Run, run, run away…?

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.)

 

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