|The Life of Zebulon's Collating Resident
by Joe Blankenship
The story began simply enough in small town Zebulon at the edge of the big city Raleigh. Knightdale has its charms but Zebulon was decidedly blue collar and brown. Touted as friendly, more like, to its own, the town bordered on the agricultural district of Nash and Johnston and the high tech suburbs of Research Triangle Park. The industrial nature of the town defined a work ethic that left little room for innovations or fanciness of thought or action. The 30-something man and his thirty-something woman who he lived with for 9 years and had argued with for his whole life, were stuck in a trailer in the middle of somewhere between a nursery and a budding vineyard. The metaphors of growth did not allude to him however much he wished they did. Life was passing and immortality let out the promise that this too would change.
Now it's not every day he thought about dying because dying was so temporary. But death would be a welcome rest from the uncertainty and doubts that plagued his psyche. And then he'd be alive again back in the same world, doing the same old things with the same old rules. May as well make something fresh and new to take on the reality of this dimension and get on with the fun stuff. Though fun had come to mean reading and writing and dreaming.
By taking action on these many thoughts and ideas and odd actions he had become many things. Such as plumber, tobacco farm help, to poison as many lungs as possible to join in his death entourage. Also a cotton candy spinner-maker who made and served thousands the fluffy treat. Also a federal government bureaucrat more interested in spotting marijuana fields than whether Jim-Bob Edwards had properly set the soybean bushes 10 to the row here and not 20 to the row there. Also a furniture assembler, repairer, deliverer, and mover. Though he was more interested in moving on to the wonderful experiences of college and not how best to promote Broyhill over Adirondack.
Also the stint at the food processing plant had left him with an otherworldly sense of how the individual could be dwarfed by a massive industrial juggernaut of noise, machinery, and 100 count of 100 count trays of cakes spilled on the floor of little consequence compared to the 1000s' that made it to the cooling and packaging racks. Then there was the long dark tea-time of the soul as social degenerate in the grip of addictions and crime and bitterness and mental illness. The reemergence as a computer specialist who could really ring up those tech sales, $50 at a time. There was the time websites were all the rage and 16 year old boy wonders hacked out the beginnings of useful ad copy and other non-profits. Competing with them was like competing with the referral system and other back-scratching nepotists. Though from his new perspective...it was always new as inputs exceeded outputs and analysis paralysis was an actual debilitating condition. I guess I mean to say the world is full of opportunities no matter how much trash talk or limiting world-views get pushed on my psyche.
Then the many side paths and hobbies, and dalliances that led little anywhere in the physical world yet ranged far and wide across history, time, and thought.
There is no real end to this story as it comes about something new is added every day. Though the repetitions of skills and interests keeps the world close and cloistered. And the possibilities endless, new, and exciting as the world he envisioned quickly became the world he lived in.
And the world he hoped for has not come to pass though it has taken steps here and there to get there. In exploring ways to change the world the change begins in the self.
So I became a chameleon, not literally, though that'd be pretty cool and there are ways to simulate it. In fact game designer was one of the many hats I had chosen to don, little good after 3 major ideas and the actual work involved insurmountable with such short money. Back to being a chameleon. A game where the better you are at blending in, the more recognition you get at standing out. When you spring whatever entertaining surprise there is to be had as a chameleon. O look, I'm a tree branch, I'm an apple, I'm a salt-shaking portal to culinary Swedish chefness with apples and the chef up in the tree. How the hell does he do it?
If he was in a pool, totally understandable. Just get an inflatable barbecue to roast the apple turnover with. If he was in a tree though he would need...an inflatable deer-stand. What good could ever come of an inflatable deer-stand? Inflatable climbing equipment. Doesn't so much as help you climb as cushion the fall when you fail at climbing.
Speaking of climbing, I'd done some of that too. Surmounting an inverse 110 degree slope halfway before falling or on the second try simply moving quickly to the right gave me confidence not much could not be done. Everything is possible once you know how to warp reality not only in your head but then in the physical world around you also.
It's all so easy. It just takes time and effort. Mainly money, but also lots of time and effort. There are worlds where even time is not a concern as everything happens so fast little is left to chance. And those worlds have a lot more going on in them when instead of taking 1 hour commutes to work it takes 1 second and you have gone through the same motions this limited prime material plane offers.
How does this story end? Well it rightly doesn't though it's passing can be marked as having been here and gone there. As long as I can keep living it, it will be done, and probably written.
To the best of tomorrows that never get here and the welcome when they do.