequent ones belong to Tom Plevnik, whose work is on display on: https://tomplevnik.wordpress.com/
1: The Most Deluded Tale of All
Once you become aware of the enormity of human drama outside your own, it changes everything.
It wasn’t always like this. It used to be different. The world used to be so small. When you were a child, everything revolved around you. Your story was the only one that matters. This universe was created to inhabit your being. The people outside your existence were doing everything they could, if you were lucky that is, to make you feel comfortable. This was their purpose: they were teachers, providers, set-design. There are the important supporting roles- your parents, teachers, friends- and the bit players, merely faces to add atmosphere to your life. And all you want to do is play in this giant playground which belongs to you alone…
If you’re lucky, you’ll break free from this. This narcissistic delusion, the gentle kind, the one filled with childlike innocence is not supposed to sustain. We don’t want to become the subject of the most deluded tale of all: the one about the prisoner inside us, the one that never breaks free. You must wake up one day. You must begin to understand that you’re just one of many, another spawn of the thousand year lineage of the human animal. There’s nothing special about you. You’re just as important and insignificant as all the others.
And though this reality has a lot of drawbacks, sometimes it seems unnaturally harsh, sometimes you experience suffering of such magnitude that you could never have comprehended. And you can’t go back. There is no way. Once childhood is gone, it’s gone forever. You’re a lame adult now, get used to it.
This reality belongs to you now. If you hate it so much, you can always leave. It’s not that hard to leave. People leave this world by their own volition all the time. I thought about it lots of times but I could never do it. There was too much promise in the sad adult life.
On my way, the train suddenly stopped. It sat still for about twenty minutes and people naturally got agitated. Looking out the window, I saw the conductor walking next to a teenage boy, probably not older than sixteen. The kid was jabbering away, you could see he had been crying. The conductor called some people, the kid was picked up. The conductor told us why we stopped. Tell you the truth, I started complaining about coming home late.
A young boy shouldn’t want to leave this world, to have the urge to jump in front of a train in the middle of the day. If the young boy remained that child who owned the world, this would probably never happen. There are no catchers in the rye, the kids always slip through.
I felt bad about complaining about my day after this incident. It was selfish but also human. Most of the time we don’t pay attention or even care about the enormous human drama around us. There are people chasing dreams, people getting lost in their madness, people planning their own demise. If the boy had successfully killed himself, his death would probably not have been on the news. This is to avoid copycats. It would be another example of human drama fading away. Family members would talk about him, there would be guilt passed down to both parents, they would wonder why they couldn’t see it….
I wish we could all see it before it’s too late. But the dark truth of the matter, is that most of the time, we aren’t even looking. And we have to look, we can miss so much. We can’t catch them as they pass through the rye, but I believe that if we watch out and reach out when we see them slipping away. that we can catch them before they start jumping in front of trains.
Picture belongs to Tom Plevnik