I decided that I’d refuse to let a building define me. I’d refuse to allow any company, or entity, or job, or anything define who I was as a person. As a human. As a man. The contents of that building did not define my success. My success was not in there. It’s in here. It’s within my chest. Within this soul. I am defined by who I am, and what I do…what I believe and what I feel…what I’m capable of…not by the whim of some fucking corporation. Interestingly, it was brought to my attention that I may be afraid to move forward, that I feared success more than I feared failure. The thought of that shit had me up in arms, like “what?” You’ve got to be kidding me, right? “All I want is success”, I’d tell myself. But you know what? Maybe I was.
The day that my potato exploded in the microwave was an eye opener. It was a sign…an omen. A message from the powers that be. Maybe I’d nuked that fucker for too long, or maybe I just didn’t give a shit. Either way, that little vegetable bastard decided to commit culinary suicide and blew itself spud first all over the confines of the microwave with a mere five seconds left. I mean, c’mon…it couldn’t have kept its composure for a measly five more seconds? Suck it up, god damn it! I had no money left, I had no lunch, and I was hungry enough to eat the scum out of the bottom of a homeless man’s shoes. It was definitely a sign…an omen…a message from the powers that be.
I spent a great deal of time staring up at the sky. It was a lovely way to pass the hours. There was something about passing planes that sort of mystified me; it was their mystery that enveloped me and roped me in relentlessly. Who was flying? Where were they coming from, and where were they going? When I’ve flown, I’ve always looked down upon the houses, the buildings, the little towns, and wondered who was there…what their lives were like, what they did, and if they were looking up at me, wondering who I was and where I was heading. So when I look up, there’s that inherent desire to travel with them, the lofty anticipation of having a destination, and the inevitable excitement and adventure that seems to accompany it. It’s the excitement that was the allure there…it broke the monotony of the computer screen and scattered it to bits. Planes represented excitement…and tugged my mind away from the off key melody of keyboard clicks. And as a professional dreamer, it was just what the doctor ordered.
I had no real idea what I was doing. I mean, I had a loose grasp of the general concepts, but the actual execution was a different beast entirely. The company tinkered with their methods and procedures so often that it was nearly impossible to keep up. True proficiency was a fucking pipe dream. Just when you got used to doing things one way, BOOM, they decided to change it up again…and for no good reason. Their feeble and half-handed attempts at ‘training’, if that’s what you want to call it, were just a ridiculous ruse. I literally had no idea what I was doing, and spent the bulk of every day winging it…and I did it for years. Talk about disheartening; it’s the most depleted feeling inching your way to five o’clock blindly, in the dark, not knowing what the hell you’re doing. For years. Even after it’s been explained, because their explanations amounted to a fresh pile of zebra shit. There’s a great line at the end of the movie ‘The Usual Suspects’, where Kevin Spacey’s character states “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.” I’ve gotta say, convincing this joint that I knew what I was doing, that I was a stand up, functioning employee, ranks up there with the greatest.
When would I decide that enough was enough? Had I determined what enough was? Or when? What was my threshold? My breaking point? How much would I have to endure before I realized that I’d had it up to here? It had been years of the same old, years of stringing together reason after reason, excuse after excuse, line after line. Coaxing together a thin fabric of a façade that masked my true purpose, a purpose that had lain dormant for God knows how long. It was once asked if dreams deferred wither and dry up like raisins in the sun; I often wondered that same question.
What happens to dreams when they’re cast aside like old laundry into an old darkened corner? Do they begin to smell? Do they rot? Do they grow hairy mold? Or do they just die…regretfully, painfully, scornfully, and utterly unforgiving of the person that relegated them to that less than golden fate? Do we blame ourselves? Do we blame ourselves as the result of our jobs? Or is it all one giant soup that we’re all stewing in, bubble by bubble, until we reach the boiling point that sends us oozing over the edge of the pot and into the unknown? Maybe there in that zone lies the reason behind it all…the purpose that we all so desperately seek…the one that very few of us have ever truly lived enough of in order to assist the rest of us schlocks that were too afraid to step out and live.
The trials of being me:
“Damn, a year’s already gone by.”
“Fuck, I really can’t believe I’ve wasted two whole years at this place.”
“Yo, please kill me if I make the three year mark.”
“Hey man, for real, throw me off a fucking bridge if I make it here four years.”
“Like seriously dude, something’s seriously wrong with me if I make it to five years.”
“Wow, three months from now will be my six year mark.”
“Well I’ll be damned. Six fucking years.”
So begins the current situation. Keyboard clicks, telephones ringing, clunky fax machines humming their disjointed rhythms, random chatter, overcooked professionalism, clichéd power phrases, false motivation, no incentives, wilted prospects, dried up ambitions, phony smiles, fake promises, and utter loss of concentration await. Deep breaths.