"Life is but a dream"
When I think back to growing up in Chagrin, South Russell if you want to be specific, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember any crisp details about that time in my life. The overall arch of my life’s story is intact, but for whatever reason the flow of time has smudged details; clouding those dreams of yesterday with misremembered emotions.
Did all of it actually happen, but maybe my memory deceives me; filling the gaps with self-constructed narratives.
That old nursery rhyme, about life being a dream, seems much more relevant as the years tick on. Who could’ve guessed that some of the deepest of life’s questions could’ve been found within the pages of Mother Goose.
It all points back to the same two questions. The roots of existentialism, if you will.
Do I actually know who I am? Or who you are?
Perhaps these perceptions of reality are the absolute closest to some semblance of concrete truth. Just make sure to remember that even the sidewalks crack eventually.
It’s not that any of this is inherently good, or bad. All of this misremembering simply allows the space within our psyche to quite literally create our own reality. Something, which I suppose, we’ve been doing all along.
To my fellow dreamers and movers; keep the light.
No one leaves here alive anyway.
You know that phrase; ‘bored to death’?
It’s become an increasingly funny idea to ruminate on over the course of these unusually long six months. For whatever reason though, I continue chewing on the thought like the inedible gristle of a Bob Evan’s microwave steak.
But I sit here, continuing to resist the drone of submission. Hoping that this somehow will make the requirements of office culture more palatable. The reality, of course, is that doing nothing for a job becomes increasingly exhausting; slowly. Most days I feel as though I wake up simply to lull myself to sleep to the tone of inbox notifications; my sheep to count.
Stagnation and immobility; that gurgling toxicity. Rearing their ugly heads in the form of fluorescent lights, productivity, and perfectly square office spaces.
Instead, I slowly pull the blanket of daily tasks over my head to protect the body and hide the eyes. These days gone by at 803, nothing more than a cadenced morphine drip to the veins. The warmth from a prescribed numbing, that melts the days together, being the only perk at this politically correct opium den.
So I attempt to fend off that all too familiar sense of suffocation, while I sit in this sickeningly sterile office space.
The only thing to be done?
Tap, tap, tap away at this keyboard.
Willing the demons that continue to run laps in my skull out.
I evolve my days into a sacred purge as I daydream about living; not just existing in this
Fresh fall leaves littered that Chicago alleyway, lodged somewhere in the emptiness of my mind. Yet I can recall each step so vividly as a crunch of aromatic autumn memory. Dissolving under foot, into my sole. Those shards of earthy orange and red danced in the passing breeze, fracturing into galaxies of organic dust. The choreographed representation of that which was, returning to nothing more than a powdered pulp blowing across the asphalt into the gutters of nonexistence.
That sacred journey, the returning to our truest nature of reality, inso that our creation is mirrored by subsequent destruction. The trick, however is stepping into that beauty of non existence, or perhaps return, because death is simply homecoming. An impending reabsorption into totality; expanded awareness. No longer separated by the egoic lie that causes us to believe that without “I” there is no we. When in actuality we’re only able to understand by entering into that state of release, much like the unhinging of two lovers interlaced palms.
Don’t fear what you perceive not to know. Often times this is the root of pain, because it isn’t the monster in the closet that scares us, but not knowing “what” it is that truly does. These irrational fears, however are simply a practice in remembrance. Continuously chewing on the notion that you, and I, will return to totality is what gives us the taste of true freedom. In a sense I am you, you are me and we are everything; expansive, yet choosing to believe we’re limited.
Sometimes, on those cool spring evenings, I’d lay naked on the handwoven throw rug blanketing the wood floor of my studio apartment. That coarse wool digging abrasions into my back as I’d listen to Ruby, my landlord’s corgi, unendingly bark. She was a stout, sausage like, little dog with a personality reminiscent of a grizzly. In other words she was the boss and she knew it.
As the sun would go down every evening, nearly on the dot, she’d begin patrolling the night. Slowly plodding laps around the perimeter of the yard as if she were a centurion. Stopping only to lift her head up and bark; seemingly at nothing.
It was very predictable really.
Kim, my landlord, would get home from work around 6. Giving Ruby about an hour of anticipation before the nightly ten minute walk. She’d waddle, alongside Kim, down our steep neighborhood hill getting dragged along by that taught, red, woven leash. Her rolls of fat squishing up to her triangular ears creating the illusion of some comical turtleneck.
It was a little sad to see. The process of submission.
All she really wanted to do was take a second to smell all the smells, stay out of the yard another five minutes, and maybe find a patch of grass to pee on; or as I like to put it, exert her dominance.
Kim, however, typically had other plans and Ruby’s four little paws would have to flutter intensely underneath her dignified girth just to keep in step.
Arriving home from the walk would signal her final stage of that nightly routine, which usually involved a binge on all the various types of animal crap that collected in backyard from the previous night. Truthfully though, her elegance made it seem incredibly proper. It was almost as if Queen Elizabeth herself had the same vice. Patting her lips clean with a silk napkin as she masticated the final bites of her shit sandwich, a feat that only the most respectable pet could accomplish.
Having had her fill of raccoon droppings, the process of barking into the dark would begin.
Initially I would wear headphones, but no matter what I could always hear the faintest remanence of that bark. Ruby’s sonic peaks were evidently too much for the Scandinavian engineering to handle, so I’d sit there taking it. The Chinese water torture that is Ruby’s cadenced bark. The world’s most annoying car alarm, but worse.
This went on for months. Each night, the frustration bubbled a little bit more. Nearly to the point of boiling over.
Then one night, out of nowhere, I realized there really wasn’t much difference between myself and that fucking dog. Our methods were different of course, but I too would seemingly bark at nothing. While Ruby would announce it to the neighborhood, I would allow the tendrils of stress to anchor between the folds of my brain. Resulting in the internalized bark of
“Hey, hey, hey, you suck! You’re not creative, so don’t try!”
My yard, of course, was enclosed not by a chain link fence, but by fissions of bone. My sponge like gray matter kept from falling on the floor in a wet smack, because of a few centimeters of ossified calcium. The raccoon droppings, you ask?
All that shit pumped into our unconscious minds by advertising campaigns. The leftover residues from an unfulfilled day at the office. An all too accepted complacency of American work culture.
We know it’s making us sick, we know it’s probably not good to consume, but for whatever reason that masochist in each and every one of us gets off on the shame. We do it daily by putting up with everything that repulses us, in the name of financial stability.
“Oh hey, your weekend went well?”
“Why yes it did. Did I mention Johnny Jr. PR’d in the 400 this weekend at the Who Gives a Fuck Invitational?”
“GOOD, GOOD I’m so incredibly happy you shared! Every fiber of my being is ticklish in ecstasy!”
We smile and nod. Smearing our faces deeper into the raccoon shit of politeness, and expected behavior. Plugging the cracks of our un-flossed teeth with it to finish off the conversation with a shit eating grin.
So I can’t really say if I’m all that much different than a functionally obese corgi, but...
From that day on, I began resonating with Ruby much more. It wasn’t that I particularly enjoyed when she came out to bark, but at least now I was able to see some of my own bullshit behind those beady brown eyes. That red woven leash; the obligations we shared. And resist as we might, we’d eventually still have to keep stride. Knowing that the best you can do, on some days, is sit back and patrol the yard. Announcing to the world your disdain.