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A Sneeze In the Dark by Ray Printer Friendly

Clogged brain, churning, like a motor greased with honey. Hot and sticky and bad-off. I made it through April Fool’s day, which is something. Man, I hate that day.

But it’s over now, and that’s cool. I don’t have the power to think about what stupid make-believe holiday I have to deal with next, and it’s probably better that way.

My shirt is sticking to me in a really uncomfortable way, and it’s really annoying. I wanted to sit down tonight and write something pretty mind-boggling, I felt like I really had it in me tonight—and instead, I find myself writing about how my shirt is sticking to me. Man, what a drag. I wanted to tell ya’ll something, though:

Antsy. Not quite nervous, not quite bored, but definitely something.

Low-grade distress nibbling away at the edge of the heart, of the brain; or, if you want to culminate—perhaps the soul. Like a constant hum of discord, vibrating slowly and quietly, shaking loose the bolts that hold one together.

Here’s something:

What if a dead-end job isn’t the worst kind to have? A dead-end job, at least there’s an end—you can reach it, look around, and retrace your steps. Maybe there’s a chance to start again, right at the place where you stepped off the right path, where your happiness started to fade, where your dreams began to darken.

What if the real nightmare of a job is one that has no end, dead or otherwise. It’s a never-ending tunnel down into darkness, and you continue descending, thinking there will always be time to turn around, there will always be a safe place to stop without stumbling or losing your balance completely and falling. And the next thing you know, you’re too old to turn back—you would never make the return trip. You’re stuck there, and the tunnel has somehow managed to transform into a ledge, and you either hold on tight or tumble over the edge.

And what if you look around and realize that this job isn’t just a job anymore, no matter how much you hate it? You look around and realize that this job is your life, whether you want it or not; you’ve spent so much time creeping along the tunnel that it has consumed you. Your hopes are distant recollections, just out of your mental reach, ghost things, like the perfume of your first-grade teacher, the feel of your first kiss. These parts of you that you always knew would be whole and intact, and they are lost, figments adrift in some mystic wind that you used to call your future.

There is no tomorrow, only today, over and over and over again, same scene, different players, the actors change but the story never will.

And what if it’s not even about your job…what if it’s about your life?

Waiting for the clock to move along, waiting until five, waiting for your train, waiting for your supper to cook, waiting for bedtime, waiting to wake up, just so you can do it all over again. Waiting for the weekend, and when it’s over we’re back to it. This is how we lose our lives: anticipating the next moment and ignoring the one that we are in.

It’s easy to pump out the general clichés: Seize the day (Carpe Diem), Live In the Moment, Suck the Marrow Out Of Life. Whatever. Grab life by the balls, live every day like it’s your last, blah, blah, blah. It’s easy to say.

Grab life by the balls, man, I dare you. You know what will happen? Life will kick your freakin’ teeth down the back of your throat, stomp on your neck, and kill your loved ones. Just to show you who’s boss.

But that’s not my point…

My point is, there is something more.

I don’t know what it is, man, but I know it’s there. And I’m pretty sure it has to do with living in the very moment. When you stop whatever the hell it is you’re doing, when you ignore the crap you’ve been thinking about that has seemed so urgent since it popped into your head this morning as soon as consciousness did…

When you let loose of the nonsense for a just a second and realize how truly amazing life is, I’m pretty sure that’s where you’ll find the something more.

I stepped off the subway once, it was after one in the morning, I had been at work for twelve hours straight, and then I had to wait around for the train to come on it’s screwed up “after-eleven” schedule. I was dead on my feet, man. I stepped off the train, and I was immediately pelted in the face with sleet and wind and miserable. As I walked down the platform ice and rain beating at my face like I had done something to piss it off personal, I looked up and saw the moon hiding behind some clouds. Buildings everywhere, mostly for ambience at that point, and the moon, shining down on me during a sleet-storm. And it was a wonderful moment. I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt such a sense of accomplishment, to tell you the truth.

Because I was doing it, you know? I was making a living (of sorts) in a city that didn’t give a damn about me, in a world that didn’t give a damn about me. I had friends and family that cared about me, but they were in a different world. I was on my own, and I was doing it.

If I would have leaned against the wall, slid down it into sitting position, nobody would have noticed. Another drunk, another bum, another entity in New York City that is no concern of mine. I could have frozen to death, and nobody would have cared—well, Trey would have, and probably Hyde. But the City, man, it couldn’t care less. If I had fallen, someone might have shown concern, but just casually leaning against the wall and dying, without anyone noticing until the next morning—perfectly feasible.

Falling down isn’t really my style.

I’ll remember that moment forever, probably, that moment where I was doing it, where I was LIVING, even though I wasn’t doing anything special.

Anyways…I guess that’s it. ‘Night, Li’l Homies.


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