“I wanted to be a rockstar–sing for a living. I did for a while, I guess. I opened for a few famous bands…you wouldn’t know them. But hey, if that’d happened I’d never have gotten to work at this palace.”
Sarcasm runs thick in his last sentence. He works morning crew, up well before the sun to stock shelves; he sings for a local cover band on weekends, always looking for a gig. He piqued my curiosity. I started asking others: “What was your dream job when you were younger?” She was hesitant to divulge.
“I don’t know…
“Come on there must’ve been something.”
“Well, I used to want to work at a bakery.”
“You should. You would be good at that.”
“Oh, it’s too late now…”
Her attention to detail, the perfectly dribbled white chocolate accents on her once-a-year chocolate covered strawberries, her flawless fruit trays. On her off days she bakes cookies with her young granddaughter, then comes in showing pictures. (“Look how well she did for her age.”) Maybe it runs in the genes.
“I wanted to be a major league baseball player, but my realistic dream was to be a teacher.”
“Oh, I didn’t have that nailed down yet…maybe History or Economics. A teacher and a coach.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“My dad ran off with his girlfriend, and we were kind of backwards, you know…didn’t know how to get loans and stuff.”
He would’ve made a great teacher and coach. He teaches in church now and again, using object lessons; he’s and umpire during the softball season in the effort to earn a little extra cash.
I’ve been restless lately, itching to move on. I think it’d be fun to work at a zoo or as a truck driver, or something… Maybe it’s stupid to want that. My manager is amazing. He gave me two ice cream sandwiches today, slipped me money to take a coworker who’s been down out to eat last week. You can’t put a price tag on that. Money shouldn’t matter, even if I could make more money working at McDonald’s than here, but, at the same time I don’t want to work produce my whole life long. I want to make a difference, see the world–but also watch my brother’s grow up. As usual I’m conflicted.
I don’t want to be a tragedy like their stories. Years go tricking by. I have enough dreadlocks to enjoy, but not too many to hide. Could I get hired? Do I want to? I’ve not always had much luck with that in the past, but now I can say I have some job experience under my belt. Even so, there aren’t many options for jobs around here, unless I want factory work. Or I could move. Now there’s a scary prospect.
These are the thoughts that occupy my mind, my time. Is this restless a prompting of God, or my own selfishness manifested? I’ve always been enticed by the idea of travel, being a vagabond as described by Robert W. Service in his poem The Men Who Don’t Fit In:
“There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.”
But that’s just the first stanza. The rest reads:
“If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.”
No matter what I do I’ll never fit in, but it seems to me that this is the part of life where I choose if I’ll go straight and (supposedly) far, or bounce around everywhere and get (supposedly) nowhere., My instinct says go roam, though my comfort zone holds me back. Any advice for someone on the brink? Any stories? What did you dream of being way back when?