The walk to work was uneventful, the morning calm and chill as I followed my customary path alongside the railway tracks. It was a route that took me through what greenery I could find, giving me a few minutes of clean morning air before the eight hours of recycled facsimile that I would soon be inhaling. Once again my thoughts drifted to ‘the story’, my constant companion on this walk to the walled kingdom where ambition goes to die.
Starting as a single flash of imagination as a metro car passed by, the next year watched it evolve into a monstrosity that my memory was struggling to hold. It demanded to be recorded onto paper or be forever lost to that great abyss of idle creativity. Nights in, days out, my attempts to chronicle this growing tale was subjugated by the daily stranglehold of necessity and existence. Each word becoming a condemnation of days events instead of the story I wanted to tell.
This particular morning brought with it a revelation; one that you secretly knew all along, but hid from yourself in order to move on with your day. The promise of advancement, of a non-lateral movement, of a direction away from the growing cesspool of stagnation that has become your life. The carrot dangling in front of a mule long given up on ever achieving its slowly rotting enticement. This morning was the realization that I would no longer take part in that particular brand of insanity.
“I want something more for myself,” I explained to the man across the table after I set my coffee down. “Selling out to the next highest bidder makes my life no better.” I declared my lack of faith in this selfish god of reimbursement, and that I could no longer even attend church, much less perform my daily attrition. He smiled and agreed, then asked the age old question of concerned educators the world round; “What do you want to do with your life then?”
I began to explain ‘the story’, and my desire to put it to print. He listened with enthusiasm, professing a desire to read it if it was ever completed. Then he mentioned something I should have known, wished I had known. There was an accumulating retirement fund in my name, one that I didn’t have to die or retire to collect.
I was thankful that I had set my coffee down, it may have ended up in my lap otherwise.