In afternoon, the hot white sand is a bed to the body of undressed footsteps. The soft waves move in from a turquoise bay and fold upon the length of an empty shoreline, which to me, runs on for miles.
The sun has already peaked and the glowing mass returns from its summit and begins to submit to the horizon. The beach is empty in this dream. Perhaps it is this way for a reason. The sky is clearly blue and without a cloud to interrupt the view of an unobscured heaven. I am south of the equator, or so I suppose, and with all my heart, I do not want to leave this place.
I don’t want to move from my spot. I don’t want to see anything but the view of an endless ocean so empty and vastly infinite. It is peaceful here and safe. All I hear is the wind and the chorus of small waves moving against the belly of Mother Earth.
I close my eyes. I drown myself in the moment while listening to the waves curl up on the sand and then report back out to sea.
I hear it so clearly in my dream. The sound is beautiful and I love it here. Then suddenly, I realize the sound I hear is absolutely real. It is so crisp and soothing. I allow myself the joy of a deep exhale until quickly, I realize the sound I hear is not the ocean. It is the sound my alarm clock makes when the time is up.
This is me . . .
This is my day. I’m up early and home late. The length of the day is long. The weekends are short and my time between here and that spot on the white sand beach is far apart from each other. For now, this is just a dream.
By the time the morning bus takes me through the tunnel and arrives on the ramp, which brings me into the rear of Port Authority Bus Terminal, morning is already underway. The city has been alive for hours and quite literally, everyone on the street is locked into their own agenda, shuffling through, and weaving from one avenue to the next.
This is me . . .
This is my everyday trip and how I keep a roof above my head. This is the contract, which I signed on the dotted line in hopes to find my way out of this maze.
I have come up with a trade. In exchange for my time and effort, I am paid for my services. There are no favors or any free meals in this case. I am very much a part of a machine—I am either a spoke in a wheel or cog on a sprocket, but whichever I am, I am an equal part of this moving vehicle that we all call life.
I have been a part of this machine for a long time now. I can truly say I have seen the best in the world. Everyone—whether they hold a high position or low, and regardless to how they are deemed by society, or regardless to how one interprets life as they know it—I can honestly say I have seen the best in the world.
I have entered into a level of awareness and understand that even the worst have their one best attribute—even the ugly have one thing about them that resembles beauty, and even the sinless have encountered the temptations of sin.
This is me . . .
Equally a sinner, I am as sinless as anyone and guilty as all of you. I am aware of lies as well as the survival of deception. We use these things so we can to deviate from the path and rid ourselves from guilt. Whereas, in the sea of manipulation—no one is real and the ships which appear to float are nothing more than a disguised vessel that sinks from within.
This metaphor does not make any of us more or less valid; it only means we are afraid to appear as we are. We are afraid to be seen as vulnerable. We are afraid to sink because above any fear in the sea of manipulation, we are most afraid of pirates—or, we are afraid to abandon ship and fall victim to the sharks that swim in the depths of our own lies.
This too is part of the machine. And this is me. This is me, acting as a moving part in a machine that never sits still. This is me trying to protect myself for the misfires and shortages of my counterparts. This is me being full warned, that I am weak at times and strong in others. Above all, this is me fully understanding that the machine I am part of spins drastically and sometimes out of control.
We are always moving, always changing, always given to impulse, and yet miraculously we somehow survive ourselves in spite of our best efforts.
I can say with all honesty that I have worked with the best. I have seen the best on both sides of this word. Whether they were good or bad at their job is immaterial. Whether they were good or bad at heart is unimportant. I can tell you with all certainty, I have seen the best.
Throughout the course of my day, I literally interact or co-exist with hundreds of people. Each one is like me. Everyone we meet is a piece of this very same machine. Everyone is extraordinary to themselves and unique. All of us are imperfect. Each of us is completed with similarities, defects, strengths, and weaknesses. We are less complicated than complicated. However, we are all intricate in detail.
The men I work with are hard. They endure pain and carry weight on their backs. Even the lazy ones are this way. Especially the lazy ones, in fact, because the lazy devote more effort into delaying the job than it would take to finish it.
The persistence of people amazes me . I am amazed because they ceaselessly move the same way. They either make the same mistakes with their head down while expecting a different outcome, or close-minded, they willingly push forward without regard or concern for the path of least resistance. No matter the injury or mental anguish, I have watched the best endure their own stupidity.
I suppose they are stuck in their ways. I am exactly this way sometimes—willfully committing the same sins with hope for different redemption. I am no different from anyone in the machine. I turn for the same reasons.
The people I come in contact with are all unique. They come from different backgrounds and from different parts of the world. They either live in homes or cramped-up city apartments. They have routines. They have families and like me, they have reasons to question. They have fears and rights to understand. Like me, they have dreams. Perhaps exactly like me, they people I meet have a beach in mind or someplace they dream to retire.
I have watched men spill their own blood and drizzle sweat down their face. Some have done this for their own will. Others have done this to support their families. Not all are people are honest and good-willed—however, not all are dishonest either.
My side of the machine is the blue collar side. Our conference rooms are machine rooms or shops and utility closets. Are contracts are signed with tools and grease instead of ink. Like any branch of the working world, we have our branches of government.
We have problems with conspiracy and management. We have dissension in the ranks. We have those hungry to seek power and those eagerly looking to avoid it’s responsibility.
But know this: the blue side of this machine is no different from the white side. We might speak with a different dialect—but we all turn this machine for the same reason.
We all have fears. We all have something to protect, and in the sea of manipulation, we all want to appear is if we can stay afloat because deep down, we’re all afraid to abandon ship.