Do you get like this? Your brain threatening to liquefy in a stew of stress, ambition, guilt, and the bone-headed decision to amplify and accelerate it all with massive doses of caffeine? I may walk placidly through the rooms of the small suburban home that shelters and renews me, but upstairs, where I plot and plan, all is amok.
Let me be clear in saying that I have no actual problems. This is the great travesty of my life, the rambling farce that balances the drama, an invention of difficulties where none might reasonably abide. I take some comfort, as I mill about my various family and friendships, to understand that most of my fellow travelers feel this same sort of mental/emotional/spiritual straining toward something better for themselves, something necessarily ill-defined and just over the rise, a churning yearning whose only firm tenet is that we are not currently doing what we ought to be.
This morning I entertained the idea of selling all of my non-essential possessions and giving the money away, the quicker to unburden myself of whatever material bondage might be restraining me. My better sense suggested I not mention this to my wife, sitting in the living room, reading a novel on her iPad.
I once had a guy tell me that the only difference between him and the crazy folks you see on the street, mumbling their stream-of-consciousness garbage laced with profanity and the broad outlines of conspiracies visible only to them, was that he had the brute strength to hold closed his jaws, to keep his own weary counsel.
And I sat in the dining room, Sponge Bob Square Pants echoing into my headspace from the kids’ Sunday morning conclave, and tried to gather my thoughts. I folded the laundry and washed the pots and pans from the previous night’s dinner. I thought about the day and the things that still needed done, bits of work that Monday would demand of me. I began to succumb to the fever dream of it all.
And then I looked out the sunny window and imagined myself riding away up the street, bundled to the eyeballs against this clinging, relentless winter, and I knew it would make me feel better, that it would be all the pharmaceutical I needed to relieve the worst of my own thinking.
Because, truth be told, I have no problems. I have everything I need, including a bike, prepped and ready to ride, pointing silently toward the basement door.
Image: Matt O’Keefe