My life is separated into three worlds.
There’s the world of work. It lasts from Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, where I’m the geeky, quiet accounting guy. Extremely quiet. My coworkers tell me I’m the most soft-spoken person they’ve ever met. I don’t disagree with them.
It’s a very superficial world. All numbers, inane chatter and pointless posturing. Strangely enough, it’s a world built entirely on a few catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes. (What do Austrian nuns wear under their habits anyway? Hmm…)
Then comes the world of my girlfriend. She lives three hours away from me. We visit each other on weekends. During the week we spend the entire evening talking on the phone. A pause here for dinner. A pause there for laundry or cleaning. But the evenings belong to her. I really do love her. And I want nothing more than for us to be together. So how, for #[email protected]% sake, did I allow us to lock ourselves into a position where that can’t happen?
After we say goodnight I find myself coming to this world. The Tribe. Crazy how much it starts to mean to you. It’s like being a kid at summer camp. There’s fun and laughter. Sadness and tears, at times. Little cliques develop, there are fights over petty things, plenty of drama. Your best friend in the whole world is someone you just met, and you can fall in love in a day.
And just like summer camp there’s the feeling that you’re going to go home and forget everyone ever existed—no matter what promises you’ve made. I hope that doesn’t happen here, I really don’t. Ha!—but if I’d just let that happen six years ago I would have saved certain people a lot of grief!
Quite a cast of characters in these worlds too. Every person seems to have a purpose even if you can’t figure out yet. Like some novel where you realize only at the end that some bit character in the first chapter said something that was the key to the whole damn thing.
Take the old man at my office who shuffles along doing deliveries every day. Does he have some part to play? Something he said to me the other day with a wink? I heard that he used to be a world-class skier. What worlds did he conquer as a young man? We all chuckle at his little old man ways, but that little old man might once have been The Most Interesting Man In The World. That title is now mine, of course. (Stay thirsty my friends!)
And in every world there’s that one person that means the most… even if they aren’t aware of it. And don’t give a damn about you.
They’re so fragile too, these worlds. A couple of ill-timed words is all it takes to start a chain reaction that could bring it down. Sometimes I have the urge to do that during a conversation. The nuclear option. Just a couple of little words in the right tone… but no. That’s just that momentary urge for self-destruction creeping in. Instead I walk on eggshells, afraid to break the little spell that we’ve conjured up for ourselves. I care for her too much… but if I really did care for her shouldn’t I just let her go?
It probably doesn’t matter anyway. There’s a sense now that all these worlds are crumbling. OCD has something to do with it, of course. That’s Dr. Evil’s good ol’ liquid magma at the center, heating up, spewing to the surface, causing the populace to flee in panic!
But hey, it’s almost 2012. Perfect time for worlds to end, right? And somehow I don’t think I’ll be a dashing John Cusack deftly avoiding every bit of falling debris as he flies to safety. I’m that little guy he sees desperately clinging to the building as it collapses under him. Just tumbling off to his doom.
Sorry… I’m usually more fun than this. But these ain’t fun times.