Like seriously. I am such a buzzkill.
I’ve mentioned my intolerance of small talk here. I’ve rattled on about what I feel are the inanities of such pseudo-conversation. I’m harsh about it and quite frankly, one major source of my antagonism is the fact I suck at it. I’m a miserable failure in the art of small talk.
Just when people reach that point where they try to inject some levity into the grave stream of present conversation, there I go. Obliviously killing the buzz. Any chance the conversation might have had to become lighthearted and irreverent is immediately trampled down by…me. “Acting all serious” as I was known to my childhood friends. I assume if some adults could resort to such childish monikers, I might still be called something similar.
Acting all serious.
I’m sure this is indicative of an underlying malady of the mind. I’m not too vain to admit.
One of the more popular conversational games which periodically arises when people try to “change, or lighten, the subject” is to ask the oft-repeated question, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”
Fantastical alternate worlds of non-reality are batted about and people enjoy this ability to dream about that which will never be. It’s fun, and it’s human, and unfortunately, I suspect I’m not much of either. As evinced in the world of Facebook where all conversation, over time, mimics that which goes on in real life bars or restaurants or circling the water cooler. Facebook elevates the trite monotony of daily life onto a computer screen’s stage.
So what happens when the subject of the Great Imaginary Lotto Win In The Sky comes up amongst my friends?
Why rather than step graciously into the moment and enjoy the spirit of the exchange, I take the bizarro intellectual route and lose all connection with others. For you see, most conversation is a game and most participants obligingly play the unofficial roles; no one is out to halt the momentum of smooth social conversation (except me).
The replies essentially echo what you’ll hear when you bring this up in the real world.
Buy stuff, pay stuff off, donate to personal causes or family; ultimately, winning the lottery involves spending money. This is the freedom people seek. Money is the solace, it is the refuge from the dreariness of responsibility and obligation. People are so intricately wound up within their commitments and societal tethers. Money offers the road…out. But invariably, it is also the road in.
As you can deduce from my amplified and excessively contemplative reply, I have an unusual relationship with money. Ultimately, that’s what this hypothetical question is about. The question is not what would you do if you won the lottery. The question is “what does money represent to you.” This is the inherent meaning of such conjecture. The lottery represents untapped and inexhaustible amounts of cash. The lottery represents your definition of the factors which limit your life and its expression of dignity.
As far as I’m concerned, money represents a burden. A trap. Money imprisons. Blind allegiance to the power of money is an anchor. Money is a ceiling and people joyously treat it as such. They structure their lives erecting a sturdy ceiling of money which does not allow them to rise beyond the complacent confines of their economic prison.
Their comprehension of “freedom” is material and tangible. It is solid material. Freedom is walls, it is responsibilities and possessions.
Freedom, for me, is unbridled expression. To taste freedom is to escape the cautious shackles of status-oriented modernity. Freedom is non-reliance on external forces in order that you may fully express your sincerest self. Freedom is release and exoneration from expectations and roles. Freedom is the ability to transcend preordained cultural titles.
I have no belongings, no bills, no loan commitments.
Nor do I need to own any of these. Therein lies much of my simple liberty. Having a lottery-level influx of money flooding my bank account will not release me from any obligations because I have none. Perhaps I could prepay my child support payments through our son’s 18th birthday. Silly I suppose, but that is not the first thing that comes to mind. I would not buy anything because there is nothing I want. My piece of shit car runs fine, I don’t want a new one. I’ve recently splurged on a lot of electronic gadgets, so nothing there for me. I’m a homebody and I don’t think travel would suit me. Maybe a jaunt here and there. Nothing fancy, nothing exotic. Nope, I would keep my job, keep my ancient apartment with its corroding pipes, but take great comfort in the fact that all that money sitting in my bank account has released me from social obligations. From the social glue, the social fabric we must maintain and mire ourselves in. Freedom for me is the ability to “thumb my nose at convention” and the ability to do so without fear of backlash. My freedom cannot be bought. My freedom is lack of dependence on the cultural structures which bind my soul.
I would enjoy the freedom of Self. That’s what I would do if I won the lottery.