Normal Grounds

There you go: you wake up in a room full of strangers painting fresh eggs with bright colors. Then you walk into the bathroom and find a small cage of chicks dyed in bright colors sitting on the toilet seat. Blue, pink, purple, red, yellow, green – bright colors everywhere and you haven’t even washed your face yet.

You wash your face and go back to join the strangers gathered in the room.

‘Ok,’ you say, ‘what’s for breakfast?’

‘Fresh eggs,’ one of them says.

‘Fresh from this morning?’ You ask.

‘No, freshly dyed.’

In a world full of strangeness, some traditions stand out. This is one of them. They call it a holiday and try to make some religious sense out of it but it’s all just one big act. Everything is an act – the celebrations, the decorations and even the wishes. They are out to prove some sort of spiritual belonging but it all comes down to appearances in the end. There is no real value or meaning to it except for the bright colors and fresh dye and spirited cheers.

At the end of the day, it’s just another one of man’s elaborate plans to lift the dullness and break the monotony of his days. It’s another means of entertainment and distraction from daily routines like work and family life.

You wonder when it’ll end; when man’s crazy inventions and conceptions of spirituality and holidays and joyous celebrations will stop becoming an excuse to escape from his daily grind.

And then you realize they’re all part of the act. No one realizes the silliness of the matter because they’re all trapped inside the box. And there’s just no escaping it.

You’re back in the room and the boys are looking at you in a funny way. One of them has his hand out and is offering you a green egg. Another tells you to take it, crack it in your white plate and eat it.

They’re all on the same page; they’re all in this together.

You hesitate before accepting the egg. You think it over again and wonder if anyone has beaten you to these questions. You wonder if anyone’s faced these uncertainties before.

The strangest thing about it is that you’ve never pondered these things before – over the years you’ve simply learned to accept them, embrace them and move on. But now as you think them through, you realize it’s harder to just accept them and move on. You realize things aren’t as innocent as they’re made to seem, and they’re not as bright and colorful as they look. They’re not as easy to accept.

You’re back in the strange room. You push the hand away and get up. You go back into the bathroom and check on the dyed chicks. They’re still there, walking and chirping in their cage. You leave the apartment and go for a walk.

The streets around you are filled with bright colors. You see banners lifted above your head with religious signs and biblical references. You walk into a bar and order a beer.

The drink still tastes the same, bland and flavorless. You finish the bottle and order another. The world around you has drastically changed – the people you walk past, the high apartment balconies, the old sellers pushing their carts down every street, even the air you breathe. Normality had become an absurd notion to you and as the church bells ring outside and the faithful head to mass, you wonder if you’ll ever get there again.