A Sad Aphorism

I’m employed by a large state-wide institution dispersed throughout various locations in the city, such that a complicated shuttle system is necessary. There are many routes (all signified by a color) excised from the illustration above, which only shows the “blue” and “gold” shuttle route(s) responsible for getting me to and fro work every Monday – Friday for the past +6 years of my less than inspired, somewhat sad cubicle life.

There were times, at first, that I would accidentally get on the wrong shuttle, thus increasing my shuttle trip by ~40 minutes. If you take a moment to look at the figure above, you’ll notice that erroneously taking the “blue” shuttle from home to work results in having to first go to “Crap 2” and “Crap 1” (two non-applicable sites I have no reason to go to; these names are not actual and are only used rhetorically). The same can be said about taking the “gold” shuttle from work to home. True, any direction I go eventually leads into a full circle, and the consequences of counter-direction are not dire—but one does not wish to waste 40 minutes going the wrong way when one could be at home on their futon watching TMZ and tapping into their third shot of Scotch. I’ll spare you details of what my hands are doing, only to say that the less obscene one is holding the remote control.

The colors “blue” and “gold” are as arbitrary as, well, in a way, my life. It was rather difficult trying to remember which way to go. Every day, the same existential serpent-and-tail self-fellatio problem. So I came up with a little saying that I tell myself, to help me remember which shuttle to take at what point in my blurry aimless day:

“Go for the gold, come back blue.”

Meaning: go to work in order to obtain USD currency, as manifested abstractly via bi-weekly direct deposits into my checking account—cash I never actually touch or feel, but only see deplete when I pay my mortgage, groceries, taxes, and occasional hookers. And come back blue. Return home every day from work chronically depressed because I am stuck in this mid-30s life defined by societal expectations, financial fear, acute loneliness, spiritual resignation, and emotional denial. And so I go to work using the gold, and come back using the blue.

An aphorism is defined as a terse saying embodying general truth, and crossing the bridge over Hwy. 101 every day and seeing the rush hour jam of cars lined up with each red brake light forming a wall of gushing red, I think I’m not the only one. A man one year from a heart-attack he doesn’t know about yet, lifting an ass cheek for a well deserved fart; a woman listening to argumentative AM talk radio, thinking of her 14-yr-old daughter, and how distant she seems lately; an executive with a Bluetooth in the ear and a BMW connected to the gas pedal, douche-talking his Friday 9:00pm date towards that mythical bj. It seems the dreams which gently nudge us out of bed each morning, if they even exist, turn into road kill during rush hour. The LED freeway signs list all the nearby cities, and how long it will take to get to each one. And meanwhile, the sky softly quivers with potential lightning. It’s like God’s little joke on us. Haha, this will happen again tomorrow.

The aphorism works wonders. Since I’ve been saying it, I feel a little better, and never get on the wrong shuttle. And you still say I’m lost. TC mark


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  • Scytle

    Dude…that was super sad, mostly because it is a life I could have fallen into. I have one bit of advice for you, and it might seem odd, get a bicycle, ride that shit to work.

    Seriously, no matter how long it takes, even if you only do it one time, do it.

    You need a swift metaphorical kick to your transport head, a bicycle will change all that.

    You will not have time to think about how sad your life is because you will be defending it from gravity, other cars, pot holes, etc. Your legs will pump up and down proving you are alive, your ass will tighten up attracting potential mates, you will feel alive and you will thank me.

    Good luck, and happy cycling.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      thanks scytle, i actually recently bought a bike and have been riding it 2-3 times a week, and yes, it has made me happier; so in a way, the above post is a dedication or memorial to my former shuttle-ridden self. i will say, the new me has almost been killed about 7 times.

      • Scytle

        Awesome! My experience in (I ride every day in Boston) has been that the more you ride the less this will happen. I try to pay attention to nothing but my bike ride while I am riding my bike, this helps push the rest of my troubles out of the way for an hour or two every day. Its a lovely way to temporarily put my life on hold while I deal with the ride.

        Your body needs to learn the muscle memory of operation a bicycle, once this happens your brain will be free to pay attention to other things like traffic, potholes etc.

      • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

        would be sweet if you took Paul Revere's route to inform all the US-made cars that “the Japanese are coming.”

    • Aaron

      But what if you work in business clothes? You will be sweaty when you get to work and if you keep your business clothes in a bag while you ride, they will be a wrinkled mess when you arrive. Sounds trivial but no one wants to be the stinky guy at work who looks like he slept in his clothes.

  • http://twitter.com/Erikhaspresence Erik Stinson

    'bike people'

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      erik ass stinson

  • http://twitter.com/rislynsey christopher lynsey

    You make ennui romantic.

  • Ryan O'Connell

    jimmy i always love your stuff.


    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      thought o'connellog bro, sweet ass

  • http://twitter.com/_MarcJustin_ Marc Justin

    I wish the shuttle were a straight line too. Bravo Jimmy. Bravo bingo.

  • Aaron

    I am right there with you, brother. In my 30's working on office job just to get that direct deposit. I also have a mortgage and two kids so I am not working just to satisfy “societal expectations” or assuage “financial fear,” I am working to keep my kids off the street.

    It's heavy stuff when you realize your “acute loneliness, spiritual resignation, and emotional denial” are completely irrelevant when compared to your children's well-being and happiness. When you aren't the most important person in your own life, the stakes somehow become much higher.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      yes, having kidz would get interfere with my ingrown narcissism. say hello/goodbye to the 'last illegitimate heir of the Chen Dynasty'; ur a good dad tho, be well.

  • mykle

    Quit your job, Jimmy Chen.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      can i stay with you?

      • not mykle

        im not Mykle but you can stay with me.

  • tommmmm


  • shoehorn

    jimmy chen: likable depression

  • http://twitter.com/KelleyHoffman kelley hoffman

    liked a lot.

  • Vialbc

    This commute looks familiar – I'm a new employee. The pension is alluring, no?

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