A Constant State of Stagnation

How long can you sit still? How long can you wait around, twiddle your thumbs, flip pages in the proverbial seatback magazine of your own life, where the advertisements are excuses and the editorial a Flashback Friday from things you did, two, four, or forever many years ago. My fingers tap on the table as I push past the pages with the less exciting stuff. Stop and stare at an ad for the latest in distractions, time wasters and could-be-doings. I pour myself another beer, maybe my fourth, but who's counting? The sun is setting outside. The lights in the kitchen are pale and orange. Dinner is ready.

Time seems to pass so quickly when I want it to the least, and drag on endlessly in those days, weeks or months between the Action. It's the Action I'm after, you see. Feelings. Emotions. Reactions. Anything but another beer. Another night indoors, spent behind a screen, glowing blue, and pale and fat.

The Action, though, isn't your weekend trip to the ocean, your ten day vacation to some country you researched extensively. Tickets and trains, restaurants recommended, and everything else laid out ahead of you. The Action doesn't tell you it's coming. It shows up unannounced. Drops in when you're still in the shower. It yells out across the room and then pulls you by your wrists through the door. It doesn't wait.

The suffering seems so unnecessary sometimes, though. Two hours of sleep outside an old gas station, or a hotel room above a night club. Maybe ten hours at the wheel while the Italians smoke and sleep, the windows rolled down while crossing the desert. The sun comes up over the hood, out there beyond that dune. It's cold, and still and quiet. Soon, though, the wind will be working on your back, pushing sand and silt into your skin, your eyes and ears. The white wasteland of sand and sun a blank canvas for God's painful plan. To test your will, if only a little. To ask you why you'd suffer so much for so little. A frame, a photo, a few words, some kind of story to tell when you get home, when you're leaning against the bar talking to people planning their next vacation - probably somewhere exotic, to drink and golf. A vacation to numb their feelings, so they don't remember how bad it is back home. A home where they'll pour that fifth pint. Like I just did. But I'm not trying to forget, I'm trying to remember. How much it hurt. How much I want to hurt like that again.

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