Monday, April 27, 2009

keep the change

keep the change.

I draw my index finger up, pulling away the thin black frame up, as it slides back up, above the small bump on my nose. the bump that has a story of its own, a perfect hail mary i was visually to discombobulated to catch, a collision and a blood bath, a few minutes of unconsciousness and hence the bump. i have a small bruce on my nose, perhaps its because of the slight skewness of my frame, the improper placement of the broken temples with crazy glue has deformed them. I am running late, my back's aching quite bad and i couldn't quite get anything done this sunday morning. The powerpoint is still in the ideation process, and its 2:45 the day before deadline. I have fifteen minutes till i stand in-front of the aloha screen, swipe my card and begin another shift, the only problem is I am two miles away. i quickly run to the ATM across the street and withdraw what will be enough for a falafel wrap and a cab drive. I had a conversation with my father the day before about buying a house. We talked about getting a place of their own and all. I would have to stay with them for several years to pay the new pad, so it was on my mind that day when i got on that white intercepter. It was the first cab on the corner of sacramento and main. it was not bright yellow, it was not new or old. it was in good condition, the color itself had a monotonous effect on your eyes. the man seating in the driver's sit was in his fifties, wore a checkered golf hat, it was one color, grey but with different shades of saturation. he was either middle eastern or latin American, i couldn't quite tell and he had no accent. I sat in the right back side, worried that i would arrive late, thinking about getting done with this semester and "the house". I started small talk with the cabbie. the usual phrases: how are you? how's business? the recession rants and shit of the sort. We ended up talking about opportunism in times of economic despair . He changed his voice, it became very slow as though every word, every vowel, every enunciation that bled from his lips was heaven sent. as though they were recited words from Gabriel, zarahustra, or meher baba. He told me this: "yesterday, someone bought a new house and looked down on you because you had none, today they lost their job and lost their house. you, you are still working, doing the same thing you were doing when they bought their house. now they look at you from below. they look at you and say 'that guy has been doing the something for years, has no house, has no car, but he is happy' and then they will realize that happiness doesn't come from having a house or money"... My brain quickly scavenged for some sort of response. you can still hear the echo of my stupid overzealous words: "happiness comes from a state of mind not from possessions". I know this, I've known this. I dropped my falafel wrap, the spider webs seemed to have fallen from my eyes, the thoughts blended like ice cubes in the old glass thrift store bought blender i use every morning. My stomach begun to turn, i could feel the protein-whey-fiber-banana-shake and coffee mix within my intestines, the after taste of the omega three capsules radiating from my esophagus. He seemed to have heard my stomach rustling within, and then said to me: "everyday you have to put an alarm on your watch, five times a day, and stop. stop what you are doing and bring yourself back to that thought 'that happiness is not depended on the outside, on having a house or money', you need to bring yourself back or you will drift away, if you do this everyday two years from now no one one will recognize you. you will be a different person. just as he was saying that a quote from a movie projected unto the small darkroom wall in my brain. I thought about islam, and how you are required to pray five times a day, a sort of beeping watch that reminds you to kneel, to humble yourself to something greater. It all sort of clicked, like the ink cartridges as they "pop" into place, and now your printer works. you an print those endless pages of knowledge. I begun to understand why an author would title a book "Jihad and McWorld", I realized that McWorld, the american dream, corporate america and its values were in direct conflict with happiness, with meaning, with jihad (our inner struggle for perfection) and we needed to take ourselves back, kneel or at least think as the watch beeps five times a day. I see how the other side sees the world. how my peripheral vision is bad, i can go back three days to when the doctor said please look into the goggles, we want to see if your peripheral vision is alright. is there a test for our souls vision? a blinking dot and a right hand control where i can click and at the end find out what is wrong?

I pulled out my folded bills, and handed them to the cab driver and said thank you. I said thank you not for the drive but for his words, the extra five said thanked him for the drive but my lips screeched a sound of gratitude, that a gymnasts says to a therapists, the sort of expression a sinner has towards a priests, I saw the world and it saw me. i am looking at my watch, thinking to myself "happiness is not made of tangible objects" & wondering if i will be able to bring myself back to this point tomorrow as i am clocking in to work, as i cash out my check and do the math in my brain, and play with the idea of a house.

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