The beach was full. Surrounding the beach were rocks from all parts of the world. In the middle of the beach though there was no room to move. The lines had been drawn, almost as if a battle were about to ensue. On one side sat the white tips and on the other side sat the brown tips. What these two were fighting over is really insignificant, especially if you are just a cigarette butt. However, during the summer it looked like we were ready for war.
Really, the only reason the battle lines of the cigarettes were drawn that way was because of where my roommate and I sat when we smoked our cigarettes on our patio. I would always prefer to sit on the classy loveseat purchased from Goodwill for $30 (the highlighter stains on it were freebies!), and my roommate, Chad, would tend to sit in a chair that faced more towards the left of the ash tray.
One evening in mid-June (ironically) I noticed how there was essentially an invisible line drawn right between the middle of the ashtray. For some reason, I found this to be a very neat and a very depressing thing. I found it neat because of the symmetry. I’ve always loved symmetry for some reason I cannot explain, and having all the white cigarette butts on one side and all the brown cigarette butts on the other side really pleased me. It made me feel like an artist or perhaps even an inventor who accidentally stumbles upon something great by accident. “I didn’t mean to create great symmetry it just happened and now everyone loves me.” I prepared that quote for the local newspaper, but surprisingly they never showed up to interview Chad or me. I see that as their loss, definitely not mine.
The depressing side came from the fact that I was obviously falling into a routine or even a rut. Now, I’m not saying routine is a bad thing by any means. In fact, some people can delude themselves their whole lives into thinking they are happy and fulfilled thanks to the miracle of routine. It was at this point that I decided to start moving around the table. I was no longer going to be a slave to that loveseat (although it was by far the most comfortable place to sit outside.).
I started to move to one of the other chairs we had placed outside, and as I began to do this I started to send in spies to Chad’s base. A brown one here and a brown one there, the white cigarette butts didn’t seem to notice, and neither did he. Then again, I don’t think he was aware of this ridiculous fake game that was going on in his ashtray. I thought that by moving around I could break my routine, but the routine was not in the placing of the cigarette butts and in the place my ass decided to sit, but the routine was in the smoking of the cigarette itself.
Perhaps it is because some of my favorite authors and television shows have constantly embedded in my head that I am bound for greatness on some level in some way (I mean doing payroll for old people homes pays the bills, but it’s not what I’m going to do forever, hopefully.), but I have always tried to reject the idea of routine. The word routine almost makes me sick. I always picture a guy waking up, taking a shower, getting dressed and going to some pointless job for the next hours before he comes home and has a boring conversation with his wife, and then they both go to bed. While my grandpa would call that putting me in the saddle, I would much rather pull the fucking trigger and save myself a good 40 years before the inevitable. It feels as though the comfort people experience from routine is the same thing that makes me sick.
Now, before going any further, I am definitely not trying to say I am different from anybody else. I think anybody who buys into that is sadly deluded, or under the age of twenty-two. However, there is something about waking up and doing things you don’t want to do that seems ridiculous to me. Perhaps I am a state of arrested development. I am twenty-four years old, and I am at the crossroad where it seems most people decide to get in that saddle, if they haven’t already.
Before continuing I must also mention that I have never had any desire for what many consider to be the American Dream. I have no desire to ever get married and release my demon spawn out into the world, and having lots of money does not matter to me either. Now, that is not to say I do not ever want to date anyone or anything of that matter (everyone needs to get their rocks off every now and then). All I am saying is that I do not believe we are supposed to be together for the rest of their lives. I figure if I am normal person and continue growing mentally as I have for the last twenty-four years, then why would I stop? As such, if I were to marry someone it would be great for a few years until I started to grow and she presumably would grow too. It seems to me that the odds are more in the favor of us growing apart rather than closer together. This is probably why most couples I know either get divorced at 50 or the husband spends all his free time in the garage.
After a few weeks of infiltrating Chad’s base, I decided it was time to start anew. The ashtray was emptied and our troops began to line the battlefield again. Perhaps it is because routine scares me, or perhaps it was because my troops could not get the proper funding, but I decided to quit smoking shortly after emptying the ashtray. I’m not sure if it was the fear of dying young, the fear of routine, or perhaps I just did not to be on the same beach as my troops.