Im becoming very aware of the world around me. It reminds me of a plastic bouquet; made with the intention of providing beauty to those who see it, yet the true story of it all is that it’s fakeness is only proceeded by the fact that they are cheaper than real flowers. Our version of reality is just that. We build communities because it’s what we have always done; build small villages where we work together with our neighbors for the benefit of all. Are we really a community? We don’t work with our neighbors, we work for a boss but mostly, we are just working to benefit ourselves. I used to embrace this life. A stable 9-5 job, place to efficiently buy my food and supplies, and a building to retire to at night in peace and safety. It all seems so…manipulative. Almost like a psychopathic control freaks dream. How can life even begin to look structured? This chaotic collision of particles can actually form into a sign that tells me to stop? To go to work, obey the laws and go “home”?Everyday, I take the 444 bus from downtown to Madison. The trip takes eighteen minutes, sometimes as much as twenty five depending on how backed up Plaza is. I pass 14 red lights on the way. Over a hundred houses, and twenty three business buildings. The bus stops 13 times on route, and our driver, bill, has exactly two greetings; “top of the morning!” and “hey, how we feeling today?” Excluding me, there are five other people who take, at minimum, the same route I do everyday. Three of them, Grace, Charlie, and Sandy, are already on the Bus when I get on. Crystal gets on at Blanchard, and Claire gets on at Pine. Sometimes, Claire gets on at Pike street because she’s always running late and has to run to Pike instead of casually getting on at Pine.
I’m witnessing myself drifting away from society. The people that I’ve spent so much time calling my friends seem more alien to me then the neighbors in my so called community; the ones I barely ever see and occasionally greet with a “hello”. I’m slowly melting into my own mind, one of the few places I ever find solemn anymore. The minutes before bed, I convince myself that I will be better tomorrow, that I will actually care about the conversations I will have. And then I wake up in the morning, and wonder why I woke up to this reality. I use my stress as an excuse to be angry at the world, even though deep down I know that I am the only reason for it, and the only cure would be to embrace it. But I don’t, because I still need an excuse, and a man who hates the world without an excuse to hate it is just an asshole, right?
Every day, Charlie and I will say hello as we pass each other through the exiting doors. He gets off at Madison as well. Claire and I smile in each other’s general direction almost daily, except the days I know she’s had a fight with her Boyfriend. I know those days well, because she tends to have baggy eyes, a look of extreme disinterest, and spends most of her bus ride looking at her phone and just thinking about things. The days she hasn’t been in a fight, she cheerfully looks out the window, admiring the hundred houses, twenty three Office buildings, and 14 red lights we pass along the way. Other than these intereactions, I never speak to anyone else on this bus, and no one else bothers to speak to me. I’m not special in this lonliness, mind you. No one ever speaks to anyone else. But i’ve learned a lot about them and their lives, because they do like to speak to their phones. A lot.
I am a better person in my slumber then I am whilst awake. While Im awake, I look for stimulants to get me out of sobriety. Coffee, food, alcohol, drugs, emotions. Sobriety is boredom, and boredom is slow death of the brain. While i’m sleep, I crave nothing. I am in the moment, and that moment is utterly beautiful. I may be dancing with someone I love, or fighting aliens in a distant galaxy. I don’t question what i’m doing, I simply embrace it as the current “reality”. There is no reason to question anything, I simply let it be. While im awake, im a constant juggling act of emotions. Ones Im allowed to show to society, and the ones I must let dwell inside of me. If I was to show my true emotions as they appear, I would be deemed crazy, insane, delusional, sick, psychotic, and overall, “unsatisfactory”. In my dreams, I can cry as loud as I want to and the world around me will just stop and watch in awe. It will admire the fact that I have emotions, and let me embrace them in their current form. Why is their such distinct differences between the two worlds? Why is one so structured in order to maintain order and create happiness, while the other doesn’t give a fuck what you do, as long as it makes you happy to be doing it? Is this universe really meant to be structured, or is it a random chaotic mess, where anything and everything can happen?
Claire has an abusive Boyfriend. Maybe not physically, I never look close enough to catch any scars; I don’t want her to think i’m looking at her and make her feel pressured to come talk to me. But emotionally, always. Once a week at least. And she always calls him back and says sorry, even though It’s probably not her fault.
Charlie is exceptionally lonely, like me. But he actively tries to involve himself in other people’s lives. He calls his friends and tries to make plans, but someone is always busy with work, or a kid, or an excuse you know is an excuses. He seems like a really nice guy.
Grace and Sandy are friends. They get off work at 8am after a night shift at Wendys 24 hour drive through, and head to their dealer’s house on Jackson right after. Every day, like clock work. Somedays they are too tired to talk, and some days all they talk about is that next rush. Somedays they talk about how their life use to be before their jobs and lifestyle brought them down, and somedays they talk about how they want to quit, how they HAVE to quit. Every day I hope they don’t get on this bus, or at the very least get off at any stop other than Jackson. But everyday, like clockwork.
Crystal works for a recruitment company, her job is to find people who best fit available jobs that come across her desk. She never looks up from her phone, but not in a bad way. She’s working hard to find jobs for others, she’s working hard to make others lives better. She doesn’t notice, or atleast ignores the fact, that her job is draining the life out of her. She devotes so much time to others that I can’t remember the last time she did anything for herself.
The distinction between dreams and reality, at one point, was not so severe. But the more we learned about our surroundings, the more we wanted to give them structure, names, and laws. In reality, a chicken crosses the road, and we question its motives, its purpose, and how exactly it came to the decision of crossing. In dreams, a chicken can speak and sing and dance, and we simply converse with it, sing a duet, and dance hand in hand. We do not ask the chicken why it wanted to cross the road, rather how it feels to be on the other side. There is a fundamental flaw with reality, and I cant figure out why. Somedays, I wish that this bus breaks down, and all of us miss the place we have to go. We just sit together and speak words together, talk to each other, learn from each other. We might even learn that each one of us has exactly what someone else might need, might want. But the Bus never breaks down. Charlie always says hi. Claire sometimes smiles. And I fall back into my own world, the only place I know is safe. Maybe tomorrow I will say something to one of them. But today, i’m just too tired. All I really want to do, is go to sleep