Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So this is survival...

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
~~Henry David Thoreau

I’ve always had a hard time understanding what motivates people, or how it is that people make it through their mundane existence. Over the years, I’ve watched as friends around me used caffeine, drugs (prescription and non-prescription), alcohol, partying, relationships and other such things to get through their day. And I just didn’t get it. Until now.

For the past six months of being on my own, in my own apartment, paying my own bills, I have had to survive. Which means finding a way to muster the will and energy to get through fifty hour weeks of bookstore duties and munchkin corralling. It started off well when the daylight provided the needed energy boost. Or the experimenting with love, sex and all things new and unusual.

Then winter set in. Not so easy to find the get up and go. So I began to start my days off with a visit to Tim Horton’s. Extra-large Earl Gray, double double. I was now one of the masses; traipsing through snow and slush, head down, holding my coffee cup, mentally gearing up for the day ahead.

Then I became one of those people who gets through the week by keeping in mind the Friday night at the bar. The promise of drunkenness, dancing and the groping of random young men.

Or I’d plan my day around my meals. Holding on through bitchy customers or dirty diapers to sally up to the sushi bar and order some California Roll or Maguro.

It was exciting being “normal” for a change. I get it now. I see why people do this stuff. They do it to survive. They do it because they have to pay for a place to sleep at night. They have to eat, clothe themselves and take care of the sundries of life. But it gets stale pretty quickly. How do people do this for 40 or 50 years?

So, this is survival. When do we start living?

tall penguin


Rahul said...

Beautifully written. Without struggle, what are we? /rd

Gayle said...

I hear you. When do we get off of this treadmill, this rat race, this revolving door? This winter has been just brutal and it's hard to forget that there's a life outside of survival. Bring on the warm air and sunshine, already!


tall penguin said...

"Without struggle, what are we?"

Human BEings would be my answer, but what do I know?

tall penguin said...

"This winter has been just brutal and it's hard to forget that there's a life outside of survival."

Yes, it has been a particularly harsh winter and it will be great to see it come to an end. Unfortunately, summer doesn't necessarily bring us closer to living, it just gives us better distractions from surviving.

God, I'm a cynical/philosophical/crazy sod aren't I?

Is it Friday yet? :)

José P. said...

“God, I'm a cynical/philosophical/crazy sod aren't I?”

Yes, but the good news is that you're not alone. :)