If it was possible to split-frame a specific portion of my life, of my day, I think the most curious contrast would be the one of days like today in which you intertwine my morning saunter as I head to work next to the conjoined scene of my departure from work later the same day. The morning frames portray my robust enthusiasm as I spring to work, an offensive virility bristling in my stride. Each movement issuing from my morning essence would be optimistic and freshly enthusiastic. In the adjoining scene, the evening frame would show me trudging up the evening stairs to my parked car. Slow, devoid of spark, tapered, neutered, a fizzling ember. Is this the same person?
Such was today.
I had an excellent Day 3 work out in the morning, and on the heels of a good night’s sleep I was set to defy natural physical laws and levitate to work. Which might have been preferable to the drive but the FAA bureaucracy denied me. I literally bounded out the apartment and drove to work ablaze with a demented fiery optimism. When I arrive at work in such a mood, I’m possessed of an incessant loop of witticisms and obnoxious spontaneity (in fact, I’m positive I’m pretty damned intolerable at such times) and there is no corporate prison factory in existence that can subdue me in that state abandon.
The day passes. Life passes. Happens and passes.
People pass through my daily stage. Events fly by, pained expressions, shitty timing, off-putting behaviors…
The day marches by lazily and leaves a putrid bloody trail in its wake.
You trudge up the concrete stairs and the despondent weight of the fleeting evening sits heavy on your shoulders. Burdens the soul. You scale the last flight, walk to your car, realize it hasn’t been cleaned in months. And you know what? You don’t care. You start the car and drive away, another day. You mind is awash in secluded thoughts and pensive ironies and you wonder how.
How can it be?
How can this morning’s raging fire have been extinguished so abruptly and thoroughly that now you are but a cold ashen figment of obligatory reality, winding serpentine-like through the cogs of the daily clock and how you wonder.
Along the way, on the tireless urban road, a mind thinks and it ponders. It cultivates inner deliberation.
Words, phrases hammer in the silence of the mute car.
A most depressing word and pseudonym for the demon of spiritual death.
To be dispirited is to lose the Self. To lose the vibrancy of a yearning heart after it is trampled to death by the errant chores and vicissitudes of a normal day.
Aspirations and confidence rendered barren and obsolete.
You can be dispirited over a period of life, week, day. An hour. In youth we are optimistic and hopeful; in old age, cynical and crushed by the bleak condemnations of a life discarded.
In the car, I thought.
I am. Dispirited.
I feel as if I’ve left the scintillating and golden cast of my former self in the furnace of my faltering sense of glory. This morning, yesterday, 20 years ago, persistently the sense of lost glory. The sour taste of spiritual abandonment and seclusion.
Dispirited. Which gripped me this evening. I lost something. Something was taken from me. The most personally endearing item, a prized possession: trust. For one’s dispirit can only be wrought at the hands of other people, of events, of groups, of social structures, of common attitudes. Tragic is the fate of the hopeful enthusiast. Dispiriting is the nature of man who must contend with hordes of his fellow man. The natural human inclination is to dispirit and sap the outstanding and noteworthy optimism from the hopeful like a leech. Cherish your dreams for they will not be long if you must do battle with the dreamless. Hopelessness is like a heavy magnet which draws ethereal hope into the deep abyss; there can be no hope if you insist on a smile. Like a sunbathed mountain peak, a smile is a challenge to be conquered.
The day will dispirit; life will dispirit and damper the rigors of your fiery enthusiasm.
In the car, dispirited.
Not quite as I was in the morning.
Spirit relinquished the stage to bland inconsequential purgatory.
Oppressive cloud of humanity
It’s every way. Here, there, every which damn way. Driving in silence, thinking of a dispirited being, driving the crowded and thick streets oozing of people and flesh and hair and draping clothes. Streets, littered with carcasses. People cross, back and forth. In front of your car. They’re the same people, aren’t they? These people who cross in one direction, don’t they cross in front of your car again, a mile up, in the other direction? Do you ever really shake off these people. Do they not go away?
Where do they come from, why do they cross the streets so slowly and cloaked in mismatched patterns and materials; their peculiar off-key faces and deranged features; even the most innocent of them are consumed with oddities and the fire of secret carnal desires.
A jungle, a zoo, people overfill. Clothes, so many clothes and outfits and hairstyles and body types and it’s an affront to your sight for we were not intended to see this many people. Nature did not see to it thus…
We did not conquer the planet by wielding the tools of our intelligence and technology to rule over this quagmire of disrupted humanity and its rampant common disfigurement. Did we? The human animal is disfigured! This is only apparent to those eyes which witness the infinite repetitious legions of humanity float across its sight. The hideousness, the commonness, the awkward and deranged and repulsive, the street is awash. Man, woman and child, an offensive primal offshoot from evolutionary remains, skin deeply mired in murky human fleshy and brilliant oils, asymmetrical and bulbous faces, clothes equally harmful to behold.
The dispirited soul will not take.
The oppressive mass will not leave.
To yearn for the self, pure, complete, apart, devoid; rescued and cleansed from the spiritual agony of this world’s perfidious (and melodious) demands.
The mass of humanity squeezes inwards, presses upon your spirit.
You try to push your way out.
But it continues to squeeze, suffocating, sapping your life of spirit, of light; you push but it pushes back tenfold. The harder you push to escape, the more furious it pushes in return. You soon realize that only by not pushing can “relief” be realized. You don’t push. And suddenly silent, like the soundlessness of a power outage, the mass stops counteracting, mimicking your non-resistance. Now you’ve reached an uncomfortable equilibrium in which your range of movement is the width of your skin.
You don’t push.
And you must be happy.