Estragon: I can’t go on like this.
Vladimir: That’s what you think.
– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
My first day of offset work – two more weeks of seven-day work weeks lay ahead – was marked by waiting for everything to be over. I waited to get on the train, and I waited to get off the train. I waited to write, and I wrote to wait out the time. The line at the fastfood restaurant was quite long, so I had to wait; I ate my lunch to wait out the time. It was an on-again, off-again deal of waiting. And waiting. And still waiting. Perhaps Beckett meant for Vladimir and Estragon to wait for Godot for as long as it took.
Waiting… as long as it takes for the dead tree to grow leaves again. Or perhaps as long as it takes for Lucky to realize that he’s not dumb. Or perhaps as long as it takes for Pozzo to regain his sight. Maybe Vladimir and Estragon will have to wait as long as it takes for Godot to finally arrive. In my case, I couldn’t wait for all of this to be over. I’m tired of waiting.
I’m tired of waiting for everything.
“Let’s go hang ourselves!” suggested Estragon in the play. Life, I guess, is that transition point between birth and death; a stretched instant, a moment all too long and drawn out. I’ve attempted to kill myself more times than I’m willing to count; I never really did seriously contemplate suicide, although I do a lot of things pretty darned close to it. Living, for all it’s worth, is nothing more than the long, complicated process of killing yourself.
Life is a transition point, I guess. We all wait for the inevitable. We all expect something from all of this. I guess that if you’re a writer, you really can’t wait for anything more than death; if you’re not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you wait for that moment where you’ll be read. Where you’ll be understood. Yet it’s almost certain; that only happens when you’re dead. It’s almost certainly always the writer’s tale, the little fact of life that we all have to understand and live with. You really can’t eat books or have much use for articles.
Excellence and skill have long been set aside in favor of expression and sensation. That those are things that don’t matter anymore, that writing has become optional, pedestrian, and there’s not much use for doing things well and doing things the way you believe they’re supposed to be done. It doesn’t really matter; you get sapped, you get drained, and you realize that everyone else has been succeeding at where you’ve been trying too hard and too much to succeed at. Good things come to those who wait, I guess. So if you wait long enough, you’ll have the best. You don’t really have to work for it. Let’s face it: those who work the hardest are those who end up the poorest and the sickest of them all. There’s always that difference between office workers like me, and people who board buses to sell peanuts.
Really, I don’t know; whatever care I have left for those things are whims I’ve taken with me to the graveyard that is my life. Whatever reward there is waits not for something to be committed to words, but when you yourself are. Simply put: when you’re dead, and some schmuck out there “discovers” you, and all of a sudden you become an instant sensation with high school kids writing book reports.
Sometimes I ask myself if there’s anything to this world other than to lead a life for purposes of leaving behind a legacy. I really don’t know. The body is weak, and so is the spirit. The mind is drained, as well. How much longer could I go on? That, I’m not for sure yet. I don’t know if I’m sapped, if I’m burned out, or if I’m just depressed.
What I do know is that I’ll end up waiting. I hope it’s all worth it.