It’s Friday, the end of our working week. The day we wake up feeling slightly less morose than yesterday. Why? We’ve got two days of scheduled escapism to look forward to.
As part of this week’s thoughts on Escape I want to rise up from the depths of our conscious inner being and back to the surface.
I’m talking about the things that most of us consider to be our reality; everything around us, the physical things we see, hear, feel and touch, the situations and scenarios and circumstances we find ourselves in. And most importantly, how the combination of these outer influences make us feel inside.
And I’m pointing my attention towards a perfectly poignant depiction of just that; something that most of us are part of in some way shape or form – The Rat Race.
You wake up feeling a little bit groggy.
Your head hurts and your eyes don’t want to open. You keep them closed and reach over to the mobile phone you kept beside your bed and press the snooze button. You roll over and pull the covers up over your face.
“Just one more snooze and then I’ll get up”.
The alarm goes again and you curse yourself for not changing the alarm tone to something a little less irritating than ‘Over The Horizon’. You throw back the covers like a moody teenager and put your feet on the floor, grumbling out mutterings of self-condemnation for those two glasses of wine you had after dinner.
You look in the mirror brushing your teeth and stare back at your sombre reflection. Your eyes are sunken and your cheeks are falling towards the floor.
“You look so tired”, you say to yourself, “Why did you stay up so late last night watching Game Of Thrones? You knew one episode was enough, why did you end up watching three?”.
Your shoulders are slumped and your feet shuffle behind you in your slippers, as you potter down into the kitchen. You make a coffee. You don’t really stop to think how this coffee makes you feel, you just know it’s a morning pick-me-up, a habit and quite frankly it’s the only bit of pleasure you’ll have all morning.
You sit down with your back hunched over slightly and slurp your coffee before choosing one of two forms of morning entertainment.
If it’s the news, your eyes and ears are attacked by a blitzkrieg of negativity; tragic accidents, cunning murders, civil wars, the economic collapse of one country and the crisis level famine in another.
And if it’s social media, you’re tormented by page after page of totally unattainable, and might I add illusory, perfection.
The Rat Race
You get changed into something that makes you feel like you’re off to a funeral, grab your bag and you’re on your way.
In one hand you’ve got a paper cup of coffee and in the other you’ve got your phone – still scrolling through a sea of misery or filtered falseness. Your eyes are glued to the screen, your head hangs low and you march on forward to join the rest of the racing rats.
The energy of the crowd is palpable; a collective melancholy rises up from the core of every soul. You can feel their sighs, their tuts and their dread for another day.
There’s music playing in everybody’s ears but it doesn’t seem to be helping. “Perhaps they’re all listening to Somebody Kill Me Please, that song from The Wedding Singer? It would definitely make a fitting soundtrack”, you say to yourself, as a wry smile appears on your face but quickly fades.
The stomping continues and nobody makes eye contact – it’s too early for small talk and fake smiles. You march on in autopilot mode and no matter how many wishes you make with your thoughts, you can’t go back to bed.
You make it into work just in time to grab another coffee before heading to your desk. It’s time too for fake smiles and small talk. You’re greeted by the same faces and the same morning chatter before you turn on your computer and begin to read the same emails.
By eleven, groundhog day is starting to get the better of you and you’re back on your phone, scrolling through dreams. “Not long now until the lunch break”, you reassure yourself, “I wonder how long I can get away with hiding in the toilets for?”.
The clock ticks on and there’s just about enough laughs and excitement to keep you going until the little hand strikes five – and five o’clock on a Friday afternoon can mean one thing and one thing only.
You join the excitable stampede down the steps and towards the main doors. Everybody’s talking loudly and lively. The energy is electric and you’ve forgotten all about that gloomy cloud that cast a dark shadow over your mind that morning.
A world of possibility lays before you, well at least for two whole days and you know exactly how you’re going to spend it. There’s a spring in your step and you know you’d better get to Be At One before Happy Hour runs out.
You turn and catch your reflection in a mirror. You barely recognise your own face – or at least it’s been a while. Seven days to be exact. Your eyes are alight, your cheeks are high and you’re smiling.
It’s Friday. It’s the weekend. And it’s time to escape.