Feeling Fire?

20 07 2008

Have you ever realized that you were humming or singing or playing from your memory a song that ties too coincidentally well into your prevailing thoughts or feelings?  How about if the song is bad, or one that you don’t like or ever think about?  Is it ever Aerosmith?   90’s Aerosmith?  Does it ever make you feel a little simple?

I may be a little brain-weary from the events of the past few weeks.  My eyes may be puffy and red from dust spraying into my face like confetti when I had Rip Taylor work my birthday party.  I may be ready to keel over onto my bed now–I’m even glancing over and plotting how best to fit myself without having to remove any of the boxes or lamps or scattered socks that cover it.  But why, during my shower, did I catch myself singing “I used to feel your fire / but now it’s cooooooold outside” repeatedly, without preceding or following the lonely lame lyric?

For anyone who didn’t know, I left my job on Friday.  It was a long time coming; I knew it needed to happen, and I dragged my heels on it, but I finally did it.  I think that, more than any form of humiliation, disrespect, or simple gross mishandling I experienced or witnessed in my time there, the thing I found most distasteful about it was the sheer lack of humanity.  Now, “humanity” is kind of a big term, and it may not mean the same thing to me that it does to you, so I’ll distill:  as many jobs in our highly compartmentalized society/economy are, there were no real rewarding creative moments to be had.  Ingenuity is defined as anything that increases efficiency. And if anyone even recognized this “ingenuity,” you’re worse off than getting no credit, because then you’re only being handed proof that you’re a good tool.

Oh–that reminds me–it means the same thing when you or anyone else says that you or anyone else is a “good fit” for a job.  You’re a tool with the correct shape to make the job happen.  We have all these hilarious euphemisms for how we work, and they all basically say that we’re tools.

Anyway, someone recently remarked to me how strange it was that she appreciated lot of things, like music, movies, or conversation, to name a few, so much more when she got stoned.  I think that when drugs change the chemistry of our brains, we kind of go out of tune of capital R “reality”–the one where we are tools for our economy with short, incomplete personal lives (that part’s just my opinion, maybe)–and are able to peer into the world in a different way, and are able to see different things.  In other words, when our brains stop reacting to our senses in the conditioned patterns that we’ve learned as parts of our big ol’ economic machine, they are able to see a little of the magic behind all the amazing things that we’re capable of but so few ever seem to actualize.

What the hell does all this have to do with Aerosmith and leaving my job, you’re asking me.  Have some faith, jerkoff.

My work, my mechanical existence, was a numbing, frustrating life, but it seemed quite normal.  It seemed like everyone else’s, like it was correct, like it was inevitable and maybe even on track.  The longer I stayed in it, going through the motions, the less I remembered of the days when I was easily interested and eager to learn about things, when I would listen to a single record over and over because it did something to me that I didn’t understand but loved.  I don’t know–the magic of the world that I used to experience far more often, if not daily, if not every moment.  I’ve begun to feel that it’s really there every moment.  That every time I think about it, I can sense how amazing anything around me is.  But I’m still kind of terrible at recognizing it, I think.

This is what I began to think about when I heard my brain remembering that “I used to feel your fire / but now it’s cold outside.”  I’ve been trained to not be interested and excited.  Probably because the less you think about things like that, the easier it is to do your job better (even though I don’t think it’s better for anyone personally, though I’ll admit that it can be sometimes better for the world at large).  And I’ve allowed it.  But I don’t want to allow it anymore.

And that, if it must be distilled in 800 words or less, is why I left my job, and why I’m not ashamed or upset that I was singing 90’s Aerosmith in the shower.

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