a day in the life

Image Credit: OnConference.com

The restroom smelled of acrid decay, mostly emanating from the pools in the corner, and I instinctively stopped at the sink to wash my hands.  I could feel the stink of the place on my flesh.  When I looked up, the wizard in the mirror said, “The trick is to believe you are where you want to be.”  I blinked and he was gone.

I long blinked again and then held my tired lids closed and imagined the smell of sea spray filling my nose while the crash and roar of the tides echoed in the distance.  I wasn’t surprised to find myself in the same dingy bathroom when I opened my eyes.  I could see where I wanted to be.  I could hear it and smell it.  However, I never truly believed I was there.

The level of faith and trust required to truly believe in something had never come easy to me.  My mind worshipped logic and my heart beat to the rhythm of mathematics.  One of the yellowed iridescent bulbs over the sink flickered in response to my distracted lingering and I turned off the faucet and carefully stepped away in search of a towel to dry my hands.  The wizard winked at me from the air blower by the door.

I wiped my hands on my pant legs to avoid that germ fest and used my back to push open the door.  I considered the cost of the shirt I was wearing and briefly debated burning it rather than throwing in my washing machine when I got home.  Sound reasoning, however, swayed me quickly to the side of soap turned to sounds through mechanical agitation.

The hallway was lined in copies and bad knock-offs of famous paintings and I shook my head in disgust at the ruse of our dying culture.  It reeked of desperation to fake high society rather than own the truth of our reality.  The wizard stepped in to replace the screamer and whispered, “The trick is to believe you are what you want to be.”  I ignored him and carried on down the hall.

I walked purposefully, holding eye contact with those I passed, and projecting confidence and an exuberance for the mundane rituals of our pointless lives.  Again, though, I was not immediately successful or happy.  I knew what it meant to be both.  I knew what it took.  However, I did not believe I was worthy of either.

The office smelled of futile decay.  A sea of cubicles, awash with wasted life, drifted with the tides of change.  Eyes shifted above glowing screens to mark my progress across the floor.  I could hear their thoughts, a cacophony of pleas for freedom, and the weight of their cries slowed my steps.  Laughter, cruel and low, caused me to turn and see the wizard staring at me from a nearby computer monitor.

I hated him.  His mocking promises and half-truths had haunted me since I first began to understand what it meant to be a contributing member of society and the shiny gloss of a child’s dream of adulthood quickly wore away.  I knew he was a figment of my stifled imagination, logically, and I would never be free of him, but his demand for faith was something I could never supply.

21 thoughts on “a day in the life

  1. I’m sorry. 😦 I don’t think we were meant to live like this, and yet this is what it has come to for so many. To make any kind of decent living we’re relegated to ugly trade offs we would normally avoid. Noelle got lucky with her job…for the most part she enjoys it. I think that is a rarer and rarer thing these days. I wish my job paid more, but at least I like being there and the people I work with and our bathroom is clean. LOL sighs… I have had at least a couple of jobs that I absolutely hated and had to keep because I was supporting a family. I think this very thing is in part what is fueling the movement to live cheaper and with much less, because it affords so much more freedom. I applaud those that are successful in that endeavor. Although we continue to regularly downsize its hard to imagine living without all our creature comforts. 🙂

  2. That wizard would sure annoy the hell out of me if he bugged me like that. Since I pretty much work from home full-time now, I can only blame myself for the cleanliness (or the lack thereof) in the bathroom. However, the type of work I do hasn’t changed, I just get to troubleshoot software issues while looking at my birdfeeder instead overlooking a river off a bluff, which when you think about it wasn’t all that bad either…

    But I do wish I could be up in the mountains camping right now or at the river fishing. I don’t think that will ever change, no matter what type of work I have to do to keep a roof over our heads. Nice piece of writing, thank you!

  3. Oh my goodness…I feel this in my bones. The older I get, the more I realize that my heart is always outside and my dreams go far beyond the droning teleconference calls and corporate posturing. You painted an amazing image. Great read!

  4. Oh lord… that’s entire lives encapsulated in that piece, the monotonous ink, the dying of dreams. I don’t see a wizard, but I see other things, and I think they’re all related, little bits of dreams from long ago that are just slipping on by. And then we’re gone, and what did we do? Inhabited cubicle-land and went madder day-by-day.

    I think you nailed significant parts of the human existence here. And it’s terrifying. And so bloody familiar.

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