Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reality: The Best Days

This was the first thing that came to my mind as I left 
Hot Head Burritos last Tuesday after a late, lone lunch:

Actually, that's not true. 
My first thought was, "I didn't taste guac on my burrito. Did I pay for extra that?"
Then I thought about inspiration and how it has an incredible ability to sneak up and reveal it's presence in the most unsuspecting places in life: anytime, anywhere

It was almost 2:00, so I didn't have any trouble finding a seat - a whole booth to myself. A man (likely?) in his sixties chose the table just next to my booth minutes later. He laid down the newspaper and pulled his glasses from the top of his head down to his nose. 
"Eat here very much? I love the food. Here or Subway. My two favorite lunch places," he remarked, folding the front page back and straightening the pages. 
Our conversation continued as we talked about local eateries back and forth across the aisle.  He revealed to me that he had been retired for some time, but was a machinist for decades prior to having the fortunate opportunity to retire at 55. Now he spends most of this time visiting with friends around the area, and also spending his summers north of town where he helps on a friend's small farm. I laughed a bit in my head; the way he described his experience on said farm was the same way a child explains the excitement and lessons from summer camp. But for this grown man, I got the feeling that this was exactly how he viewed as his time on the 82-year-old friend's farm. He went on to tell me about summers spent outside of Roundhill, Kentucky on his great Uncle's farm. He spent childhood days there.
The best days, he called them.  

A bit taken back by his openness (Why is he telling me this? I just came here to check Facebook and eat my lunch in peace), I was  trying to maneuver my fingers around a overly-stuffed burrito when the man said something that stopped me. I lost half a pound of pico out of my frail tortilla, but I received something more: 


"Kids these days, they spend their summers in a video game. No idea what's going on around them. No life to speak of. No reality. What is their reality? It's in a TV screen."

I couldn't agree more. Growing up, we weren't allowed to watch cartoons past 6-years-old; instead, we had to go outside and find something to "build character". So you can imagine the exposure - or lack there of - we had to video games. 

They've always intrigued me, in the same way a sleazy talk show does:
I don't want to be any part of it, still I long to understand how people end up in that state, so consumed by something terribly misleading to them. 

Video games do little past fabricate a false sense of reality by giving players a feeling of power and strength that, in reality, doesn't reach past their bedroom door. They allow you to choose your appearance and stature. They create obstacles and enemies that can be annihilated with one swift jolt of the thumb. They sweep you away to a place that doesn't exist; one that takes you far from anything that is real and true. 

Considering everything that our day-to-day lives encompass, video games aren't the only vice that separates us from reality. And kids certainly aren't the only guilty party.

I'm guilty of escaping reality, myself. 

Pinterest: A place where I use imaginary thumbtacks to post recipes I'll never attempt to an imaginary cork board that describes the table setting I will never make out of recycled toilet paper rolls adorning a dinner party I'll never throw because I simply don't live the "dinner party" kind of life. But when I log on, I try to. 

Daytime TV: A place where Americans track love affairs and illegitimate children on shows such as Guiding Light. Strangely, only two different story lines passed across the Guiding Light silver screen from 1952 and 2009, when it went off the air. I wonder why it went off the air? But we grew up with the Spauldings, didn't we? Since then, I haven't met a Reva I trusted. 

Or liked. 
Or any other Reva at all. 

Denial: A place where you willingly go to escape reality because you flat out desire to reject something that is real or true. Maybe because you can't handle it, maybe because you don't want to. The frightful thing about denial is most folks who live in it don't even realize they're a loyal resident.

Upon leaving lunch, I sat in the parking lot and had to ask myself what my reality is. 
Am I living in real time?
What do I fail to acknowledge because I simply don't want to?
What is my vice making me bigger, stronger or worse off than I really am?
What regret is holding me back from the greatest reality I've ever known?
What is my TV screen?

Moving forward, commit to finding your reality. 
And living in it. 
The place that experiences the great and the awful of the here and now. 
The place that accepts things as they are and works to improve them. 
The reality that doesn't require that you ask someone to repeat the question because you were checking the latest status update on an iPad. 
The reality that sees the moment with our own eyes, not a camera phone. 
The reality reminds us that they won't be around forever. 
The reality that quietly, yet profoundly, whispers: 

Reality, as described by my new friend at the burrito joint, is the best days. 
The best days. 
How are you spending yours?

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