The Rat Race

It’s 6:09 A.M. Right now I want nothing more than to be back in the comfort of my bed, but if I’m ever going to make it as a writer, I’ve got to write. That means something’s gotta give, and it looks like that something is sleep. I’m reminded of that scene in Fight Club, where the main character describes insomnia. I’m not an insomniac, but it often feels like I’m going through life in a similar sort of daze.

Wake up; take a shower; meditate; throw on a suit that hopefully isn’t too wrinkled; race to work; stare at a computer screen for four hours, with nothing but coffee breaks to keep me sane; take lunch for as long as possible, but not so long as to arose suspicions; stare at the computer for another four hours, except then it’s too late for coffee. Monday bleeds into Tuesday bleeds into Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. The weekend is just short enough to provide a glimpse of what elusive freedom might be like, then repeat.

The worst part about all of this is that I actually like my job, relatively speaking. I’m doing work that’s at least arguably important, and it certainly sounds important when I talk about it with others. If I’m a good boy and follow the rules, I could be billing $250 an hour in a couple years. It’s what I thought I’ve always wanted, yet I’m having a “vanity of vanities” moment. I can’t imagine the desperation McDonald’s employees must feel.

Surely life was not meant to be lived this way. I’m convinced that the 9-5 is a recent invention, at least in the modern sense of the term where everyone spends the majority of their waking hours whoring themselves out to their corporate masters. But it’s been ingrained in us. It’s the new normal. If you talk about escaping the 9-5, you’re a dreamer at best. You might even be crazy.

I’m determined to escape. Not in some angsty, Christopher McCandless sort of way, though. It’s just something I’ve got to do in order to survive. Sure, I could play along for the next forty years and I wouldn’t die. I’d still look alive to passersby; I would still eat and talk and breathe. But I wouldn’t be much of a human anymore. With each document typed, each email attachment sent, each hour spent sitting under the shitty glow of the fluorescent light, my spirit would die–piece by piece–until there was nothing left.

But I know I’m going to make it. Somehow, some way. I haven’t given up hope.

Have you?

3 responses... add one

I don’t want to reveal too much too soon, but let’s just say I’m working on it. Thanks for reading.

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