Thursday, February 17, 2011

Of Fate and Foible, Faustian Bargains...

...and dreams deferred. Okay. Fuck. It appears I'm about to take a big bite out of a huge shit sandwich McFate has graciously and with loving care prepared for me, garnish and all. No easy way to put this so I'll just come out with it and say that my trip by bike across country this spring will very likely not happen.

Cue the shit storm.

It comes down to this: I've been offered a promotion at work to a job that, in addition to affording me more brass in pocket, is much more interesting than my present one, and has the sweet little bonus of occasional travel to such places of personal interest as Hawaii and California, among others. I can't turn it down.

But there is at least one roll of the dice that could save me: it all hinges on whether my employer scores the contract. But these dice are loaded, the pips leaded for boxcars, and that is almost certain to happen. And get this: if it pans out and I take it, it all goes down in April, the very month I'd planned to begin pedaling my sorry, self-disappointing ass across this nation.

Thus, this felon will likely do more time.

The flip side of accepting it? More cash to pad the coffers for next year. Yeah, that's right. I am going to do this cross-country voyage at the same time next year, come hell, high water, or Hyperborea. The contract would be guaranteed for a solid year, with a high probability of stretching into more. Be that latter bit as it may, my ass will be in that seat no more (and actually less) than 260 business days, regardless of what happens in the meantime, and will be on a saddle shortly thereafter. Another year also means more time to "train" (i.e., drink more beer), more time to "plan" (i.e., procrastinate), more time to make contacts out west (i.e., mooch with payback), and a little more time to spend with the people I love on this coast before embarking for the other. Plenty of solid plusses there.

The downside? No fucking bike trip across country this year. And no fucking bike trip across country this year. Lastly, no fucking bike trip across country this year.

No fucking bike trip across country this year. Are we clear on this?

Plusses and minuses, yeah. So how come bittersweet tastes like straight-up shit?

* * * * *

The boozy warmth of the Curieux slips in and envelopes me from within like an overcoat beneath my skin. It is the best part of the bargain, the beginning of the buzz, when anything seems possible, save the salvation of a self-replenishing bottle. Delusion and illusion give birth to epiphany and illumination. The walls are pliable, the bars chimeric, shimmering like waves of heat from summer asphalt. If only for the moment...

It takes more than it gives now. The muse, once manic and mirthful, has passed out in the corner, vomit-breathed, with mouth agape and eyes rolled back like blank slot reels into a head as empty as a broken bottle. He's finished, too, played out and paid out. No new ideas. He pissed it all away, squandered it on his own phony promise to himself of endless tomorrows and plenty of time. But time has run out, and truth bangs its bony knuckles upon the only door in the house. It's mostly regurgitation or flat-out effluvia now. Take your pick and don't complain and hurry home for the evening. Straight home to sleep it off. The dawn brings new lies. It's too late for talk, and anyway, when did talking ever do any good? Hemingway had it right. Best to keep it all on the inside and let the fingers finish their work.

The maenad stoops once again. She whispers into my ear with a slurred tongue, swaying on wine-weary legs, lying to me, until I almost believe her. But I see the lines in her face, filigrees, like flaws in a diamond, stealing her beauty with each passing day. The devil always gets his due, and the hour approaches. The best liars, the ones who believe their own bullshit, go down hardest in the darkness. And they always manage to act surprised. Know thyself, yes. But knowledge is only prelude.

* * * * *

So much of what we give our lives over to is only fiction, a contrivance we've created for the sake of what we mistake to be comfort, make-believe that transcends fantasy only with its very real consequences. We buy into it, returning everything we extract back to the machine one way or another. And it is all-consuming, this ritual. It steals time from—indeed, is the opposite of—Love. We know this. And still we get in line for it to battle one another for the best parking space, the pole position. Every day we place a bet against blackness, blind to the fix. I am lucky enough to be fortunate enough to have enough to complain about it all and, at least philosophically, reject a large part of it. A paradox with a punch. But it all rolls on until it doesn't. Until grit and rust and dross bring it to a standstill.

There's something to solipsism. The truth is out. I've likely fucked myself for another year to avoid being fucked by others.

It's 1:30 in the mourning, and I'm just drunk enough right now to go to bed.

Dreams die today
(Do you call this living really?)
Too much hassle, too much risk
(Inside the hole you're digging)
Dreams die today
(Do you call this living really?)
No more disappointments

Please remain seated
Your number's coming
Do not question these commands
Just walk the dog
Be a bump on a log
Watch TV until you're blind

Dreams die today...

—Jawbreaker, "Equalized", Etc.

12 comments:

driftingson.com said...

Drunk enough to sleep?! Sounds like you were just getting started... Did I hear you say Hawaii? How about helping my finish planning my cross-island trip through historic cane plantations, volcanoes, and primeval rain forests, with one gear. Would that be a suitable consolation prize? We can end at Kona Brewing Company. Hell- we could get them to sponsor it!

b1umb0y said...

Congrats dude! Sounds like a win:win situation. You own this life, so take the one you want and make it shine!

Blue-eyed Devil said...

DS, you got it, man. If I get the gig and end up your way, I'll let you know and we'll put something together. That ride sounds right in line. Also, I wanna taste some of those exotic, line-caught, kayak-hauled sea monsters whose pix you keep putting up on the blog.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Dave, thanks. Trying to see it that way for now. You back in the States?

gmr2048 said...

Ok, so that comment that I left in your last post about me "enviously following your journey"...yeah, just fucking ignore that, wouldja? Thanks. ;)

Sorry about your broken plans. And congrats on the promotion. I must admit, however, that the prospect of being able to ride (drink) with you (however occasionally) for another year doesn't break my heart. (Speaking of selfish...)

b1umb0y said...

I'm back, for now...

Tim Wise said...

So are you that bump on a log? Bummer, was excited about the trip and reading your prose on the journey.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Tim, it's a temporary setback at worse. And if it doesn't go down at work, I'm back on schedule, which is how I'm proceeding anyway (building up the bike; planning, gathering gear, etc.).

That's how stuff works with me; if I count on something happening, unprepared for the alternative, then I get the alternative. Every time Unfortunately, the converse isn't always true.

brett said...

I'd say something to try to make you feel better, but I understand what's bouncing around your noggin. So, I won't offer platitudes. The situation would dig at me the same way.

manda said...

do what you can, when you can do it. it's a good time to have a job.

gwadzilla said...

so... you taking that bike trip this year?

gwadzilla said...

rather than hit Control V another time...

I type

so... how about a beer one evening this week?

oh yea... forgot... I am taking a month off drinking

maybe a night spin?

or

an evening assault on Wakefield when it dries up!