I’m stacking papers, nodding along to the prescribed orders. Ella is my superior and that turns me on. She’s under-qualified and voluptuous and the same age as me. Want to tell my older boss to fuck off, but I feign comprehension at his instructions. I try to stifle yawns that refuse to cooperate in the department meeting. I weather the storm of contrived, rehearsed jokes from my superior that has a gray mustache and keep my head upright despite the feeling of rocks weighing it down. I crack a smile to stay in step with the march of my coworker’s expressions. What goes on outside the world of suits and expensive watch’s at 10 am on a Monday Morning? I need more water, this is going to be a multi-day recovery period.
Swede on the 6 train- I don’t think Swedish people are too politically correct or proper. I don’t actually know a single one of you. That was my bumbling attempt to make conversation with you because I read one book by a guy from Norway that chided Swedish manners and etiquette. It sounded well formulated and valid. I simply blurt the closest thing to what I think you will relate to. This is the reason I now know its like nails on a chalkboard to ask a Russian “What do you think of Putin?” It’s the same lazy attempt at conversation that the Austrian, German, Australian, and Spaniard tried with me referring to Trump within my first week after getting off the plane in Madrid. But I get it. Lazy conversationalists litter the streets and their apathy knows no limits.
So you smoke cigarettes but you don’t drink?”Some girl asks. Why do people assume that I am coming from a morally superior place when I say I don’t drink? People that have concrete and unmovable beliefs are intimidating or frustrating in a way. The way I get annoyed at people that are atheists and have no hope or faith in a higher order of things or ruling power of love or some shit. I can understand why many would look at me and say, he’s not adventurous, open, fun and he’s boring or “he just can’t see beyond the little box he lives in.” I even think of myself that way sometimes. If I were like other people, I would be totally on board with that. But I’m not.
I’m at the wheel going down a road in my hometown. My arms will not cooperate with my demands to move them. I’m reclined in the driver’s seat and my line of vision is obscured. I’m drifting into oncoming traffic, the headlights gradually become a blinding light. This band of savages is chasing me in the backyard, one hits my chest with a bow and arrow, I wake up. I’m on a boat with three others faceless humans in the middle of the ocean, I’m waiting to jump in, it needs to be done, I don’t know why. I’m on the ledge of the exit of an airplane, at 30,000 feet. I’m in a helicopter over the East River in Manhattan. An airliner over the indian ocean en route to China… and on and on and on. I jolt awake and residual thoughts of the festering resentment towards my brother linger, making it harder to get out of bed. Floating in that pre-stage of sleep and ideas come flooding in, urging me to transcribe them. These episodes and many more won’t find a home and will dissolve if I don’t record them. The next morning the retrieval process is in motion. Some won’t be accurately told as they happened in the moment. Such is the dilemma of many murder trials, homicides, suicides, life stories, lonely people, freaks, outcasts. Lifetimes are lived in the brain that never get exposure to air. Symphonies, novels, physical feats, potential energy is worthless. The loudest people are heard, people with guts, whether we like them or not. They find their way onto the radio, TV, popular culture, recorded history.
Is this person listening to what I am saying? Looks like she is nodding along to wait for her turn to speak. Does she want to have sex with me? She’s liking the attention of a male, any male. My name, face, personality is irrelevant. Guess that’s why they have those paid flirter girls for businessmen in Japan. A machine will do, in ten years I’m sure there will be one for that. That’s what porn is. Virtual reality. Reality is what I choose it to be, for better or worse. I need to be my own filter-er. Flattery is untruth, denigration is untruth. Straight shooters even have an angle. Its all fake.
Those pristine eyes, she couldn’t ever have malice for anyone. Or could she? I want her to, I don’t like viewing her as this admirable creature who isn’t fallible and capable of the same pettiness I am. I’m not worthy of her, but that’s what draws me in, that bottomless well of positive regard. I can’t acquire these qualities by osmosis though. I’ve deluded myself into thinking physical proximity means transmission of trait. Being in her orbit, feeling the gravity of her generosity, makes me forget the universe where nothing is held, propelled, contained.
Deli lady I blew up on- I know I had a temper tantrum and took out all my frustrations on you for taking 10 minutes to make a sandwich. I have things going, a dad who tries to hold me hostage with guilt and disapproval. I got too drunk and lost the chance to see this girl I like the other day. If you could just get in my head you would empathize. I have the opportunity to do so many things, I just can’t handle all the options and privilege, its too much. The existential crisis of it, like where to move, San Diego, or Austin. Or Madrid. I donated $100 to this charity because I saw this moving documentary. I get choked up pretty easily, maybe you could say I am easily exploited and enjoy it at this point, tv, soaps, and good, raw, Leo Dicaprio movies that know how to push my buttons. Sadness has become my hobby, a marketing tool that uses me for its mass infiltration. For the price of a click I want this manufactured sense of tenderness that after many, starts to diminish in marginal returns. Viral videos of dogs or veterans are the boy who cried wolf at this point, a dulled blade, an aging rockstar with a raspy voice. I’m now a voyeur of long lost love and rejection, I get off on it emotionally. Because somewhere in my programmed and TV ridden head I think I’ll emerge on top, I’ll win her affection. I’m the hero who is misunderstood. The beautiful and the everlasting is coming to me if I just do a good job at my menial job.
Need to shake this feeling of eternal and cascading repetition of the days. Being in the same place too long leads to atrophy of the soul. An few hours of isolation bring dark thoughts. Worthlessness. What is worth but serving other’s feelings, making someone’s mood lift temporarily out of the cage of flesh the soul is kept in. Melancholic temperament: its depths of self obsession are dire. Most superficial and grandiose are the visions of mistaken importance. Ten years that was once inconceivable has flown. What’s another ten of inaction, ruminating, dragged down by the most pessimistic of human beings. Flying by the seat of pleasures, hedonistic traps of women, the flesh, drugs, chemically induced euphoria and oblivion to block out the encroaching sunset. Exercise is a bodily pleasure and the most reliable of healthy highs.
I could’ve sworn I saw her walk past me on the corner of Madison and 28th. I saw that straight hair, brunette with shimmering streaks of blonde and slight curls at the ends. My mind has played tricks on me since I saw her off on the plane. I told my boss I had to leave work early to drop her off at the airport,“That’s one way to get rid of her.” he said, with a guffaw or laugh, it was clever I had to concede. My current state of perceived deprivation in her absence two months later, makes me twitchy, I see things that aren’t there, the way loneliness makes you hear things. The world becomes a blur, I’m too immersed in my own head, the vast ocean of thought collapses into a cardboard box. I’m reading my book in Madison Square park, here comes a bright faced student with her textbooks, some suits, some goths, French tourists, a bluetooth wearing asshole, a skateboarder. New York is the most unfriendly city on Earth. Every one has a “5 year plan” and some self-important spiel about their Finance job, they’re “brand,” or their blog. “Well it’s about this ancient trail in Spain. I did it faster than its usually done. The people that do it are spiritual but its not hardcore religious or anything. Reflection time, nature and all that. Yeah just check it out I’ll send you the link, later man.”
We used to go places together, you threw me on your shoulder and said, “buckle up, we are in for a ride tonight.” You helped me travel through time, and lowered my defenses. We basked in the sweet air of liberation, rode the rollercoaster of my more base instincts. Those instincts took me to some shameful places, some fun places too. Many people I would never have started speaking to had it not been for you. So you’re like a matchmaker in that sense. You soothed my nerves and reminded me my brain is elastic. I have to extract myself from this relationship though, it just got out of hand, but I’ll never forget the good times. I wish you the very best in everything you do.
I felt dread at the prospect of giving up my streak of a year and a half sober. But that’s all it is, just a tally of days, hours, weeks, months. Its not living, not passion, not progress. My friend was sitting there with some girls, they wore inviting glances. “Come have a drink Pete.” the most innocent of phrases ever uttered. One would be just fine. They seem like nice girls, I don’t want to be rude. All this abstinence has impeded my social life. I’m on a school bus going somewhere, is it some prom or formal? Arriving at the venue, drinks flowing, feeling so powerful, my ego inflated like a balloon. I danced like I had electricity coursing through my veins, gyrating and rocking my head in a rage. I shook everything out of me, all the hate I held in my heart, all the alienation I felt deep in my soul, and the identity I have always wanted, I molded into. I was a wild creature in the night, moving with the beat. For the first second after waking up, I was devastated, then I came back down to earth.