The sound he heard was that of a train passing through the quiet town. The familiar ambiance was the ever present connection between the old man’s past and his ever eroding future. Wherever he lived, the the distinct sound of a rumbling hull of steel advancing down two lines of track were never far. He gave pause to consider a deeper meaning – if only to him – of what this meant. He had run to the far reaches of wherever he ended up next, to get away from the place previous. The whistle signaling danger, industriousness, and progress, was ever in the background. All of that freight, had most simply, a destination and a thereabout time of arrival. He supposed that his expiring life had one as well, and was fast approaching.
The ease of access for trade, profit, and adventure gave advancement to this great infrastructure. Did he take advantage of the paths previously plotted? Were there courses he missed? All of those goods and people being matriculated across some distance started with an agreement between parties or an individual’s endeavor for some end purpose. What was his endgame? Looking out the second story window down at the damp sidewalk glistening ever so slightly from the dimly lit and yet still fading street light, he wondered if there was any worth thinking about all of this. After all, he was facing the final moments of a fleeting existence.
He thought perhaps it would be easier to just flick on the television and pretend to laugh at jokes he wouldn’t understand. Being current in his own reality had given way to being a spirit, observing his bodily vessel in the third person as it meandered through the greater reality. A reality that was there long before him, and the one that would surely be around long after his form ceased of life. So he went back to his thoughts, the only grasp he had left on this world.
He thought of the countless millions of people, goods, and beasts that went down those tracks, which were nothing now but dust or waste. That in of itself was a somewhat depressing thought. However, it gave him comfort that the tracks, or at least the routes where the original were first spiked, remained. All of those years had past and much of what was carried now laid in ruin, yet the movement of cargo was still ongoing.
So many times before when in need of precious sleep the sound of a train breaking the silence of the night had awakened him. As the familiar noise continued in the near distance, he smiled at the fact that even in his state of increasing deafness it had allowed him to fend off tired eyes. He finally closed in on an arrival to a peace, the only destination he truly ever craved.
When at work at my high powered job, often is the case where I hear the same song two to four times in a given shift. This gives me all the time that I need to hear and memorize every lyric for every song that is currently in the playlist. I should note for posterity that is awesome hearing the same songs over and over day after day. Maybe that goes without saying, but I digress. The end effect is that I take listening to these songs to a different level where I begin to subconsciously critique the hell out of them. Its not like I am some great songwriter or am part of the Billboard staff. (However that all works. I suppose I could have quickly researched it but it was easier to make a couple of sentences in parentheses explaining my ignorance.)
As I am attending to my important work that obviously needs complete and undivided attention, I question the lyrics to these songs in my head. I then spread the cheer of slighted comments to the overwhelming joy of my fellow associates. Since they appreciate my insight and humor so much I figured that I would also indulge the entire Internet (that doesn’t know this site exists) in my life changing explanations of pop music.
I have a few songs that I really love to yammer on about, but throwing them into one piece would just take away each from their own glory. So the first song in this series is going to be “Chasing the Sun,” by The Wanted. Until I find out differently I am going to reference azlyrics.com for my lyrics simply because it is currently at the top of the Google listing.
The Wanted and their songs are meant to be ear candy, and are as pop as pop can be. The goal may not necessarily be to stand the test of time, making epic music well into the next decade. Of course that is what I thought about Lifehouse and here we have them 12 years later stronger than ever. Whatever. The song in question today that I have heard so much about, or roughly 200 times in the past 2 months has a very catchy chorus. I am really just going to pass over the verses because of their lack of consequence. There are two specific pieces that should really bug not just some people, but everyone in existence.
“We’ll never grow old again.”
Really. I probably don’t need to point out the contradictory nature of this line. I don’t care how youthful the woman in question is making the members of the group feel, if you have already grown older there is no turning back the age that one has become. Perhaps the lyrics are just meant to be clever or express some deep emotion, but again this is just a pop song and I highly doubt future scholars will rank this with the works of Aristotle.
That brings us to the even more annoying part of the song.
“We refused to run.
We’ve only just begun.
You’ll find us chasing the sun.”
Okay, so never mind that these words really don’t make any coherent sense in the context of the song when combined with each other, let us just take them at face value. Again could this be any more of a contradiction where you would be hard pressed to guess the age of a human who wouldn’t find it blatantly so. When one suggests that they have discontinued to move at a quick pace (like running) one would figure that they are going to be entering a relatively stationary phase. Now when that person or group has come right out and said that they REFUSE to engage in an act of briskly moving along for whatever reason (fatigue, making a stand, they would rather walk) one would think that is is the definitive action that they are taking.
The next line lends credence to all of this. They have only just begun to do whatever it is that they feel they are doing (its pretty ambiguous) that it seems they are serious about not running away from whatever it is they are running for or from (again not sure what that is).
However, they then drop the bomb that they are going to be chasing the sun! Doesn’t one need to run in order chase!?! So have they stopped running so that they can get into a car to drive quicker in their quest towards whatever the “sun” is in reference to? Did they refuse to run from something else to save their energies to chase another goal? Is there a difference between not facing your past and racing toward something the future holds, in which you neither see what is going on in the present nor achieving victory in life? What is the reward for catching up to the sun? Again don’t you need to run in order to chase!?
There is no conclusion to any of this since the song in question has not been brought forward as a literary treasure, and probably won’t be anytime soon. Its a fun song for some people to listen to, and it had a hand in The Wanted performing for ABC on New Year’s Eve. So there’s that.
I might eat at Taco Bell too often, or enjoy it too much. In any event I think that I may have a taco problem. I do not believe that there is an actual disorder named after being addicted to Taco Bell and their delicious fare. Truth be told I certainly did not research this for fear that there was. I do not want to go to TBA (Taco Bellaholics Anonymous) , I want to keep eating Chalupas.
So what has me considering that I have hit rock bottom? Well reviewing the past two months of my taco intake, I had actually weened myself off of the nacho cheese saucy stuff pretty good. I went almost 3 weeks without the T6, not a bad feat. Everything was going well in the not partaking of ingesting flavors of food named after the geology responsible for forming the Hawaiian Islands. Alas, the allure of fast hot lunch with a refreshing Rhode Island sized Mountain Dew is more than a weak man can take. Taco Bell was back in my life, much to the chagrin of my blood pressure.
Even though all of this I was still keeping the supreme option of tomato, cheese, and sour cream cravings to a decent minimum. Then it happened. A perfect storm of McDonald’s launching the 20th edition of its genius Monopoly promotion, rekindling my relationship with potato burritos, and sleeping. In the midst of a dream that I do not know the context of, I discovered something extraordinary. Taco Bell was the great American fast-food chain blast marketing us with a promotional game based upon something that was created to serve as a distraction from the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Not even desiring to add properties together, I just wanted to peel away the chance to win more and more tacos. I gave them to friends. I was buying tacos, in hopes of winning more tacos, and then putting them in the refrigerator to save for later. (Yes in the fridge and don’t laugh, the tacos actually hold up really well. Not my idea, got it from a college roommate, and it works.) Alas the seemingly endless Nirvana of gratis tacos came to an abrupt end at daylight, and it was back to a world where only burgers and fries reserved the chance to replicate themselves via a limited time promotion.
The frighting realization that my mind pieced together this scenario while I wasn’t even awake, suggested to me that I might have a problem. However, as long as those delicious menu items continue to tempt in just a short run for the border, those tasty tacos will be on my mind.
Apparently people can find a way to be inconvenienced by just about about anything. Shocking as that might be in today’s world, it never ceases to amaze me. Of course be I might naive or aloof, but the fact remains. Anyways, here are a few thoughts on a very short recent encounter of mine.
The local supermarket is undergoing a major overhaul as large store tend to need once every so often as not to end up like this.
Well, even though the place is literally a construction zone that happens to sell stuff, I am very loyal to it (for no real rational reason) and have continued to do my food shopping there. One particular afternoon I was grabbing something for lunch to take to work when I overheard a couple’s conversation. I say conversation with hesitance because that would imply at least some crude mastery of the English language, but I did catch a few words strings together. While I cannot remember the quotes verbatim, they went something like the following.
“I really don’t like this layout.”
“Yeah it’s not the way that it used to be.”
“I mean it’s tough to find stuff; a lot of walking, I really don’t like this layout.”
Okay, maybe pretty benign to most people, but it struck a cord with me. Possibly it was the whining tone… or my own preconceptions of what the words meant to me. Being there, listening to those lines for even the brief 10 seconds the moment lasted just hit me.
Three problems I had with these statement are smaller issues, and then there is one larger item I would like to make a ballyhoo about.
First is the age old, ‘Things aren’t what they used be,’ quotation. I am probably as guilty of feeling, thinking, and saying this as the next person which is why it gets me. It’s not so much that advancement or change is always for the better, so its a bad line of thinking. When its the automatic answer, or in this case making a judgement about something that isn’t completed its just lazy. At this is more to the point. We should attempt to engage the other person when having a conversation rather than just giving out disheveled answers. Of course easier said than done when grocery shopping with your significant other on a Saturday afternoon.
The second issue I have is the ‘lot of walking,’ line. Okay, its not like (picture your largest super value discount whatever store) we are trekking through the Andes to get to the frozen dairy section. I’m not going to be releasing the next set of videos to rival ‘Body by Jake,’ but I do know that walking the supermarket is not exactly something I could sell as a thirty minute exercise program.
Lastly, saying things are hard to find is also just lazy. There are signs everywhere pointing out where things have been moved to temporarily as well as the overhead signage above every aisle. Going back to our Andes example, its not like we should need a Sherpa to guide us through the treacherous terrain of buffered tile floors.
Now taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, and the fact that once in a while I try to think like a rational human being (but not when it comes to choice of supermarket) this exchange just rattled my cage. Of course these fine people were probably not thinking of the bigger picture while shopping for their freeze-dried potatoes, so allow me to do so.
I think that it gets lost on all of us just how good we have it. Let us consider just the here and now for a minute. There is rampant hunger all around the world. Malnutrition and general lack of any food is a major problem. I am personally not heading any charitable organizations but I realize the problem, and recognize how fortunate I have been to eat well. Having the ability to go to a safe location and purchase food is actually pretty awesome if you think about it.
Now lets take the actual supermarket and all that it holds. First of all, these super grocers we now have carry just about anything someone could want. Obviously there are smaller shops that may hold better specialty items, but for the purposes of most anything we need is there. Consider the fact that refrigeration in grocery stores has only been around for 100 years or so. We are in such a small percentage of the worlds population that’s ever lived with the ability to get milk, eggs, cheese, meats, juices, let alone those extremely healthy microwavable meals, from one central location.
So we have established our blessings of having a safe place that houses enough food for thousands to eat every week, as well as that place having even the most perishable stuffs. Now go back in time just a little more than that. Even just 200 years ago and in some cases not that long, people were still hunting for the food they ate if not raising it on their own. People had to work hard to be self sufficient farmers, and raisers of livestock. After the work to get everything started, there was still the cultivation of land and beast, the reaping of both, and the preparation for what was to be stored. This was only 200 years ago! How lucky are we?
I could say that these people would have never made it on the range or forbid even further back in time. Unfair perhaps because of people being products of their environment, so a discussion for another time.
I will suggest however, that we all need to take a step back sometimes and see how prosperous we truly are in not only America, but also everywhere in the world even in these tough times. At least let us not complain about one the greatest conveniences we have ever developed in human history.
The third part of this lengthy explanation attempts to present what the mission is about in a way that some of the further discussions will be presented…
In the real world there is no such thing as a Utopia. There are some really great places to live, but not a place where everyone is equally happy at the highest level. In a digression, the case could be made that without ever any pain, there can be no happiness but that is for another time. Likewise, there is no such thing as pure anarchy. There has never been an area where, for an extended period of time, some leader did not rise up over some faction. If there was a time where that happened and a pure anarchy existed perhaps some might even consider that a Utopia, again a different discussion.
I contend, that at least for me, there its only one secure refuge to feel completely confortable, happy, or to get away from it all. This place exists inside my own head, just thinking, me and my thoughts. Its a great place to escape, truly be one’s self. To achieve this all one has to do is think. Thinking in it of itself -and not even about anything in particular- is a great way to be somewhere else even for a few seconds. Maybe there are hundreds, thousands or even millions that feel the same way. Maybe if there was a place where people jet-setting off to their own thoughts could gather in a place where others are doing the same thing. Maybe in gathering all of these people and ideas a Utopia would have finally been created. Either that or pure anarchy.