Friday, July 20, 2007

Hush Little Darling, Don't Say a Word

Everything seems so sad sometimes. You have a fun day with friends and food and drink but it's so fleeting and then you have to return to business as usual to find that it's all work and no play and you are Jack.

I woke up this morning under rested and the first thing that happened to me is that I got hit by a car. I was riding my bike on the sidewalk when I clearly saw the SUV approaching. Then, either because I was still waking up or because the driver was or, because of a more subconscious feeling that I sometimes get right before I do something stupid that nothing really matters, neither of us stopped. We just drove right into each other.

I was knocked off my bike and my leg was bleeding a bit from scraping the chain but other than that I was fine. A little shocked, I occupied my mind with trying to get the chain back onto the bike. The back wheel was totally bent out of shape. The driver got out of the car and asked if I was ok. Neither of us was angry. She was an older woman and she kept looking around to see if anyone else saw what happened and seemed concerned for herself saying that she didn't know what to do now. Should we call the police? Should she take me to the hospital?

I explained that I was fine and I figured then that all the wheel needed was a simple readjustment with a ratchet. But I needed to get to work NOW. So I asked if she would give me a lift for the next few blocks and left my bike locked and standing there, a little crookedly though.

Work was typically dull. I answered calls and slouched, trying to track the pattern of call types for the day. No matter what it is, there is always a theme. For example: today's theme was people forgetting their passwords for their online accounts. Today was the day the universe wanted people to fail at signing in. So I would reset their passwords and make sure they didn't have capslock on and that would be that, send them off with a brand new password that they would one day forget again. The fact that there are these patterns though (the next day it will be completely different) and that person after person will call needing to have their password reset or need our mailing address or call thinking it were some other number out of thousands of options of problems that inspire people to call me for a solution, gives me faith that there is some order to things and that even if life can be boring, it is not meaningless. Is it the Jungian concept of universal consciousness at work or is it because shared causes in the environment simply hit everyone at once? Who knows.

I routed through my pockets to see if I had bus money since I now had no functional bike to ride home and found none but in a dash of serendipidy my parents called and offered to pick me up from work so that we could go for dinner. After work, when everyone else had left, I was still waiting in the parking lot for my parents. When I gave them a ring, it turns out they had gone to my old place of employment, thinking I was there: another reminder of how things change so quickly -that we mix up our passwords, forgetting that we had already had them reset to a new password.

They found me though and agreed to help me retrieve my bike and bring it to my house. I started to explain what happened with my bike as we drove to the plaza where I left it and then, as is typical of relating frustrating things, relating them too becomes frustrating. My parents seemed angry at me that I got hit by the car. Were you wearing a helmet? Did you get the lady's phone number? Well why didn't you? they asked. I'm the victim here!!

When my dad saw my bike he got even more furious. "Your bike is f--ked!" Thanks for the frankness, dad. "It boggles my mind that you didn't even attempt to get the phone number of this lady!!" (I can tell that my parents are angry when either of their minds are specifically "boggled" by something).

Eventually we had a decent dinner together once we had changed tables, spilled our drinks and switched positions as to avoid the glare of sun in our eyes. Then it was that time for my parents to get on my case about things. The 'what is your plan' talk I always dread but always need.

Q: What am I going to do about work?

A:I have to figure out where I'm going to be living in just a little over a month. And how is that going to work? I can't keep working two part time jobs that barely pay enough to live.

Maybe I should travel. Maybe I should apply to teacher's college. But then these questions always give me a moment for pause and for frustration and for comparing to options that haven't worked in the past. What is it going to solve if I keep trying to escape into something new? I feel jaded. I feel that I can't talk. There's nothing positive that can come out of my mouth, and I'm searching. So instead of saying anything I fill my mouth with food.

I hate those moments when you know you don't know what to do but you have to try something. My parents feel helpless too and that makes it worse because they try to help me but I don't know what I want. I just keep going in circles it seems. I'm happy most of the time but is that enough? I want a future. I want to make something of my education, of my skills, of my diverse experience. Right now I'm just trying to pay the bills.

Then my parents take me to see Ratatouille, an excellent animated film about a rat who goes out of his way to prove that anyone can cook. It's bright colours and family appeal were a much needed opportunity to veg. I forgot about facts and submersed myself in the streaming fiction. It was as if I wasn't in the doldrums but rather off in belle Paris. But then two hours later that was over too. I had to return to reality.

Sometimes everything seems so sad you just don't want to think about it. You think maybe you should just go to sleep early tonight.


Blogger phish said...

I had to stop by. And I read what you had to say. You are lucky to get away with just scratches - but I think its a little deeper than that.

The incident shook you up, certainly. But I think it also opened up a little more than mere skin. If it's of any help, what you are going through is universal.

And I have realised it's okay to not know what one wants.

I have always wanted to be in advertising. And now I feel a little like a whore. A sell out - moved quite a distance away from what I had originally set out to be.

I don't forget passwords. Nor the smell of comfort amidst the frustration, when with parents. And it lingers, no matter how old the world chooses to call you.

Do fix your bike. And watch out for old ladies out to get their final kicks.

8:57 a.m.  
Blogger phish said...

oh and i blogrolled you. will be easier to drop by. find yourself on

8:59 a.m.  
Blogger Chloe said...

oh Barrett. Where do i begin to tell you how lovely you are. And i am so happy you were not seriously hurt.
You are the hardest working person i know and something good will come out of it. Please don't be sad, it's summertime, have some fun, we'll think about work in September.

3:33 p.m.  
Blogger madamerouge said...

The universe will (eventually) recognize you for not making that woman's life difficult. Think of how much better society would be if we could just forgive/forget once in a while.

Something tells me you'd make an extraordinary teacher.

11:31 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"to return to business as usual to find that it's all work and no play and you are Jack."

^ All I could think of is Edward Norton's self-dialogue in Fight Club here. "I am Jack's guilty conscience".

8:54 a.m.  
Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

Hell, if I hit a bike-rider with my car I'd at least pay to have their bike fixed. Where's the etiquette these days?

12:46 a.m.  
Blogger Jason said...

I've been there for the parental "what are you doing with your life" talk and it's awful.

Sorry about all the crap you're dealing with. I find Wellbutrin XL helps (sort of a joke).

12:25 p.m.  

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