Yesterday I drove down a local road that I haven’t used in a while.
As a kid, I used to walk that road at dusk. It was a great place for bats. There was one stretch that was thick with them, and I loved watching their aerial acrobatics as they chased insects.
The last time I drove that road, the bats were still there. I caught glimpses of them as I drove.
It’s a quiet rural road that doesn’t carry that much traffic. There has never been any accident there that I know of. I have never heard of anyone being killed or even injured.
It now has street lights along it. Why? I don’t know. So much for the bats.
There are quite a few new houses there too.
I don’t know what the houses are like because they are all surrounded by high stone walls. Of course they also have high gates that are electronically controlled. At least one of the houses I passed had masts at each corner of the garden with security cameras on. There must have been at least four cameras, covering the outside and inside of the wall.
Who are these people?
They move to a very scenic part of the countryside, presumably to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of country life and then they build prisons to live in.
I have lived here for a long time. The boundary of my property is fenced, but that is purely to keep the dog from wandering onto the road. It is easy to climb over the fence. My front gate is an ordinary gate that anyone can enter. I don’t believe in living in a house where my friends and neighbours have to stand in the road waiting for me to press a button. I don’t think people should be humiliated and forced to talk into a metal grille while standing in the rain.
Many’s the time I have gone to sleep leaving the garage door wide open. I have slept while the front door was wide open. I occasionally forget to lock the back door or lock the car.
In all the time I have been here, there was one attempted break-in. They got as far as damaging a window, before Sandy scared them off.
So what the fuck are all these security cameras for?
What is going on in the heads of these people that they are so paranoid?
Are the gates and cameras there to deter or to impress? I suspect the latter.
An aspect of Irish society that I despise is the need for ostentation. Are we so insecure that we have to shout about our status from the rooftops?
Ireland is now awash with SUVs being driven by people bedecked in Armani and Gucci. Electronic gates that used to be the preserve of embassies and the like and now all over the place. The tiny cottage across the lane from me now has electronic gates that would rival those in Wheatfield Prison.
What the hell has happened to us?
Thank God for the recession.