When Freedom is a status does it taste like lemons?

I know when freedom is a right it has no taste, because you take it for granted, like breathing. That‘s the freedom of a motorcycle ride from Melbourne to Sydney, on back roads where no one knows where you are unless you call them.

It’s the freedom of meeting a mate at a cafe, or a tinder date in the hope of a hook up, without having the waiter police your passport.

It’s the freedom of going for a walk in the evening, under the moonlight, and the possums, without ever once being concerned that your neighbours will dob you in for breaking curfew, or that the next car will be a police car and you could end up face down on the nature strip as they handcuff you.

It’s walking around bunnings without the police coming in, because someone’s vaccination passport has turned out to be fake and they’re not sure whose it is, and so they need to recheck everyone’s, and even though you know yours is legit, you’ll be oddly worried that it isn’t.

It’s the freedom of being able to be naturally and publicly disgusted when the police shove an old woman to the floor and pepper spray her face. The freedom to be so appalled that you join the chorus of citizens demanding the officers are sacked and charged.

It is not the freedom of staying silent in your staff room as some louder person, says it serves her right for that old woman shouldn’t have been there, or that she was a plant. Or worse, it’s not the freedom of being forced to agree with them, even though you know it’s a lie, just so others in the staffroom won’t suspect that you stand with the fallen old woman, whose prostrate body won’t leave your silent thoughts.

It’s the tasteless freedom of going shopping without storm troopers, with pellet guns and tupperware shields, barging through and yelling at everyone to get back, as they scour the shops for a few young people, who dared to group up and challenge the government. It’s the freedom to look in a mirror without knowing that it is all a lie. That it is all hollow, and that in that hollowness you now not only live, but know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, even though you will never tell anyone, that you are a coward, and the freedom of that cowardness will feel like a grey stubborn chill infecting your soul, and taste, perhaps, like lemons.

It will be a lemon scented chill that will get even colder as you stand there and watch your child take their fifth booster shot, even though you know that you’ll never know what’s in it.

No, this freedom, for as a vaxxed person you will officially have more freedoms, will be a status you earn and regularly update via a needle.

Routinely you’ll lift your phone to the vaccine passport reader of every store you enter, every show you attend, where you’ll stand back in line, smiling, as you patiently wait for all your children and or your grandchildren and your wife to hold their passports to the reader until it ticks them off as a free person, until one day they’ll turn back and look at you, puzzled, as everyone will look at you, puzzled, because with tears in your eyes, you’ll be smashing the reader with your phone.

Michael Gray Griffith


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