Monday, 16 December 2013

Chapter 2: An Untitled Project

I fell back, allowing myself to be partially swallowed up by the well worn micro suede sofa I had purchased second hand the previous spring.  Another mundane day at the office had come to a close a few hours ago, and after stopping at a nearby take out joint on the way home I had eventually found my way to my current situation.  Before digging in to the plastic bag to find my dinner, I could think of nothing but the extreme exhaustion I was feeling.  Likely, the food I was about to eat would alleviate that feeling somewhat, but it wouldn't cure my condition completely.  Was it really fatigue, or was I dealing with something bigger?  I had felt like this for as long as I can remember, but how long was that really?  As I unclasped the styrofoam packaging and dug into my steamed noodle dinner with my plastic fork I realized the exhaustive feeling that I felt might indeed be something more.  The seed planted grew as I ate my dinner, I didn't have a chance to enjoy what I was eating, as focussed as I was on establishing a reason for fatigue.  The food was consumed and my conclusion was drawn.  Exhaustion wasn't the right term, as frankly I had little reason to be exhausted.  My work was not physically demanding, but it was most certainly mundane.  My routine consisted of just that, routine.  No excitement, no dynamic twists in the regular plot.  I had fallen into a dreadful malaise, and it seemed that my mind was made up, tonight was the night I was going to do something about it. 

I had thrown on my overcoat, buttoning the front as I headed down the stairs.  As I tossed the door aside and stepped out into the early evening I felt the damp air on my face.  I walked a couple of blocks east to a public parking lot.  A regular user of transit, I had no desire to own a vehicle due to the infrequency of use a potential car would get.  Instead, for the rare occasions when I found a vehicle needed or desired I took advantage of the car share program on my city of residence.  Knowing, that the ride share company usually had a couple of sedans stashed in this lot I glanced around to find the tiny smart car parked a short distance away.  I waved my card at the reader on the front dash and jumped in.  My mode of transportation hardly matched my surging thirst for adventure but it would have to do. 

As I moved through the busy streets of the downtown core, I had the small engine working towards the outskirts of town.  Knowing adventure was rarely found in the concrete jungle I wanted to get myself as far away from my comfort zone as I could fathom on a weekday evening with work looming once again in the morning.  In a car built solely for efficiency and not power and acceleration I gradually made my way out of the city and steered my way to the urban version of a nature park.  City planners had the foresight to leave this small swath of forest protected from the greedy capitalist investors who rarely were able to appreciate the beauty of naturally occurring environmental wonder.  Instead, the profiteering types would envision a large commercial project of some sort to fill the space once the forest was removed.  Tonight, I was more that glad that the forest had remained, at least trees were still there, the term forest didn't seem appropriate when the park was unable to shelter one from the urban noise of a burgeoning city. 

Parking the borrowed car in the paved lot provided, there was a few other vehicles stowed, but all in all the nature spot was quiet.  Sadly, the few nature spots in the city that had been protected were not being used regularly by most residents.  This only added fuel to the fire for those businessmen who saw a number of better uses for the forested area.  I climbed out of the car and headed towards the trail system that snaked its way through the handful of acres provided.  No need to worry about wildlife, the forest was buffeted on all sides by urban sprawl, so no animals had found the living space palatable.  I filled my lungs with polluted air, pining for the fresh air of real wilderness.  Eventually, I found my way around a circuitous trail route, returning to the parking lot a short time later.  A couple of people were milling around a car near mine, and as I walked by the turned to look.  In the dimly lit parking lot, I likely was an unwelcome sight.  Two women being approached by a lone male in dark clothing.  Not knowing, I felt an urge to holler out that I was not a menacing creep.  But, does that actually provide reassurance?  It seems a creep may yell something like that just to ease a troubled mind.  Remembering that I was on a quest to rid myself of the rut I had dug myself over the period of weeks prior I decided to address the ladies.  I had to walk right past them anyway on my way to my borrowed car.  Forming what I hoped was a welcoming smile on my face I tried the most sincere greeting I had in my repertoire: "Hullo."

Hardly known for my wit or charm, I am one who has a small circle of friends.  I struggle to make new friends, but at the same time I don't put much effort into the act.  Perhaps struggle isn't the right word.  It implies that a make an effort that is ineffective.  In reality, I hardly try.  Not afraid of rejection, just too comfortable avoiding it.  With my smile plastered to my face, I was relieved to see that the ladies had received my greeting amiably and replied with smiles of their own.  One of them stated: "A nice night for a little stroll, isn't it?" shortly after they had both said hi.  Thirsting for human contact, I could do little more than guess at the appearance of both women.  We chatted somewhat generically about the weather and the evening before it was suggested I join them for their walk.  Accepting the invitation, we headed off as a group to a trail different than the one I had tried.  As we found our way through a variety of topics: work, leisure, where we were from and more I had one thought straggling at the back of my mind.  Rut, you have been effectively squashed.