I Am Warm and Invisible
“You can sit here, the table lights up.”
The tender at the hotel bar is friendly. She’s lord over this transient space, a spot in between, that isn’t here nor there, just subsisting. I like places like this: we forget them, but they’re a necessary support apparatus for our velocity. There’s a forgotten energy to them, a thrill that comes from saying “I am in the forgotten space. I am hiding in plain sight. I can see you, and you can see me, it’s just that you choose not to.” I write in places like this—more than anywhere else. These places are invisible, and that gives them energy. Together, we vibrate. I can float above, and wait to see what I can see.
Blue hat is in the corner staring into the bottom of his glass. Four-eyes is gazing longingly at his phone, probably to look busy out of fear of having everyone else realize he’s here alone. It’s okay, four-eyes. We’re all here alone. That’s the point of hotel bars.
A man sits down for a drink and asks for the happy hour special and then doesn’t order it. A woman picks at her teeth with her nails, which have a shiny new veneer. There are no manners here. Everyone looks profoundly bored or unhappy. And that’s okay. You can be as you are in the in-between spaces. If you’re invisible, you don’t need a facade. A television flashes to white and makes us all obediently look up. A woman stands in the corner and mutters something about work-life balance as she replies to email at 7pm.
And I wonder about that. With all pretenses gone, we can be as we truly are without judgement, and this woman is sad because she feels like she’s muddling up a very fundamental problem of life. And I’m not sure, but it seems busted to beat yourself up over not achieving balance. What is it about thinking so much is in our control that makes us so profoundly sad when things don’t go our way? Does the precept of “balance” as a satisfactory, desirable, possible default throw things even more out of balance when we worry as we don’t achieve it? Is that on us? Are we just unskilled or are we merely unfortunate? Just… human? I prefer the latter. We are more at the whims of others than we may realize. We may act, but even acting isn’t always enough to get what we want. (Cue Rolling Stones.)
Don’t be hard on yourself, lady. What if there is no balance? What if there is only movement, and trying to do your best with what is in front of you?
Another swig of whiskey. And then another flash of white, and then a quiet moment. Then, like in most quiet moments, a dangerous little thought creeps in. Who the hell wants a balance between work and life? Who sold that to us? Ultimately, there are two goals: to get by, and to be happy doing it. When I consider myself at my happiest, whether it is work or life (if the two may even be separated, as if one is not just a piece of the other), at my most joyous, I feel the same on the inside. When I am happy, I forget I exist. I am not here. I am projected forever outward. The path may be different, but the result is just the same.
I just lost myself.
I’m not here. I am in the forgotten place. I am hiding in plain sight. I’m in the place between, that isn’t here nor there, just subsisting. I am lord over this transient space.