I missed the streetcar this morning. I caught one 40 seconds later, as the 504 comes pretty frequently. But instead of just being on that streetcar and riding to work, I’m writing this bit of thought (the transcription of which you are now reading). I can’t keep myself from wondering how those 40 seconds might have changed my life. How might it have been different had I caught the first streetcar I saw? It seems insignificant, but the details comprising a perfectly banal experience like taking a streetcar across town affect so much. My being a passenger on this one instead of that one means I’ll see different faces, hear different sounds, bear witness to later events and, in general, be influenced differently. The essence of my environment already decided for me, I must traverse this tiny leaf-vein detour on my course.
It occurs to me, wading through the sulfurous soup of a summer morning in Toronto, that the American Idol majority turn their inspiration receptors toward the celebrity cosmos rather than a milieu closer to home. One can deduce this is because there’s nothing more depressing than your own paltry personal space. These same people alternate between Pringles and Nutri-Grain bars parallel with channel flips. They have a particular soft spot for that rags-to-riches celebrity story and they discuss an impression of life with each other, being careful never to speak of anything that might be relevant to their own lives. This is our modern romance. Desiring to be wooed away, plucked from where we are and whisked to where we might be, we stargaze relentlessly: ravenously devouring the table scraps of the minority. Once the downtrodden starving artist type has discovered their marketable skill and successfully integrated it into acceptable consumable units, we are then ready to accept their purely creative talents.
Humans have little use for creativity for creativity’s sake. We can thank Einstein for that. Once Al made it okay to worship both God and Science, the hidden path leading away from self discovery was illuminated, heading instead up an artery of idolatry (where we are all sort of clogging the heart of the matter). Being an atheist allows me the freedom to daydream about what hell would be like for me if it turns out I was wrong. Organized religion removes even that basic civil liberty, however, I am sure it keeps millions of Sims toggled with ‘free will’ in check. Left to their own devices, they would surely file off a cliff, Baconators in hand.
So, after dating the plight of someone else and filling our hearts with jealousy, our minds with destructive distraction and our mouths with the three or so ingestible items hawked in advertising during aforementioned divertissement, we are left with very little time to spend a few minutes on self-discovery. Or, for that matter, discovery of each other. They are relationships we are not required to have, really.