I've been really caught up lately in my world. I can't say it isn't unlike myself, in fact I would say it's pretty on point. Even when I have had my spells of existential bullshit, it still really is about how I fit into that existential bullshit. I am feeling lately for lack of a better term, extra stupid. My thoughts have been strictly point A to point B, and I hardly even think twice about the hardships of others. I think I am bitter. For an absolute multitude of excuses that I could give as to why, I will leave it at that, bitter. I remember, not too long ago when I was idealistic. I also remember when my idealism occasionally gave way to cynicism in the shape of predicting my age and the "wisdom" it brings...cynicism. Well, pat myself on the back, its happening. I'm letting it happen, and that's what is bugging me lately, I don't know why I am so apt to just rollover. I think it's laziness, again, I could theorize forever about why, but that's not what this is about.
Last week I took a vacation. I went to visit my friend Sean in Chicago. He goes to grad school there and is by far not only my best friend, but as close to family as any of my family members are, maybe closer (I do admit that with embarrassment, but admit it I will). Flying into Chicago from back home in Columbia, was also a very good friend of mine, Nate. The two of them combined are possibly some of the smartest people I have ever met, or will ever meet. But besides that point, they are genuine. Possibly knowing someone for that length of time dissolves any illusions, or maybe that's what makes them special to me to begin with. In any case, we were all to be in the Windy City together for 5 days. Unlike past trips with these guys, this was abnormal. Usually trips consisted of long car rides, playing board games while camping out under the stars, or simply hanging out in college dorms or parents living rooms as kids. For the first time, we had decided to meet in a location not common, to do one thing, enjoy each others company. There is only one instance where this occurs in my lifetime, trips of this nature. And that is what I eluded to earlier, family. With that being said, I was in a certain mindset.
A few days into the vacation, veins flowing with long nights of spirits, head swimming with jokes and stories, and eyes bulging from short turnarounds before we did it all again, the trip came to a crossroads. Like many people not of our age and generation, lost as to what our "purpose" is, we are no different. Some as Nate would like to say "hide it better than others". That point is still in debate, however, the validity of purpose is something never to be overlooked.
The night seemed to winding down like the ones before. 3am, we were ready to stumble a few blocks to Sean's apartment after a failed attempt to wrangle a band of degenerates together to play a game of pool. Many had already broken off from the pack to scatter into the safe confines of the Chicago campus scene. We stopped for a snapshot in front of a firehouse with the local heroes and went on our way. It was then, a black man came from behind our wobbly group and struck up a conversation. After a few jokes about race and murder, only blocks from Barrack Obama's Southside digs , he humbly invited us into his own house for a nightcap of imported beer, shrimp, and lobster tail (The latter still as yet to be seen). The majority of us, in a one for all attitude, accepted with a bit of tension and alot of crazy. We began walking down an alley when two from our group said enough was enough and left us to be butchered, on vacation none the less. We proceeded onward, continuing the pleasantries, all of us stopping every block or so to admire the lattice work and water neighborhood trees. We all eventually arrived at the residence, bleary eyed and ready to call it in before stepping inside the unknown. In we went though, and with that decision, a chain of events unfolded that would change my perspective, or at the very least, make me look at all of my friends and loved ones very differently.
Immigration! This is the tasty fare being served up with cheap beer and frozen pizza? Fine, pass me the danish, I begged inside. Peeling away the sweaty icing from the plastic shield, I looked on, a fly on the wall. A very nice wall to all of our surprise. Furniture and fixtures and appliances, oh my! This 30...err..40.. something bachelor was living a "comfortable existence". A restaurant manager we later learn, preparing to move to his new Camelot on the gulf coast of Texas. With pictures in hand, we moved away from immigration, right into materialism, veering off into intercourse and back on track with abortion. My intellectual heritage class didn't touch on as many taboo subjects as this "Kevin" did. He was as fresh as a daisy and seemed to be ready to run a marathon. Me however, stupefied, exhausted and drunk, was at my end. I was physically, and metaphorically done, finished, spent. In short, to call me apathetic at this point would be to call Somali kids hungry, I get it. Something happens to the mind at times like these, it kicks into a gear you didn't know you had. I was unaware however that I wasn't the only one feeling this.
Nate was restless, he became overly animated, boisterous, and almost belligerent to a man we still weren't sure had white kids in pieces in his freezer. It was time to go. Nate however, always one to skip formalities in this instance, just left. 2 hours into our nightcap, we set off to find our comrade and bid Kevin a good evening. Not expecting where to even find Nate, we stood outside the house, only to discover he hadn't gotten very far. A mischievous laughter crept over the brick stoop and we discovered him crouched on the side of Kevin's house waiting for us. A good laugh and some more thank yous (mainly for not eating our brains and raping our eye sockets) and goodbyes and we were off. We made it back to our female companions place to ensure she was safely inside. Another set of goodbyes and finally, I could feel the comfort of a college sofa under my head, heading its call like a great beast.
The sun was afoot as we drove back to Sean's, when we (Sean and Nate) decided to watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan. Not having the energy to object, off we went, into the sunrise, which I admit isn't quiet as dramatic. Pulling up to the lakefront, I became energized, or delirious and agreed this was a good idea. The three of us, pretty sober by this point, made our way down to the waterfront. We watched, just as men, women, plants and animals have for an eternity with a breathless anticipation. There is something about sunrise and sunset, when for that brief moment you think to yourself, will it happen today? It isn't even a perceivable doubt, only one that becomes more clear upon reflection. Like most of our un-perceivable doubts. Nate began, he had alot on his mind, and in his eyes. I had never seen him this vulnerable. I had taken for granted that I have cried in the past in front of my friends, for reasons I had always felt validated. But when I initially saw it in Nate, I turned away. I didn't want to be his friend, I hated him, I hated myself. He was speaking and his words were garbled, and voice shaking, and he referenced archaic cliches that I had already cleansed from my mind, forcefully, some years ago. Yet the more he spoke, the more I understood. The more I sympathized. The less I could say.
Nate wanted a purpose, he thought he did not have one, and wanted validation for the way he was feeling. He sounded like a man who knew what he wanted, he just didn't know if it existed. Sean and I listened, Sean mostly talking. He saw through me. He saw through Sean, although Sean was not nearly as guarded. He saw that I was just faking it, that I had convinced myself that I knew what I wanted, found it, and got it. He didn't directly call me out on it, but he knew. I knew he knew. I didn't hate him, I wanted to but I couldn't, he was the one of us who had captured his doubt. He had his doubt in a stranglehold and was in an epic wrestling match where no winner could yet be identified. Sean and I, we let doubt win. We ended up paying for its rent to live in a nicer apartment than we ourselves live in. It eats better than us, it fucks better than us. Our doubt goes out with his friends and makes fun of us, sometimes sets flaming sacks of poo on our doorstep as a practical joke. Our doubt is a douchebag, dickhead and he doesn't care who knows it!
The sun was up now, blazing across the Chicago skyline, making a trillion lights dance on the water and waking up rabbits and fish all around us. The Rabbits and Fish were awake, but I wasn't. This needed reflection. I left Chicago, said my goodbyes to my good friends. I went back to New York, were my Doubt lives. I have decided to put on a pair of shorts, get a few stretches in, and start to wrestle. I wasn't sure if Nate was winning of loosing next to the lake that morning, but he was fighting. Something I haven't done in some time. Thank you