Questioning (Final Book Excerpt)

When you’ve put all your effort into something, you’ve changed your life.  You gave up everything that you previously lived for.  You let go of the places and the people that were so influential, that had so much meaning.  When you’ve done that but you don’t seem to have gone anywhere you question.  You wonder was it all worth it?

Another dark, cold morning.  The floor is covered in a thick layer of snow.  Stepping outside you find it has already frozen over.  Walking carefully so as not to drop on your arse.  The four mile walk to the station every day is a time for contemplation, a time for worry, a time for exaggerated, disastrous scenarios.  At least today the icy floor gives you some respite.  You need to concentrate, choose your steps carefully.

The road is barely lit.  Few cars pass.  Your mind races through all the things that you’ve been through.  Where is all this leading to?  Surely it can’t be this?  Waking up every morning, going to a warehouse, pushing a trolley around for seven hours and then going to bed.  Surely there is more to it than this.

The geezer you work with lives for the place.  He is obsessed with targets, he wants to beat the new record.  Racing around with his trolley in order to pick up items that your wages can’t afford.  Items that are sent off to someone who has clicked on a button.  Someone that will never think about the consequence of clicking that button.  No idea who is running around for them so that they can have that new Armani shirt.

Surely my life can’t come to this?  I won’t end up like that?  Running around every day, running around picking up clothes.  My life can’t come to that.

Reaching the train station in a daze.  There’s no ticket officer and you’ve only got a note.  Fuck the ticket.  The sky is gradually becoming lighter with the strange dimness of winter mornings.  You go back in time.  Back to when you were sweating, shaking, walking to the shop for the elixir of your life.  Is this any different?  At least you got some more enjoyment from that.  You could escape from that.  You can escape from this too, but do you want to?  Where do you want to go?

It’s been nearly 3 years.  Three years since you took those steps that led you here.  Were they the right steps?  What have you achieved since then?  The train pulls in to your station, the people waiting on the platform all have the same look.  They’re doing the same thing they do every morning.  The same thing that they have to do every morning.  Is that what this is all about?  Repetitively doing something while repetitively reassuring ourselves that at least we are existing?

Another 4 mile walk to the warehouse.  A warehouse full of people who are just existing.  Talking about their pay.  Living purely for the weekend and going out and getting ruined.  Coming back to work on Monday and doing the same thing again.  At least they have that.  I don’t even have that anymore.  I go home and do nothing.

People have the choice to live their lives as they choose.  Perhaps these people do enjoy their lives.  Is it my own cynicism?  My own aloofness?  I am not better than anyone else.  Why does this all bother me so much?  Why am I always so restless?  Why am I never satisfied with what I have?

I don’t dislike these people, but I feel a contempt towards them.  Why are they satisfied with doing just this?  Same thing every day.  Or is it a contempt for myself?  All that I have been through, all that I have given up, and here I am pushing around a trolley while being ordered about by someone.

As break time arrives I roll up a fag.  The sky is a light blue, the sun bright but it’s cold.  A crisp winter day.  I look around as people play with their phones.  Laughing and joking.  My mind drifts back to India.  The warm January mornings, looking out to snowcapped mountains.  Now I’m looking out at snow topped warehouses, listening to people talking about the inanities of life.  I need more than this, I need to escape from this monotony.

As I push the trolley around I think about people in meetings saying that they would pick litter up in the street if that meant they were clean.  Me?  If this is what my life will be for the rest of my days then fuck it, I don’t want to be clean.  This isn’t a decision to relapse.  I don’t have any intention of relapsing.  My intention is to do something about it.

I listen to people talk about getting married.  What they are going to do with their kids tonight.  Priorities change.  Your goals change.  At one time this is what I wanted.  Now it isn’t what I want.  I don’t want to get married, I don’t want kids.  It’s boring.  It would make life to boring.  I couldn’t handle the sameness that every day would entail.  If that’s what you want, then fine. It’s not what I want though.

It’s time to sign out.  Time to walk back towards the train station.  Time to contemplate life and its various meanings.  The snow has melted.  The sky has clouded over.  As the bus home rolls slowly through the snow covered countryside I have decided that I don’t want this anymore.  I need to change this.  If I don’t change it then there’s no point.  It was all a waste of time.  There’s a lot more to life than all of this.  Fuck doing this shit every day.



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