I’ve never been one of those people with the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality. Matter of fact, I rather like sleeping. It’s one of my favorite things to do; but recently, I find myself sauntering from one sleepless fog to the next. I’ve stumbled upon this zombie lifestyle by accident, because I defiantly did not choose this path on purpose.
As a kid I hated traveling. I remember one family road trip to Florida when I woke up crying and demanding we turn the car around to stay home instead. We were less than 60 miles into the drive, and I was 14 – Both were unacceptable.
But here I sit, once again, waiting on a flight—flight that will take me somewhere new, somewhere exciting, somewhere wonderful. Well, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself, anyway. I tend to give myself pep talks before traveling to reassure myself I will go exploring; I will try new things, and I will conquer all things awesome in these new lands. Truth is: nine times out of 10 I end up sleeping till noon at the hotel, playing online all afternoon—only leaving my make-shift cave for food and the very rare times I’m actually motivated to exercise.
Inevitably, I always feel like a failure when I return. I have this wonderful gift and I’m using it to my full advantage to travel across country, but instead of learning new cultures or meeting interesting people, I lay around un-entertained and diseased with false promise of adventures for the following day.
“Okay, I’m not going to go downtown today, I’ll stay in and make a couple flyers, return some emails; then tomorrow, I’ll get up early, go run—first thing—and get it out of the way, shower up and head downtown.” Great sales pitch, huh? Best of both worlds. Work today; play tomorrow –all great in theory, but my running shoes are never unpacked, and I don’t even notice until I’m unloading my bags after I return home.
Isn’t life about connecting and learning? I mean if you ask me that’s the textbook answer. Short, sweet and pure. Connect with a complete stranger, learn about them, their family, their city, their culture, and apply some of those things in your own life to enrich it. It seems like if you stick to that plan, you’ll die happy and fulfilled. Your funeral will be an array of walks of life, and your memory will, hopefully, inspire others.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy meeting new people; I do. I just find myself being very reserved off stage. On stage I interact just fine. If you’ve been to one of my shows you know I’m no stranger to getting to know my audiences. I feel safe up there; I’m comfortable. I feel like the pope in that little glass car. Offstage, I’m vulnerable, fragile and often found in awkward conversations leading nowhere about weather and sports and other popular non-issues.
Maybe that’s the reason behind my introversion. I feel like there’s going to be a test at the end of this ride, and I was never very good in school. I’m learning all the non-important things in life, because that’s what the American culture likes to jam down our throats. We are a fame hungry country. If this were not the case, shows like TMZ would not exist. How does a reality show have higher ratings than the President’s speech? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but then again, I don’t find myself watching either. But in those awkward conversation exchanges I so often find myself a part of, the non-issues seem to be all on the table to discuss.
I wasn’t raised with a religious surrounding; honestly, the only time I talked to God was when I was in need. Now that I’m older, I find myself questioning the lot of it versus lining up to talk to air, because that’s what the “good book” tells us to do. I don’t know what I truly believe; I just know that prayer and religion, in general, makes me feel foolish.
Given the fact that I have no interest in religion, sports or reality TV, where are my conversations? I think that’s the real root of it right there. Even if I were to reach out and meet new people, what would I say? I’m typically un-informed and usually run dangerously low on “give a fuck” fuel. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble. I have no common denominators to bond with society.
I find myself in a constant state of “Where am I?” More times than I can count—on any amount of fingers and toes—I’ve been jolted from a deep sleep to do immediate math on time zones or estimated drive times. Sometimes I wish I had a regular life. In fact, that regularity is something I constantly struggle with. I recently discussed this with another comic friend, and he said it best: “The grass is always greener on the other side…until you have to mow it.”
I like mowing my yard; I love my job. Sure there are a lot of weeds, but I really can’t see myself doing anything else.
So, I’m here waiting on another plane. Two hours of sleep moving me forward, and I notice the other worker ants bustling through the terminal. All of us traveling, running, driving about in a perpetual state of motion, but I often find myself asking where the hell are we going, and why aren’t we getting better at this? Sure, we have our itineraries and fancy new technologies and safety procedures, but if we ask ourselves what our real “Big-picture” plan is, I think a lot of us are found vague and wanting. I guess that’s where these reality TV shows come from. We consume ourselves with other people’s false grandeur and the cheap price of easy fame. But what is it moving us toward? I wish this desire for a better life for ourselves and our children evolved into a more positive change than of another season of Jersey Shore.
How bad do things have to become before we wake up? How long will we remain sheep, question-less in a silent line eating whatever’s put out there from our own laziness and inarticulation? I’m done being just another sheep. I am going to be more informed. I’m going to open my eyes, stretch myself and take charge in my life...
And there I go with those pep talks again.
I’m in motion but not moving towards anything. None of us are. I vote we stop following “Google maps” and start making our own roads in history. Stop spending money, time and energy on Michael Jackson’s pill pusher and let’s end this war. Stop spending money, time and energy on reality TV and actually change our own reality – put that money and effort back into our local community. Stop giving and start taking. Stop giving money, time and attention to non-issues and start taking the time to make an actual change. They cease to be “small” steps when we are moving in one direction.
But for now I have another plane to catch, another city to see and more interesting people to meet. At least that’s what I’ll be trying to sell to myself.