I'm not sure if it's the stress, or the nostalgic desire for something simple in life, but lately I’ve been looking towards [insert national chain] employees with a certain unwarranted envy. The simplicity of stocking a shelf, the simplicity of pulling out a cart and hauling a customer's television from the back of the store to the front of the store. The simplicity of ringing an item into the computer and throwing it into a bag all seem to point to two things that seem to be lacking in my life: stability and routine.
Though, with all nostalgic dreams, the fantasy never seems to stack up to the reality. I thought about the practicality of it, running the numbers, multiplying out an estimated $9.00*40*.71 and I'm reminded of a haunting quote by a fellow commissioned based sales rep; it began with me staring into the monthly numbers report while he crept up behind me and chimed in, "You can stare all you want, but the numbers aren't going to change." And with that the nostalgic dream of simplicity is gone. Back to the commissioned environment, back into the classroom, back into graduate school - all in the name of making a decent buck and exchanging happiness and safety in return. I think, more than anything, I’m looking for a safety net, a fallout shelter that beckons protection so that in the event of not hitting a monthly quota, failing to understand how the theorem works, or improperly explaining how to solve a problem I can simply have a plan B to run to. Strangely enough, I think Holden Caulfield thought the same thing:
I figured I could get a job at a filling station somewhere, putting gas and oil in people's cars. I didn't care what kind of job it was, though. Just so people didn't know me and I didn't know anybody. I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to me. They'd get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I'd be through with having conversations for the rest of my life. Everybody'd think I was just a poor deaf-mute bastard and they'd leave me alone. They'd let me put gas and oil in their stupid cars, and they'd pay me a salary and all for it, and I'd build me a little cabin somewhere with the dough I made and live there for the rest of my life. I'd build it right near the woods, but not right in them, because I'd want it to be sunny as hell all the time. I'd cook all my own food, and later on, if I wanted to get married or something, I'd meet this beautiful girl that was also a deaf-mute and we'd get married. She'd come and live in my cabin with me, and if she wanted to say anything to me, she'd have to write it on a goddam piece of paper, like everybody else.
What scares me most is that there is no safety net, that failure is simply not an option, as the game ends when you run out of money, out of hope, out of dreams, out of [insert here]. Doing something for its own sake is one thing, but having to rely on the outcome of that thing is totally different. Maybe this is overreacting, or maybe it's a bit of last-minute anxiety before the storm, but I think more than anything I yearn for something simple, something safe, something that beckons out "If you fail, I’ll be here for you." I'm sure time will wash away all these feelings, but for now there simply is no place like a safe haven.