What is a broken dream?
A lead balloon?
An Angel has flown by.
I met a man in the subway I knew him once, his hair hung over his face, his hood protected him from the world but I saw him. I stopped him and talked to him and he complained at me about life and the expectations the world places on our shoulders. I squint. I don’t agree. We are propped up with ideas, conventions, human construction. I don’t agree. ‘Real’ world. No, stop and think, you possess a mind, it is powerful.
He told me he wants to run. Run away on a treadmill fast but never getting anywhere. I think to myself he should brush his hair. Maybe then his woes would go. But no. he told me about his Catholic mother, her intolerance, her rejection. Then he was alone. A boy, young without guidance he wandered into adulthood without grievance. This is many years ago now. Don’t look back in anger you needn’t say. He doesn’t. He is calm, a good guy. A good Catholic guy. But he doesn’t believe in God. Is that OK? Probably. Anything goes these days.
He left the subway at about 4 o’clock, chasing an errand, an errant vocation. The phone chimes and I see I am invited back to join to modern world. I glaze over. I shudder. I think about his complaints and I think about how ungrateful we are.And I think about the world we live. There is no wonder we feel like we live in a state of broken dreams. We are in a pressure cooker. A rat race. The personification of capitalism. The veins of which we can see: blue and bright and running through the streets, running our world.
I watched him across the way, he was heading in a directionless direction down a street and didn’t look back. I filled him with a moment of hope.But surely it is not enough. Surely we will only be content when we stop letting something so fierce as society control our lives. Something that will always have such a hold on us anyway, but not this: not our happiness too. It is such tyranny. Such an intricate web that it is not simple and not straightforward. We cannot untangle.
But as his silhouette became more and more distant and the cars carried on, the drivers and passengers oblivious of our exchange I think to myself YES we live in world that has us like puppets on a string. And Yes: there are powers at work that control us and we are pitiless in the face of this.
But I am still happy to be alive even if we are unhappy with the powers that override us. We don’t live in the darling buds of may.
As irreverent as our society is, we can at least acknowledge that we are alive.