It’s impossible for a life to progress backwards, but it’s not impossible for a life to remain stagnant. For progressing backwards adheres to the same factors that a progressing forwards accommodates. Accidental circumstances will always be apparent, to keep things different, to keep stability as a broken goal. The qualities that define a stagnant lifestyle depend upon each individual. Before a judgement can be made about a Lived Experience, it’s important to acknowledge the complications that define a person’s World-View. Vis a vis There’s nothing more frustrating than speaking to an old teacher, or a cherished relative and hearing those classic questions proposed:
“What’re you doing with your life? What college did you attend? Are you married? Have you bought a house?”
Which should be re-phrased as:
“Are you participating in the forced set of standards and circumstances that have been afforded to you since birth? ”
So, I am going to propose the question which never gets asked…What if I don’t want anything to do with what is offered to me? It’s not that I haven’t found purposes in any of it, I am just bored of the purposes I have discovered. The boggling theory that my time can be used as capital, to gain profit for someone who doesn’t even bother learning my name, is pointless. In-return for this rejection I am labeled lazy. The sloth of capitalism. Well, yes, I might be crawling slowly up the corporate ladder, but I am fucking happy and fulfilled. My time is of my own accord, valueless and strong. I watch those forward individuals fucking their wives and husbands. I watch them clean their kitchens with a new anti-bacterial spray that was advertised during Must-See-TV. They talk about remodeling the living room and bathrooms. Meanwhile I am living out of my car, praying to God my air mattress won’t deflate.
These thoughts occurred to me after the bonfire, but during I could only marvel at the circus of personality that was before me. By 10:30 the crowd had amassed to 30 people. Most I knew. Those that were strangers became acquaintances by night’s end.
I began to make my rounds, beer in hand, confidence in my throat. I walked over to Shane. A blonde haired, pony tailed, chiseled jaw recipient, that escalated his attractiveness with a rock-star persona. He was strumming Pixie chords on his acoustic guitar, singing, “where is my mind?” I slapped him on the back and commented, “did you ever have a mind to begin with?” He stopped singing, looked up at me and smiled. I left Shane, as he screamed about a Debaser. After a few steps I found myself standing next to Jord. Jord was a legend. A flamboyant tranny, that had more courage than a boxer. He was wearing a cut-off t-shirt that exposed his navel. Wrapped tight around his hips was a leopard print skirt, that looked better on him than it would’ve any woman at the party.
“Having a good time?” I asked him.
He tapped his right index over his lips. He pulled the finger away and commented, “would be a lot better with some drugs. Per Se.”
“So you aren’t having a good time?”
Jord laughed. “Relax.” He said. “I am having a Divalicious time!”
The scent of pinewood burning dominated the air, but I still caught whiffs of Jord’s patchouli body-spray.
“Either way, we need to make this a summer to remember…like give it a name, or something.” I said.
Jord squealed like a high school girl at a Justin Bieber concert. “Ohhhhh! I have a good name!”
“Ummmm, The Summer of Love.”
I sighed. “That’s already been done…we could have the Summer of Hate?”
“Well, that’s queer.” He responded.
“What?” I asked. “The name?”
“No, that…” He said while pointing.
I led my eyes to follow the direction of his finger. In the distance, lit up in orange from the flames, was Crusty Chris. He had backed ten paces away from the fire.
“Everyone clear a path!” He shouted. “I am going to jump the pit!”
Five obliging people separated into two different factions. The rest of us around the fire stared on with anticipation, that he might fall, or (God willing) make it.
“He had more whiskey than anyone here.” I told Jord. “I predict a fall.”
Chris took off in a sprint, a PBR clenched in his fingers. He opened his legs into a splits, as he leaped over the fire. But this separation of footing proved fatal. As the right foot landed before the left, balance betrayed him and gravity pulled him backwards. His body landed with a thud. A cloud of dust ejected from underneath his body. Due to the force of impact. It swirled in the flames. Chris’ dreads sprawled out from his scalp like spider legs. One landed in the fire and ignited. The foul scent of burnt hair attacked the air. Chris’ girlfriend, Jade, came to his aide. She stomped out the fire with her calloused foot.
“Are you okay, baby?” She questioned.
He sat up and looked around at the crowd of observers. His PBR was tipped over and laid by his side. This did little to deter him from picking it off the ground and gulping whatever was left in the can.
“That was wicked.” He said.
After the failed attempt at Dare-Devil antics, I made my way inside the house. I found Julia playing Beer Pong. Her boyfriend, Alex, was her partner. The opponents were Jeff and Inga. An interesting couple that just moved back to the area, after Inga had lived on a pot farm in California and Jeff had lived in Madison struggling to make his claim as a metal guitarist. I said something along the lines of, “you all fucking suck at any game.” As I walked past to my room. I opened the door to find Alyssa sitting on my bed next to a stranger. He had pockmarks over his cheeks, and big round glasses framing his green eyes.
“A.j.!” She said surprised. Her pupils the size of finger-holes drilled into a bowling ball. “What’s up?”
“Who’s this guy?” I said.
“This is Evan.” She said.
Evan’s hands were concealed behind his back. He brought them forward. Clear as glass, within his fingers, was a meth-bubble.
“Want a hit?” He asked.
I shook my head no. “I am good.”
I turned around and left the room. I shut the door, blocked the moment from existence.
I went back outside. Everyone had started signing along to Shane’s strumming. A collection of voices, unified by the off-key nature of their tone deaf abilities. I joined in, by the fifth song my neighbor shouted out their window, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” I replied with a sorry. My hands cupped around my mouth, creating a makeshift megaphone. After the music was silenced, we started vocalizing the noises of conversation. Discussing everything from philosophy, to sex, to revolution. By this point Alyssa had made her way outside with Evan.
“Every time I had sex with a guy…I just closed my eyes and waited for it to be over.” She said.
On the topic of revolution I commented,
“The time for reform is over. Politicians no longer listen to us. The time for revolution is now.”
To top everyone, Jord made the heartfelt confession,
“I don’t know, I wouldn’t call myself a hooker. I just fuck guys for money! I see it as a means to an end.”
By the time 3am flashed on my cellphone screen, I was half-asleep in my hammock. Most of the crowd had dissipated, only the regulars were still awake. Shane, Alyssa, Jord, Jeff and Inga, all outside gabbing about this and that. I waved goodbye and stumbled inside. I planted myself face first into my pillow and blacked out.
That night I dreamed I was flying. But in my dream I was convinced I was falling. I had two conflicting states of consciousness, arguing. Neither could convince the other of truth. So, I slipped into a purgatory and landed on the ground. Woody, from Toy Story, appeared out of nowhere.
“That wasn’t flying, that was falling with style.” He said.
As if I was a hopeless Disney star, about to discover the courage I was avoiding. But this was real life, in a dream. Instead of losing an arm and saving the day, everything faded to black and I awakened with a hangover.