Our days are xeroxed.
Battling our alarms and waking up after five snoozed through attempts. Contemplating taking our last day off while starting the day off by lying to ourselves, promising to go to sleep earlier tonight.
Standing in line for some Seattle green bean to keep us from playing out our daily disdain like Cobain and Layne or treating a gross glass of orange juice to a fresh Colgate smile to wash down 40mgs of Lexapro.
Listening to the traffic horns lament and ache in the slow procession towards the inner city.
Floating through a symphony of buzzing florescents, clicking keyboards, inane water cooler babel and a squeaking hamster wheel that might just be in my head. My ID badge bounces off of my thigh, syncopated to my somnambulant pace, adding to the silent caterwaul. After two hours of grunts and grumbles and yawns and sighs, I’m finally somewhere I don’t want to be. I’m somewhere I’ll be at for the next eight hours of my day. I’m somewhere I could possibly end up for the next thirty years of my life.
The new normalcy is having our days eaten and gaining nothing real in return. The accepted regularity is to give up everything real for the dollar, so that you can buy everything fake. On the human evolution timeline, the homo sapiens will be followed by a genuflect begetting a spread eagle under a dangling dollar bill. Society has created something new for us to believe in and the devout worships its new deity from nine to five. The US Treasury should just print Cesare Borgia’s face on the dollar bill so we can all stop pretending.
“YOUR ASSIGNMENT IS GREATER THAN THE THINGS THAT YOU ALLOW TO WASTE YOUR TIME,” is written in bold, underlined letters at the top of the dry erase board in my cubicle. A quote I found while wasting time instead of working on my novel. This is the Great American novel I’ve been occasionally digging at for over a year now. I sit slumped in my chair, hoping the motivation somehow sticks this time. The ideas in my head seem good when abstract and disjointed, but the poetry dies during the process of articulation and I’m left staring at an unsatisfying notepad document, upset because I couldn’t make the cursor dance as gracefully as I thought it should. I pick up my phone to feed my dopamine some bird app asininities and Redtube rabbit holes. Like the other chronic daydreamers and imagination junkies trying to profit off of potential, I wait for a divine bailout, hoping I could somehow transform the heaven of my reveries into flesh and blood.
Even though it weighs nothing, a dream is the heaviest thing you will ever struggle with. Most of us are lifting with our backs, giving up at the slightest plateau, disappointed because our art isn’t German engineered out the gate.
Society didn’t prep me for this. My mother did more unintentional damage than good when she spewed off maternal boilerplate like ‘I could be anything if I put my mind to it’ without stressing discipline. I didn’t do myself any favors during my formative teenage years by rebelling against the wrinkled wisdom concerning hard work, because I thought that since I was smart and personable, the world would open itself up to me in some kind of way. Now I’m battling with things like responsibility, discomfort, willpower and various other elements of inner child abuse. Motivation is fleeting and my patients are perspiring.
By mid day, I’m so exhausted that even the thought of leaving work to do more work makes me yawn so hard I spray my computer screen with spittle.
I can smell his Cool Water cologne before I actually see him. Dan, who lives in the cell next across from me, waddles up to his desk with a sack full of McDonald’s. He’s closing in on fifteen years of his stint and the effects are noticeable. His bad posture has put a permanent slump in his back. The sedentary lifestyle has contributed to his expensive, dollar menu waistline that constantly needed to be maintained. The extra kilos have weighed down on him and turned his knees into barometers. He looks sad, and not the sad day kind of sad either. The kind that becomes a part of who you are. You can look in his eyes and tell the the fight is long gone. He just surrendered to the circumstances. Hopefully he’d make it to that goldtone watch and letter from the CEO in fifteen years so he can collect his monthly social security check and budget with his 401k. Occasionally, I glance over at him too quickly and swear I see myself.
I know that I should be writing daily, leaving as little to luck as possible. I know that If I work smart and hard, then I don’t have to worry about lightening and bottles. But the subconscious discomfort and minute insecurities are paralyzing to the point that only the opiate of short term happiness can help escape the misery. That after the bruising daily grind that I have to go through just so I can feed myself, trying for a second one in a day seems like an unnecessary challenge, especially since there’s no promise that this book I’m working on will ever make it outside of my laptop.
But time has no conscience. Time is not your ally. If you put your trust in the illusion that it will always be there for you, you will have to go to war with reality in the future.
I’m not sure what’s worse anymore: feeling like an ain’t-shit, underachiever, or knowing you’re an ain’t-shit, underachiever and doing nothing to change it? As I sit, ensnared on the highway in traffic that makes it tough to live every day like it’s your last, these are the loudest thoughts that cross my mind after work. As I watch as the future becomes the past while I’m stuck in the same place. As I inch towards my abode, where I’ll self crucify myself to the palliatives emanating from various glowing rectangle. There’s always another day. Another broken promise I can make to myself on top of the many piling up that my third eye can’t help but to see in it’s rearview mirror. When your thoughts start to get heavy on your stability, sometimes, you just have to sleep it off and tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow.
Sometimes you just need to sell yourself a dream in order to wake up.