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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: THE MATRYOSHKA DOLL OF MODERNITY

September 29th, 2019

The bus jolted forward and quickly stopped at a red light, making Lucilius waver from side to side in his seat.  Lucilius was living in a well-to-do city, getting on with the days, enjoying what moments he could and even learning how to enjoy the time in-between.  It was a beautiful, clear day and the bus was crowded.  Lucilius was trying to soak it in and see if he could make a mundane moment memorable by simply focusing his attention.  It was at that point a loud, wet snort and followed by a hacking cough drew his attention. 

 

Someone in a far less fortunate situation had gotten on the bus and most of the people around Lucilius were staring at the person.  Snot ran down over their lips, soaking into whiskers and bloodshot eyes shifted around at the ground.  Lucilius noticed someone holding a sleeve to their nose and then Lucilius could smell the weeks without bathing.

 

The bus jolted to a stop and the doors opened.  A couple with huge backpacks and loud accents tramped aboard and stood in the only space available, not noticing the unfortunate person who was still the focus of most people on the bus. 

 

The two were happily barking about their plans for the day, recounting the mundane adventure they’d just finished with all the enthusiasm that comes with the frame of travelling, when another loud wet snort rattled the hunched and stinking person near them.

 

The couple stopped talking, and the woman turned to look at the homeless person hitching a ride on the bus.  Her upper lip curled, much like many others on the bus, and she turned back to her partner.  And without discretion nor shame she said simply:

 

“disgusting…”

 

Everyone on the bus could hear it.  Lucilius looked back at the homeless man and wondered about the assessment, thinking about the times during his life when he’d been homeless.  But a whisper interrupted his remembrance.  Sitting next to Lucilius, one friend whispered –almost inaudibly to another:

 

“figures an Australian would say that…”

 

 

Lucilius sighed, taking in the whole situation, and thought about how much sense it made that someone in this well-to-do city would say that about an Australian.

 

And then,

 

Lucilius burst out laughing.

 


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Podcast Ep. 532: A Lucilius Parable: The Matryoshka Doll of Modernity

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