There’s dust, here in Texas.
It’s unfortunate, that I often miss the beauty in dust, that I can station behind the wheel of my Honda and see the world, and the whole time, never see anything at all.
It’s amazing how I can trek an entire day without remembering a single detail.
Does responsibility do this to me? Responsibility: the ticking of a clock, the need to put gas in my car, or make educated purchases, or hoard enough weekly quarters for laundry? Maybe…I don’t like being forced to do things, and when I’m unhappy, or in a rush, I drop out of the world. The tug of duty, it’s heavy, and can tether me to ‘the grind.’ But that’s not the answer; how many couch potatoes do you know who are actually content? What if sat and did nothing each day? At the end of my life, would I have even lived at all?
My thinking: the happier I am, the more I can pay attention. The mind tends to reject the unpalatable. And, rejection: if you reject an event, did it truly happen? Did you experience that event, or did you experience yourself wishing that the event was over already? It’s the tree, too, falling down in the forest with no one to hear it.
It was freezing this morning in my tent. The zipper broke a couple of days ago, and I bought a big yin-yang drape to cover the empty space. And I sleep on the floor, to boot: I have an air mattress, but I just never want to sit there and blow the damn thing up by mouth. I always have more important things to do—like indulging in my favorite video games, for example, or picking my nose. But I’m veering off topic.
It’s freezing, and even though I’m on the floor, my open sleeping bag (the zipper of which is also broken) is under me, a second blanket is wrapped around my feet, and a thick one is on top of me. I’m wearing my fluffy bathrobe and Long Johns, and it’s really warm as long as I stay under the covers.
My kitten is in there with me, and my laptop is at my side, so we watch some Japanese Anime— but, eventually, I have to break the cocoon—which is when my toes go cold and numb. So, miserable but determined, I decide to exercise, stretch, and go for a run.
Halfway through the run, the heavy metal rumbling into my ears and propelling my legs, I’m hot enough to drop the jacket. The rolling up of sleeves follows. I’m breathing, and the breath feels good. Oxygen, I love me some oxygen. It’s how I stopped smoking cigarettes. Air tastes so much better. It’s like drinking Fiji water versus drinking mud. I get into a rhythm, in and out, left foot right foot; I notice a little hop I have on my left side. Have I been sleeping funny, or is my body a little unbalanced? Is my energy funny this week? I can feel my toes, and the sun is warm, now, too, and I’m happy.
Then I start getting texts.
It happens slowly.
This phone, this machine in my hand, the thing I’m using for music, the thing I’m using to move my blood and experience the world, it’s taking my happiness, my world from me. It would be easy to say ‘don’t respond, it’s that simple;’ it’s hard, though, to use moderation, when the thing I want and the thing I don’t want are both a part of the same device. I like the people who are texting me…what is it, then?
I don’t know how to be alone, I think. I’m always connected—and, is it a real connection, or is it a pseudo kind of understanding, a sharing of ideas and words and thoughts, without any actual human interaction?
I’d rather look you in the face and tell you something. I’d rather watch your reaction and see the color of your eyes, or notice that disgusting pimple under your left nostril, the one that’s ready to pop, and tell you so, and probably make fun of you a little. Texting is okay, I guess. But tell me: what happens when someone relies too heavily on a crutch? What happens when someone buys a Rascal, say, or a Scooter and then they use it so much that they stop exercising and, in the end, getting up just to go to the kitchen?
Why walk when you can be carried?
Actually, I’m writing this in a restaurant, right now, and the janitor is talking to me, mopping. What am I doing with this keyboard when I could be connecting with a human being? It’s killing me, right now, as I write this. He took a look at my computer and told me he can’t use ‘one of those things’…wants to, but doesn’t know how. Can’t read, matter of fact, he shares, his left eye twinkling, the sun hitting it at just the right angle from its low place through the window in the parking lot. His eyes are blue.
“It’s gonna be cold tonight,” he says, “and I gotta come back to work on my bike.” I tell him about my tent, about my blankets, and get to thinking it’s funny how life takes care of you and gives you what you need—like a conversation with a janitor that completely sums up what you’ve been writing about for the last page and a half—and, I come to a conclusion—it helps to be in the world to hear it.