I almost boarded a train bound for New York City this morning, Faceless.
It wasn’t my intention when I left the house; or at least, I don’t believe it was. I had come down the elevator from my commuter train platform, as per usual—just another sleepy, bobbing head in The Crowd—and I heard the boarding announcement crackle from the loudspeaker to my left:
“All passengers on Train 97 to New York City, please make your way to Gate 16. Your train will be departing in 10 minutes.”
My exit route through the station is well-etched into my subconscious; I could (and probably have) walk that path in my sleep. But if I decided at that moment to break free of the early morning Zombie flood’s grip, if I decided to make a left turn where I should really take a right and take a quick dash up the stairs, presto-blammo: I could have been shuttling toward the Big Apple on a 12-hour train ride instead of heading to the office. It would have been hours before anyone was any the wiser.
It was a somewhat feasible (crazy) proposition: I had a wallet in my pocket and access to cash, and although I haven’t a clue what I would do when I actually arrived (or how I would have dodged the conductor for those 12 hours), I’m a resourceful guy. I’m sure I would have figured it out. Despite how impractical (crazy) this all sounds, it was more than a passing thought, if I’m being entirely honest; I found myself standing there for a few seconds, pondering the potential. I didn’t actually do it, in case you’re wondering if this post is being typed on my cellphone on an AmTrak south of Binghamton, with a ticket-checking conductor hot on my trail.
This—well, maybe not this, but something similar—must have happened to you before, right? A tiny voice telling you to just keep driving past your exit on the highway, or you’ve fought the nearly-unfightable temptation to ignore the final boarding call for your return flight? Or perhaps, like me, you warded off the irrational desire to sneak onto the 8:20 train to NYC; to just disappear into the world and disconnect from everything? Maybe not forever… but just for a day?
I can see you shaking your head, Faceless. No, I’m not (that) crazy (yet). But I want you to ask yourself: what would it take for you to pick up and go? To just leave your responsibilities and obligations behind in a pile on the floor and to walk away from everything and everyone that gives two fucks about you (presuming there are those that actually give the aforementioned two fucks; if there wasn’t, you’d likely be gone already, wouldn’t you)?
People do it, after all: haul ass and go with barely a trace, giving no warning or notice to anyone. This little runaway hid in a plane’s wheel-well and flew to Hawaii; and a quick Google search comes up with 100’s of links to articles on why people run away, how to do, or why not to. And we’ve all read the book or seen the movie about Christopher McCandless (adventurer to some, Jacktard to others), who left life, family and civilization behind to venture out into the very wilderness he ultimately succumbed to. Sure, he planned to do this (quite badly obviously, based on the piss-poor outcome… but there was some clear forethought given to his little adventure), but what stops more of us from following his lead. Is it sanity, a grip on reality, common sense and all of that garbage?
Maybe more of us stay put because of a fear of what’s out there. We all harbor a healthy fear of the unknown; it’s what has kept us alive for centuries. We dismiss all of this “running away” business as just crazy talk, because only the bat-shit crazy among us could possibly think this way in the first place, let alone act on those urges, am I right? (I am not – please stop shaking your head). Could it be as simple as the fact that most of us haven’t the foggiest notion of where we’d go? Who knows? Food for thought, anyway.
(Sorry I’ve been MIA, Faceless; life and my scaly little friend have been keeping me busy as of late. But, I have a few things to share with you soon that I’m hoping aren’t pure, unadulterated garbage. Stay tuned.)