Friday, January 18, 2013

5 AM

As I ventured to my corner 7-Eleven at 5 AM yesterday morning, to seek treatment for unforeseen and/or unappreciated complications of monthly feminine physical discomfort, from somewhere within the fog of pain I was struck by the amount of headlights following me in the disarming dark -- not to mention the handful of others sharing a check-out line at the aforementioned establishment.

Now. One could assume, given the lack of light not fed by metal strings woven across the Earth's skin and the fact that the only other creatures stirring are those whose heads see a full rotation on their tiny, feathery bodies (seriously, who was the avid Owl Enthusiast responsible for the Exorcist?); that maybe human beings are not meant to be properly caffeinated and chemically infused long before the sun extends a few conciliatory rays in our direction. Personally I was damn well prepared to pop a few of those magical pills and pass out for a few more light-free permitting hours.

I'm being kind of an asshole. I know my fellows joining me in line next to the Big Gulps and ribbed condoms are only doing their American-blessed duty as providers, bread-winners and caretakers. They wake up at the ass-crack of dawn to make the money that feeds their families and themselves. I am blessed enough to have a vocation that allows me such luxuries as sleep, paid lunch breaks and discounted anti-anxiety remedies. It comes with its share of crazy-makers and the obsessively compulsive, but I enjoy it and the fellowship I find there gives me the freedom to do what I'm doing right now. And the two minute walk down the block doesn't hurt, either (even if I am still late every single day).

But look, here's the thing: I don't buy it. I still don't buy the adage that tells us we begin at life and end well, at the end -- with a span of toiling labor strung in between. I will never surrender to the mentality that to live is to work is to die; and joy is found in the few moments of acceptance along the way. Or maybe it's in the Big Gulp in the morning. Probably more likely those ribbed condoms.

If we really do live in the land of possibility, why do I still encounter a string of bright lights following me like a search party on a very undesirable trip the drugstore at 5 AM on a Wednesday morning? Perhaps these people, so not unlike me, enjoy their 4-hour daily commute. Maybe the job at the end of the line is the one they dreamt of when pretending to comprehend algebra some twenty years before. Maybe I am judgmental and biased from a life of being told that what you want you can actually have, even if it comes with the crazy-makers and obsessive-compulsives scattered in the mix.

I was raised being told that I could be whatever I wanted to be. And when I dropped out of college the first time to find out what that might be, it was not so much of my own conviction but more at the insistence of those rearing me. I thank The Mother for always goading me towards a path uniquely mine, and thus uniquely fulfilling.

So I'm frustrated by the lights in the dark. I'm angered that we still live in a time with the lingering notion that to survive is to suffer; and that you should be lucky to do even that. I believe in a life that contains all of what I want and not a bit else, because the joy of finding your true path is in its simplicity. When your life is what you want it to be, the rest takes care of itself.

I've said it a million times but I don't think it can be said enough. For all of you searching for where your lives begin and end, it's right where you left it before you started chasing it. It's in what makes you happy for happiness sake. So stop being a light in the dark. You already have one.