what if people surprise you when you find yourself distracted paying bills and fantasizing about what if you had taken better care of your knee or your calculus book? what if when you are not looking they are being noble and generous and unpretentious. why are they such bastards? what will you do if you find out that this person you cannot abide is donating platelets and reading to the blind on the weekends? and not even out of some sick pleasure in helping others, but let's just say he hates every moment of it, the smells of the shelter, the thanklessness of the recipients, the negative impact it has on his work and family but he does it anyway
because that is what he was taught by a loving father who died too young leaving him to give up his dreams and take care of his sisters? what then? and god, you made fun of some stupid thing he wrote because it actually sounded quite good, but you were jealous, and then come to find it was rejected by a second rate online poetry journal, a journal that published one of your crappy haikus that you spent all of ten
minutes on only because you once hung out with the editor who is a trust fund baby living off his mother's guilt and he read it and said, 'that was very well done and perfectly captures the mood of a disenchanted generation blah blah blah' look at how gracious I am wah wah. What then you vain son of a bitch?

this is a dangerous time for me, because i am not quite but almost too old for one last foolish adventure and not quite but almost too young to give in to spiritual atonement. and damn you, contentment, but where is the fear of danger and imminent threat or even mental stagnation to drive me back to living inside my head?

somewhere back in the days when my imagination was fertile, once when there were wastelands and shadows, i must have planted sycamore seeds, because now when i walk through it is nothing but tree lined streets and freshly painted bungalows.

if you do not believe it, here is what i dreamed last night: a young man came to see me in my office seeking help finding a job. and i drove him down the street to Lowe's where i introduced him to a manager i knew, and then coached him for an interview. i showed him how to arrange items on warehouse shelves in a way that would demonstrate his salesmanship and helpfulness. that is what my brain spent its daily vacation on. it could have visited any place in the known universe, embarked upon any number of reasonable thrills. it instead chose the concrete floors of a chain hardware store in the body of a career counselor. that is no dream.

unfortunately, i don't have the kind of friend in my life to call me an asshole for complaining about simple, uninteresting ennui when so many good people are suffering from genuine despair. and i have never been a particularly good friend to myself.

still. Lowe's. jesus.


I'm fighting a similar battle at the moment. My contentment these days is nearly driving me to distraction, it's so unnatural. Thankfully, there are small, random items that cause the idyll to abruptly shift. Imagine walking down a tree-lined street. Now imagine an AMC Pacer pulling up next to you, a fat kid jumps out, runs over and hits you in the face with a whiffle ball bat as hard as he can. I like to think that this is my unconscious mind telling me to, 'Slow your roll on the contentment there, hombre.' Balance. Violent fat kids doing you harm is very zen when you stop and think about it really REALLY hard.
eclectic said…
Con = with; tent = tent. And the problem is...?

See, I'm not so much bothered by you having a new goal of retail career counselor; but couldn't you have chosen R.E.I. or Marmot or something useful instead of Lowe's?
eclectic said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iron Fist said…
I haven't worked as a waiter since I was 18 and yet I still find I have dreams of needing to show up at the restaurant in San Diego where I was first employed and they always want to know why I don't check my schedule first and I have to tell them I live in Portland tomorrow and they're all fine, dude, but you're on tomorrow morning at 9 so don't be late this time. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either.
Brandon said…
sir, at least you're driven to distraction. i'm forced to walk.

shari, my brain is conniving i suppose.

vahid, if you could get from portland to san diego that quickly, i'm guessing you'd be a fast food worker.

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