I am on a conference call. The window is spackled with dry water marks from yesterday’s rain. Outside the tops of the cars in the parking lot are gleaming with sun and the trees are still. Inside there is a general trickling sound of soft typing, the hum of my small fan which blows air on my legs from under my desk, and the guy next to me who is coughing every few minutes.
I don’t know how I got here. As a kid I remember making promises to myself that I wouldn’t be a normal person, I would be special in some way. I would play on a sports team or be in a band. I saw great people on TV who did these amazing things and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be interviewed, I wanted people to like what I did, to be a success in life.
I learned two things as I got older. 1) I was not good at sports or music, and 2) living the good life may not be limited to those things. Maybe being an excellent person is something different all together. But did I start thinking that because I failed at my earlier pursuits? If I had become a star quarterback would I think the way I do now? Or are these things I ‘learned’ just a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of childhood dreams? I don’t know.
On the other hand I do feel a certain shame in admitting I wanted to be regarded in a certain way. But I have to come clean. I think I used ‘hard work’ or ‘ambition’ as props for what I really wanted: fame. To have people clap at what I’ve done. Maybe other people think this way, maybe not. I just wanted to matter in some grand sense. Perhaps now that I’ve admitted this to myself, from now on I can focus something else, something more substantial.
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t end up being an athlete or a musician. I’d be an even bigger asshole than I already am.
© Daniel Douglas