Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Modern Leper

I am ready to live in a leper colony. Or rather the updated, first-world equivalent of a leper colony. In fact, I fantasize about the possibility on a daily basis (aided by MCSVillage on Yahoo! Groups). I want to flee to the countryside, forsake the company of my cherished friends, and shelter among people who share my illness (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).

I know we may have little else in common, besides raggedy nerves, but I need more social contact and I need it with people who don't travel in a cloud of perfume. People who don't reek of the infernal dryer sheets. People who don't smoke. Preferably people who don't ever need a match for anything. I have fought the good fight for inclusion of the disabled in society, but I have battle fatigue and I want to retreat.

My fantasy colony has taken various forms. In my more desperate moments I bargain with fate for just a campground. It would have a communal kitchen with electric appliances. Policy would prohibit fragrance and smoke. When I'm feeling more expansive my imagined community runs a green business and, of course, its members live in sturdy dwellings. We have solar power and zero-emissions vehicles. We are not refugees from modern life; we are its pioneers.

What do you dream of, my potential neighbor? I know, you want to be well again and to move again in the whole world of possibilities. And I wish it for you. But in the meantime, do you pine for a big house on a big acreage, all for your very own? For your own washer and dryer? Your own mega air filtration system? Your own sauna? People do set themselves up--home offices, home gyms, home theaters. It may be sour grapes on my part, but that life looks as lonely to me as my own. And wasteful.

I say let's be part of rerouting the American dream before it crash lands. Let's make healthy people want to leave their unhealthy lives and come abide with us. I'm sure that being socially ostracized has something to teach us about the possibilities of community and mutual aid.

Hey, you can experience a tiny sense of connection right now. Leave me a bit of cheer, anonymously if you like. (Start by clicking on "comments" below).