hamster

A wheel within a cage

As a child I had this hamster who would fidget all of the time. Even in his sleep. I had to call him Fidget. He’d have been offended otherwise.

My old hamster, Fidget, used to do the funniest thing. He’d climb up under the roof of his little cage and swing around upside down. Proper commando. Swinging bar to bar like a fluffy little ninja. Every now and then though, almost because he was too keen, he’d get a little clumsy. He would slip and fall; plummeting down to the straw below. Ninjas aren’t really supposed to bounce but Fidget did. Never discouraged, he’d shake himself off and run back up those bars. What he lacked in grace he made up for in ambition and persistence.

I used to find this whole act really quite funny. I used to hum the James Bond and the Mission Impossible theme-tunes to him, egging him on. I wish I hadn’t laughed now though. I wish I hadn’t taunted my old hamster, Fidget. Because all these years later I have realised that it was never a game. He was never really playing ninja. He was trying to escape.

I suppose we are all like my old hamster, Fidget. Stuck in a wheel that just keeps on spinning and spinning and spinning. We like to think of it as a game, as playtime, because then it’s just a bit of fun. A laugh and a sing-song. Nothing arbitrary or meaningless.

But we are also different from my old hamster, Fidget. 1. He was a hamster. 2. He could see the bars of his cage – we can’t. Once he finally realised his wheel wasn’t going anywhere, he stopped running. But we don’t get off of our wheel. We keep running, going nowhere.

We keep running because the realisation that we’re stuck in a cage would ruin us.

hamster-wheel

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