It was a mystery I always wondered growing up. I'd look at every empty shell of human being and wonder what the fuck happened. Where the fuck were they when that hammer came down and beat the last shred of teenage, juvenille, ignorant ambition out of of their Dover body washed bodies. What was the straw that broke that fucking camel in half? I'd be bitterly chomping away at some bullshit job and I'd encounter these much older (or maybe even only slightly older people) that seemed to just not have it anymore. Whatever IT was. They resigned to this shit life that I was only considering as a transitional period for myself.
I guess that's where the problem lies with most people in my generation. Or fuck that, any generation. This disgusting, self-focused regime watching their life clock like their fucking KENO numbers are going to match up when that fucker strikes midnight. This delusional belief in self absorbed predestination that everything we are doing is leading to some grand climax. That our lives are indeed like the fucking movies we fill our deflated basketball skulls with on an hourly basis. When we lay in bed and play out our memories, they roll by in cinematic fashion - and accordingly - we plot out stupid hopes (fantasies, by and large) in the same manner. Something is coming for me, you think. Oh yes. I am suffering now but its just a slow burn to that delicious moment of glory.
So you work in those trench jobs. Or whatever you consider to be 'back breaking' based on how much money your mom and dad had when they raised you, and you analyze your peers. Surely they don't have that same destination ahead. You will be the one with the brass ring. All the miserable folks you've met along the way were just the wise old janitor that you gleaned a life lesson from before you've moved on into the next stage of your bullshit movie. Everybody else gave up along the way. But not you. You had that deep rich intestinal fortitude....that gritty work ethic...instilled into you by years of toiling away. You have the edge. That's why THEY won't get and YOU will.
Something you never consider though is the slow Chinese water torture of time. It makes a grand canyon of your brain. Drilling the same dullness into over and over. I'd say for the first 25 years you accept as a necessary lesson. But the grand deliverance never arrives. And the patience runs out. And the energy of youth burns the candle down to the bottom. Maybe there is no exact moment of epiphany. That's to say there was an exact moment where a 'lake' gets large enough to be called a 'sea'. It happens so slowly like the wrinkles on your face. One day it's just there. Or in this case, it's NOT there.
Now I understand why people just give up. Why they just slog away in the routine. Why they are content with that steady paycheck, as pathetic as it may be in amount. When you are younger the word content is so evil and compelling. Its that awful thing you're fighting. Fuck, you're still perceiving life as a fight. There's a world outside your window that has challenged you and one day through precious due diligence you'll be awarded the title belt. Just like that.
The problem is along the way, you get teased with so many little victories that your appetite just gets soured on the whole thing. You win the talent show once but no great door suddenly blows open. You bang the belle of the ball and fucking tomorrow arrives anyway. You save up for the new car and now you find yourself struggling to afford new tires for the fucking thing. The prizes you set for yourself, the spoils of your personal war, end up not being worth a fuck. This revelation comes timed perfectly with all those natural processes in your body slowing down. You creep toward middle age with not only the desire ripped out of you - but now not even a trophy worth stepping into the ring for.
It's nonsense. Bullshit. Imagined by others and handed down like a fucking pocket watch from a dead grandfather. Even that fucking pocket watch is meaningless. The intrinsic value of things evaporates too. You find yourself just sitting on the steps outside whatever domicile you occupy, staring blankly across the street. You're think "Man, I should probably be thinking something important right now" and nothing ever blips across the screen.
The imagination doesn't suddenly surge into motion.
The career decisions never satisfy.
The people come and go. The family members, the friends, the acquaintances, the fucking morning traffic.
It's a long stroll through the museum of life's empty experiences. All failing to deliver on some transcendental promise. You don't even know why you think that. You just do.
So now when you look across the assembly line and into the eyes (if you can even bear to look in someone's eyes) of your fellow human ilk, you don't feel different. You don't feel as if you're moving past them. You recognize yourself. They recognize you. You put your head back down. You go back to work. Probably doing something you never dreamed you'd be doing.
And you'll think "Man, I should probably be thinking something important right now - like a way to get out of here forever." And nothing will happen. Nothing will change.
Because everywhere is here and here is forever.