FITTER HAPPIER MORE PRODUCTIVE
C O M F O R T A B L E
ON SUNDAYS RING ROAD SUPERMARKET
FOND BUT NOT IN LOVE
STILL KISSES WITH SALIVA
A PIG IN A CAGE ON ANTIBIOTICS
I lay on wunderhorn1's futon, staring at the OK Computer poster on his wall. I am complaining about my life, about my lack of direction, about all those wonderfully angsty, twenty-something complaints which were enshrined in Generation X, a book published when I was 12--but things have come full circle, and 2003 looks a lot like 1991.
"I don't know what to do with my life," I complain.
"You seem so full of natural curiosity, I should think you'd be able to pick up anything." He's a very sweet man--you should get to know him. (But not like I know him!)
And he asks me if I could do anything, what would I do?
"Play in a band."
Cubicles frighten me, and not just because I'm mildly claustrophobic. Cubicles--the veal-fattening pen--are like collars buttoned to the top. Strangling. Confining. At least in school there were windows to look out of.
"Eyes forward, Mary!"
"Yes, Sister Saint Anne." (sigh)
I don't have a cubicle. It would be impracticle, even the bowels of the library, to have cubicles, since there are so many carts of books that need to be pushed around. If anything, the carts surrounding our desks become our cubicles. It's a sad sort of irony that the thing I love--books, knowledge--is caging me in. It's not like I get to use the knowledge, it's not like I get to pick the books, it's not like the job calls for creative thought. No. I'm a computer jockey. OK, computer, where do we want to go today?
I get up. I fight traffic. I sit at work, typing away at numbers, codes, ephemera. I fight traffic again. I have a few drinks. I go to bed. I do it again. I used to do this aided with antidepressants. That was fun--my day started with antidepressants, diet pills, and vitamins. Lasted until I had the minor breakdown which lead to me dropping out of grad school.
I'm growing frustrated, that much is obvious. So as I lay on wunderhorn1's futon, I stare up at the poster. It's funny--you can stare at something countless times, hear something hundreds of times, and suddenly one day, it'll change. You'll see it in a different light.
A pig in a cage on antibiotics
I've always pictured a real pig. Little Babe the pig. Injected with some strange new antibiotic. Like in The Secret of NIMH. But as I sat there, I suddenly understood what I was looking at.
And I realized that there were two things staring me in the face. Two phrases. One was right and the other was wrong. One was a truth and the other a warning. One was a cure, and the other a curse. Because as I look at wunderhorn1, when I see him actually listening to my nonsense, dealing with my angst, I know just how much he puts up with from me. And that means something.
And I know, that no matter how trapped I feel, no matter how many drugs I take, or they want me to take, I know why people sometimes do things they don't want to do. Because you have to. Because it means later, maybe you'll get to do that thing you want so badly. It doesn't have to be for a house or a car--it's for whatever is driving you. As long as I'm aware, as long as I'm conscious, as long as I do this grudgingly and with one eye for the door, as long as it's temporary, I'll be OK. And I won't need the antibiotics anymore. I've built up my own resistance.