Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Riding the Bus

“Sit on your hands on the bus of survivors”
David Bowie
from Young Americans

One thing I miss since I moved to the ice-covered north is walking to the local java pusher to get my caffeine fix while hanging out to see who shows up for a chat.
On many Sundays I was found sitting in the local coffee shop reading a book on paranormal psychology (or something akin to it) knowing someone would come along and sit at my table. More often than not, the boys would show up. We're kind of cut from the same cloth in that we're all pretty creative people and we like to think outside the corrugated cardboard penal complex. I recall one afternoon chatting about opportunity and why people don't take risks then invariably lament their decision to avoid risks.
The four of us are risk takers at one level or other.
Something has triggered this line of thought... again. Perhaps it's my annual odometer getting closer to clicking over to a larger, more irritating number. Perhaps it’s the wearisome annual self-imposed hibernation due to excessive snow coverage and an underlying mild trepidation this may actually be the next ice age. Perhaps I’m just missing hopping on my cycle or into my kayak.
Anyhoo... I'm getting off topic.
On this particular Sunday, my friends and I were discussing how we arrive at our station in life. My birthday is coming up and about this time every year I invariably begin to evaluate myself and wonder; what have you accomplished? I'm pretty hard on myself at times like this. It's all good though. I work it out by writing twisty tales like this, talking to people like my buddies or the love of my life, or staring aimlessly out into the white blanketed back yard taking solace in the fact I’m not the only one buried to my armpits in frozen H2O molecules. Now, what was it I was worried about?
It's all about decisions.
Having a dream is all well and fine. Making the decision to take a step toward it is courage. I've always prided myself on being a survivor. Someone who is knocked down and gets back up because of ingrained blatant stupidity or some resilience gene that simply refuses to be screwed over. Either way, I keep getting up. The last time I checked though, simply being a survivor isn't living the dream.
Is being a survivor such a great thing to be proud of? As David Bowie states, am I really happy living life safely with all the other flummoxed survivors looking at the world go by through a dust streaked bus window? It's insipid and riskless on the bus of survivors, but is it living?
Whenever I get blindsided by some event, I threaten I'm going to sell everything and move to Mexico. Why Mexico? Damned if I know. I've been saying the same thing for years; either Mexico or some cabin in the woods out of reach of The Man. In either case, it's a place that comes to mind when I'm neck deep in life altering, pungent poop and can’t see a way out.
I'm not really going to bail on humanity to spend the rest of my life contemplating life, love and the pursuit of happiness in a self-imposed vacuum. I can do that in my back yard. I also like living in Canada; the culture, the perks, the opportunity, the red-plaid shirted, blue jean wearing women, etc. Still, it's pretty easy to follow the path of least resistance and pursue the crowd over a cliff, ya know? It seems to me there is greater risk to my psyche sitting on my hands riding the Bus of Vapid Expectation wishing to simply survive as long as possible... for the sake of saying I existed longer than anyone else.
Winning the longevity race for its own sake seems mundane. There’s more to life than riding a bus experiencing the same hapless view as other riskless automatons, hands tucked neatly under their thighs, while someone else drives us all over the cliffs of despair.
I think I would rather look back when I reach the end and say, "Look at all the really cool stuff I did".