Yesterday I talked about my lust for the road, always dreaming of once again hitting the road to visit old haunts and discover new vistas. The why of it prompted me to chew on that notion most of the day. Upon further reflection I believe it is a natural rebellion from the old age domesticity that we can often drown ourselves in if we allow it.
But it's much more than that. You see, all my life I've had to face challenges; fear in combat, loneliness at some remote port of call, hunger and poverty as a child, and, strangest of all, the two months I spent as a homeless man, sleeping in city parks and foraging for beer and soda cans to poke into the recycle machine to get enough money for a hamburger supper. So when all those challenges are gone you become absurdly bored with the soft ennui of warm bed, padded chairs and clock work meal times. You begin to feel that your life's purpose has ended and, like a bad actor, who hangs too long on stage, you feel like a third leg, a fifth wheel, no longer a "player" on the stage of life.
The warm home, the full pantry, a life free of debt, a laughably poor bank account, but enough that I'm not dining on Alpo or hanging around freeway interchanges with a sign that proclaims "WILL WORK FOR FOOD". Folks, it's all this "bubble wrap" that surrounds me, nearly suffocates me at times, that sends me yearning for the open road and a quiet place to rest my head after a long exhausting day.
If I may digress a bit, it is sad that so many of our countryman, young and old, find comfort in a 'bubble wrap" life. Lazy and slothful and illiterate youth now demand $15 dollars an hour to flip a burger, societal payback for..for what? For not being able to make them stay in school, to study, to do homework, to aspire to a higher calling? And how about the gays? Where once they may have been scorned and even jailed for their homosexuality, it is not enough now that we no longer scorn or incarcerate...no, we must champion their lifestyle, even when we do not agree with them! Blacks began to party just about the time the Great Society Give Away programs started...they set off on an orgasmic ride on the train of "victimhood" and surrendered all responsibilities for living productive, values driven lives. Atheists are now so offended by a plaque of The Ten Commandments, or even a simple cross, they insist that all displays of faith be removed from their eyesight!
These are all victims of the bubble wrap life...so many of us must be cradled and enveloped by a layer of bubble wrap air lest we crawl to the nearest hole and die. It's all so sad. Where our grandparents weathered a decade of crop destroying dust storms, economic depression that threw 40% of them out of work, fought a world war that took the lives of 50 million people, hacked out a civilization and tamed the vast west in the span of a hundred years, we Americans today are so weak that we must be protected by a nanny government all too willing to assume the role.
So, this old man rebels. He angrily tosses the pad on his rocking chair against the wall and spreads out maps on his dining room table and plots his breakout from a bubble wrap lifestyle. He awakens as the train passing down Grand Avenue blows its midnight whistle and wanders out to the back yard and whimsically yearns for a seat on a pile of hay on the last boxcar. And he rants and raves in protest of the "bubble wrap lifestyle" on an obscure blog like some decrepit Don Quixote who knows no better.
Robert Frost, in "The Road Not Taken" celebrates his choosing one road over another, never regretting the road not taken at a fork he encountered long ago. I too have few regrets for the road I chose, for I learned so many of my life lessons down that long road. But I still want the road to remain a bit "uphill" and revel in having to climb over rocks and slippery crags once in a while.
May all your roads be those you have chosen without regret, and more power to all of you who have chosen to shuck the bubble wrap and are breathing the fresh air of a life fraught with challenge.