Consequences of high-speed passivity
Outside the train window, I see life swiftly passing by.
I didn't mean to board this train and I certainly didn't plan to sit down. Or, at least, this was supposed to be a momentary pause, this was supposed to be a little break to relax and recharge before taking to the trail again, but suddenly I'm here, a passenger, passively sitting and passively watching and passively waiting.
The future is approaching very quickly and I am frightened. This train goes so fast, so fast—maybe I should've walked? Maybe I should've taken the scenic route. My passion for efficiency has a dark side, after all, and that dark side is choking the life out of me with every passing day. I mean, I like it rough, but Jesus Christ, this is overkill. I'd say my safe-word if only I remembered it.
My memory has been getting worse and worse and I wonder if the train is to blame. Am I missing the trees for the forest? I'm going so fast and I can't see everything, I can't hear everything; I'm scribbling furiously in my little notepad, but my hands ache and I can't keep up with the speed of the train. I make errors when I write, errors in my perception—misunderstandings, misjudgments, mistakes—and I don't have enough time to fix them so they stand, they sit, they linger on in my memory. I am left with a skewed image of the past, but aren't we all? Some people have photographic memory, but the rest of us make do with messy portraits of emotion and cluttered journal entries in stained notebooks. Subjectivity is the norm.
The train is traveling so fast and I sometimes think about getting off. I don't even remember when I got on—all I know is that I boarded the train a long time ago, somewhere between childhood and adolescence. After all, that's when everything went wrong, that's when the faulty wiring of my brain started to reveal itself, that's when I got tired, so tired, so incredibly tired, and I thought that it might be nice to sit down, to take a pause, to catch my breath. I have been catching my breath for a long, long time.
Not so fast. Please, not so fast—can't we slow down a little? I wonder if my stop is coming up. It might be time for me to use my legs again, to smell the flowers. I see them passing by outside the window, large swaths of purple and yellow and blue. I see poppies and daffodils, roses and violets, bleeding hearts and orchids, and avalanche lilies, and I am confused, because avalanche lilies should not grow beside train tracks. I rarely see the details, and when I do, they're usually wrong.
Not so fast. But it's not so fast, right? Life isn't this fast—it can't be this fast, right? Of course, I already know the answer. I may not be the conductor of this train, but I've chosen to remain onboard. I've actively chosen passivity. Life doesn't need to be this fast. I could stand up, I could leave the train, I could wander through the woods and explore the vast unknown. I could venture beyond my comfort zone, beyond the warm velvet interior of the train, and maybe then I'd be free from this constant feeling of guilt, of shame, of exhaustion. But darkness is falling and I'm afraid. The moon is on vacation, leaving the world to curl in on itself as night presses down, smothering, overpowering, overbearing. The stars are cold and distant, faint pinpricks of light from ages and ages ago. I could get off the train, but I'm still so tired, and I just need a little more rest, more stagnancy, more rotting in place as my life passes by.
Tomorrow, I'll get up tomorrow. Right? I'm 99% confident, but there's always an error bar when it comes to my decisions.
All roads lead to death and the train seems to be picking up speed. Sooner or later, I'll need to decide.