High Spirited – A Previous Life Revisited

 For some the harsh light of truth resembles the molar rattling impact of a sharp blow to the head.  Sometimes this can be viewed as a merciful assault on one’s sense of being.  Unfortunately, for some, the icy waters of reality lap gently at the decaying structures in which we have housed our existence, with only the occasional swell of realistic insight breaking upon our shores.  While grounding ones life in self-serving moralizations and skewed logic makes for a never-ending kaleidoscope of invigorating, if momentary, bouts with self-actualization, it inevitably leads to chronic depressive behavior and often near imperturbable gloominess.  It is only during the fleeting moments when there exists an unshakeable belief in a better life, whether wholly fabricated out of rough canvas or grounded in a solid foundation of illusion, that the time spent living a ghostly ephemeral life is as close as one can come to happiness.  But then again who’s to know the truth when reality is individual in every respect.

 When you have examined the time as it appears on three different clocks under one roof for a few unremarkable years, and still you have trouble ascertaining which is correct, you may concede that you have worn out your welcome.  Is it really almost nine a.m., just past nine, or closer to ten after?  Daily these questions plague you, if only momentarily, only to recede into the erratic tides of your memory to slowly circumnavigate your brain for another twenty-four hours.  Through the haze of lingering apprehension you slowly make your way to the front of the establishment in which you work in order to look upon the fair kingdom which you are a part of, not as a member of the elite nobility, but rather as an inconsequential servant who sometimes fancies himself a king but more often than not lives as best as he can day to day within his many limitations as a part-time court jester.

 “Are you open yet?”  comes the plaintive wail from the other side of the doors as you are confronted by a russet faced shambling apparition.  Your well-trained manners, cultivated after years of dealing with similar situations, are immediately on hand.  But only for a brief moment…  Then without pause you come to the conclusion that the first clock was the correct one and that you now have the chance to flex the few muscles remaining in your tired frame.  Taking perverse joy in a situation such as this may seem unwarranted to the uninitiated, but liquor store clerks are a breed apart from the rest of humanity for often they lack anything remotely resembling sympathy or good will toward all people.

 “It’s not nine yet.  We’ll be open in five minutes.”

 This is not what the individual on the other side of the locked doors wants to hear and he makes it evident by launching into an argument that is either well rehearsed and carefully planned or fueled by the ravaging effects alcohol deprivation.

 “Fer Christ’s sake, I only want a pint!  Come on, it’s after nine, look at my watch, it says it’s after nine!  I’m in a hurry!”  He obviously fails to notice that you have already turned your back to the glass and are ignoring his pleas, which initially gain in volume before winding down to a low pitched muttering.  He seats himself outside on a bench, returning to peer into the window every fifteen seconds either in an effort to speed up the opening of the doors through his conspicuous presence, or in earnest hope of finding the gates to his liquor induced brief forays into some kind of eighty-proof heaven opened to him.  You eventually tire of the game, turning on the lights and opening the door in a manner suggestive of magnanimous condescension slightly tinged with feigned guilt.

 Thus begins this day, like many days long past and prophetically akin to many future days yet to come, but nevertheless vainly and fervently hoped against.  Unconsciously you often wonder, as you do now, what brought you to such a low state.  The answers are as simple to divine as the meaning of life itself, and although the questions pile up with each passing experience heaped upon your overflowing plate by the uncompromising whims of fickle fate, the drive to derive some meaning in all of this remains attached to your shoulders like some spindly spider monkey clinging to the highest boughs of the tallest tree deep in some remote jungle wilderness of your psyche.


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