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This is your life. The orderly whirlwind. A marching band of performances and luncheons, dinners and cocktail parties, self-help seminars and strenuous work-outs - laboriously stuffed inside a box with the lace ribbon and the kind of quick, efficient wrapping job you only see in the finest of hotel gift shops. So perfect, if you were to offer your gift to someone, it would all seem effortless; only if one were to actually open your present, a Shakespearean Tempest would be unleashed. No one understands the tune you march to – no one marches the way you do. No one could march like you if they tried. Your life. The orderly whirlwind.

It becomes easy after a while. A lot like running. The first time you run a mile, you come home feeling like someone spread you on their toast instead of their usual cream cheese. Every breath is a myriad of needle-edged knives, tearing your trachea into spaghetti strands. The air you breathe seeps into the pores of your lungs, but instead of healing them, dries and cracks them like soil in a desert that hasn’t seen rain since well before the Berlin wall was smashed. Instead of the oxygenated blood you so desperately need, your legs pump battery acid. Every step taken is like being run through a paper-shredder. Hell could not possibly be worse than running a mile for the first time.

You don’t know why you torture yourself. You tell yourself it’s because you want to get in better shape, but obtaining a physique Calista Flockhart would be jealous of is the last thing on your mind when you’re scurrying through 5,280 feet of purgatory. Still, for some illogical reason you keep at it, and slowly, slowly, you begin the ascent back to Earth. The knives are reluctantly driven back, falling off one by one with every new breath you take. The air is still as arid as ever, but now your saliva humidifies it, creating a spring amidst the waste. Blood returns to your arteries. It is by no means easy; simply routine. Your toil is over. It is as if you have been running all along. A new task becomes a regular task becomes method becomes a habit.

A habit. Yes, a habit. That’s what your seemingly precarious juggling act of a life has become. It’s been so long since you’ve started, you don’t remember how to do it any other way. Organized messes, planned business, systematic chaos – it has become indistinguishable from life itself. Like the light on a wing of an airplane – monotonously, impossibly blinking on the wing of a extraordinarily ponderous mass, hurtling through the air at 500 mph when it shouldn’t even be able to move at all, blinking, blinking....

Beeping. Your alarm clock is beeping. Even it symbolizes the standardized storm that you have become. Each beep is an insult to your eardrum, yet each spine wrenching sound is so evenly spaced that not even your better half could detect a flaw. Your body cries out in objection, but the habit that has been ingrained on every fiber of your being for decades on end stifles your body’s protest and you begin to stir.

You stir to what you have always stirred to. The brunch at 10:00, the play date at 2:00, the upcoming plans for the evening. There is no such thing as spontaneity. Autopilot takes them helm from the moment you open your eyes. Then, the revolution occurs. Autopilot has been sabotaged. By you. It’s your birthday. You’re tired. You want to sleep. The tedious whine of your alarm clock is silenced as the backside of your hand knocks it from your bed stand, and the plug relinquishes its hold on the wall. You drift into the soothing tides of heavenly sleep as the shattered fragments of your alarm clock, your captor, your way of life, your routine lay unscrupulously scattered across the bedroom floor.