It’s easy to lose perspective from the lofty perch of your SUV, stuck in traffic, listening to Rush Limbaugh endlessly spew hatred about “Obamacare” socialists, taxes, gas prices, and that probably illegal immigrant family stuffed into that crappy Hyundai Accent ahead of you that won’t get out of your damn lane even though you’re late for work and keep honking at them/giving them the finger. Yet… If you ever stopped to think, and turned off the radio, put down your phone, and basically ignored every other self-important impulse to viciously radiate your own ignorance and insecurity onto others… You might wonder, how does that fat, rich white man know me so well? How can he so eloquently put to words every petty grievance, real or imagined, that I’ve ever felt but never articulated aloud?
Your empty thoughts reverberate around the 79.8 cubic feet of storage space behind you, since you took out those useless second- and third-row seats that nobody ever sat in. You glance up at your rear-view mirror and see… What, exactly? All the authenticity, creativity, and joy you left behind for the shallow pursuit of wealth, possessions, the image of contented domesticity? Or just the hulking 18-wheeler idling noisily behind you? Or worse, do you flinch in terror at a face you at first don’t even recognize, at the vacant eyes and sunken, stubble-shorn cheeks of a madman, of a desperate fool at the end of his rope, crushed by past failure and the overwhelming weight of unfulfilled expectations…
The seat beside you unoccupied, you spare a thought for your absent wife. The light of your life. Well, besides your guitar collection. Don’t knock it! We’ve got a four bedroom house! What else are we supposed to put in there? Don’t answer that. Anyway, were she here, could she dissuade you from this malaise, creeping up on you like the UPS truck that’s now perilously close to your rear bumper? Or is she, perhaps, feeling the same thing, stuck on a train with the uncut, unclean, uneducated masses, rocketing in the other direction, towards the big city, where she’ll worship a small glowing rectangle in a giant silver and glass sarcophagus, ritualistically skull-fucking her own brain for eight hours with numbers and cents and… How does she do it? How does she put up with me? Why are we married? How can we all come together to put our energies towards constructing a better world for the future? For our children. That we may or may not even have. But these are just examples of questions you’ve never asked.
You may have had friends once. To disagree with, to challenge you, to share both triumph and tribulation… But what would you talk about now? He doesn’t have a career; he doesn’t even have a LinkedIn profile. He has to worry about whether getting his mystery ailments even diagnosed properly, let alone treated, might bankrupt him. She married someone else. Might as well be dead to you. But no, she lives on in your dreams, inhabiting the life you crave for yourself, full of spontaneity and extravagance. And song. And animated sparrows. Wait, is this a Disney cartoon? Why have you been watching so much children’s television?