No Breaks

Posted: August 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

In every life on this planet, all the way back to the very beginning, there is a turning point in a person’s history. A hallway with two doors, one of which must be opened, and one of which must be barred shut, sealed off and never to be explored. Some people do their best to avoid opening one of these doors. They sit in the hallway between them like a child ready for a nap, paralyzed by decision and unable to bring themselves to choose between left and right. And the thing about life is, that this third decision of indecision is possible, but these people are never the ones to be considered great, looked up to, admired. What we look for an individual is the ability to decide between one thing or another, with confidence and reflection, wisdom and bravery. But, ultimately, some people simply choose not to choose.

And they continue to exist in our world, drifting along the sidewalks and in the middle lane on the highway as ghosts, never offensive, never intrusive. It is almost as if their noses are thumbed at the very circumstances that gave them life to begin with. Truly, none of us asked to be made into a living thing. Some physicality occurs and some cells begin to mutliply and before you know it, your boyfriend is asking you where you want to eat and neither of you can decide, neither of you want to. Leadership, among many other qualities, is tiresome. And after a long day of working or cleaning or raising more created lives without their consent, tiresome activities cross the threshold into exhaustion. It is not enough that they are undesirable, they become unfathomable, impossible even. Choosing between a hamburger or fried chicken is just something that should be left up to someone else.

So we admire in leaders the ability to decide. Whether they are called upon to have that ability or inherit it the way one would inherit an oak desk, we admire them and shake our heads and wonder how a human of all things could do such a job. Or we shake our heads and discuss the myriad ways in which we could do better. Only we don’t. Because leadership takes effort. And effort is tiresome. And we, the humans, are tired. Those of us that are not tired decide to lead the tired. And then those of us that lead the tired become tired because the tired are too tired to be led. Parents know this first-hand, when they have a child who refuses to be put to bed, but is so tired that they then proceed to throw a tantrum, or fall asleep somewhere that is not their bed. They resist the very nature of being tired, but refuse to acknowledge tiredness until it overtakes them, as if the need for sleep can be ignored and set aside.

Of course, for many people, removing the need for sleep would either be a great dream or a horrible nightmare. For those that can not stop, that must always be planning and doing, not sleeping would be a great boost to the ability to do so. The narcotics market may suffer for this, but they might find a way to still market their goods for these purposes. For those that want only to sleep, this would be problematic. Society deems the sleepers, the dreamers, lazy already. That their great joy in life comes from within their mind, from a place of stillness and restfulness is not a quality to be laughed at or derided. But ours is a world of doers. We all, without our agreement to do so, are conscripted into a system where we spend our time doing tasks in exchange to make other people spend their time doing tasks so that when all is said and done, people can rely on each other because they must. It is a bridge of people holding hands so that none fall and all can cross, only we are simply holding each other up. Perhaps if we had not decided to cross this canyon, none of us would be waiting for the others to cross.

If you are reading this, still reading this, you may be wondering what my great point in all of this is. You may be thinking that I am building up to some suggestion that we follow some radical doctrine of isolation or togetherness, some meditation or some refusal to rest. But the thing is, I don’t know that I have the energy to try to lead people in some way like that. I don’t think I do. I get tired enough doing my best to entertain and tie together the people around me into neat little wreaths of activity. It exhausts. What I do know is that we take people who are genetically similar and separate them on the grounds of genetics. We take people who are intellectually across a spectrum wider than we can understand: billions of perspectives in the present, not counting the ones that existed before and the ones that will exist later, all unique and different, and ask them to all think the same way, to be motivated by the same drives that our leaders are motivated by. But we are not motivated by those. We are not motivated. We are tired. We want to sleep and be still.

And I, I am tired too. Only I learned long ago that I am one of those people who would rather not sleep if they could. I am very good at sleeping, I do it for long stretches and I do not easily relinquish its embrace, but I learned, as I said, long ago, that I am happier without it. I am happiest when I am doing. When I sleep, I sleep heavily and dream often of the mundane or the unpleasant. Last night I dreamt that a tornado hit my house and sent it two blocks away, ravaging my whole neighborhood. We had 7 people to fit into a 5-seat car and drive to shelter. I went to bed feeling depressed and woke up feeling better. Because I had time to do. And things to do. And that is what keeps me smiling and productive, is not slowing down enough to look at the inside of my own brain.

  1. VxJasonxV says:

    Quite possibly my favorite piece of your writing I’ve ever read.

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