I rang the bell. They keep the doors locked because of thieving opportunists: on more than one occasion the consultants have all been busy with clients, and someone has walked in, helping himself (or herself) to the contents of purses and shelved products.
I heard the buzzer and, just as I was going to open the door, a smiling woman wearing a Mary Kay badge opened it and held it for me to enter. I thanked her and we both sat down, while the receptionist said “your consultant will be with you in a moment.”
“Hi there!” said the Mary Kay lady. “I’m here to showcase cosmetics to the ladies here. But we have some products for men as well.” She paused, smiling. “Also, we’re giving out free hand treatments to everyone, including men. Would you like one?”
I grinned. “No, I don’t think so. Thanks.”
Her eyes sparkled in amusement. “Yeah, I know how it is with you guys. Too tough for that kind of thing.”
I nodded. “Yup. Check out the freezer bags over there that this place is selling. A little too flamboyant for guys. A little too…..*fabulous* too.
She was delightfully unreadable. And, as it turns out, married too. Not so delightful, maybe. Blue eyes, auburn hair, pretty much perfect. I figured she was perhaps in her late forties. An amazingly attractive woman.
“So what do you do?”
I answered and reciprocated the question, which she answered. And then we got into it.
“I meet a lot of people who don’t work out the details of their financial grind.” She thought for a second. “Like, you know how it is when you spend all that money getting back and forth to the office and you spend all that money to make yourself presentable, and by the time you’re done, you’ve actually only made a few hundred dollars clear every month.”
I nodded. She was speaking my language.
“I know what you mean. You’re feeding The Machine.” The Machine is my favourite descriptor of the whole process. “You spend money to buy a car and insurance so that you can get to your job so that you can afford the money to make car payments and insurance and gas so that you can get to the office….”
She agreed. “It’s okay if you love what you’re doing but….you only go around once.”
“Exactly. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve regretted every moment doing something I have no interest in doing. I know it’s a cliché but – damn it. Life is too short.”
We sat in silence for a moment. Then, I posed the question to her that I’d been asking a number of people.
“I’ve been thinking about starting something up. It occurs to me that I’ll only do well if I create something of my own, which I control. I’ve realized I can’t really be happy working for someone else. It has to be something *I* do.
I want to create a place. A forum. Or an in-person group of some sort. The attraction would be that this would be a place where self-aware people could gather, outside of The Machine. Don’t know whether to call it ‘Missing Spokes’ or ‘Wayward Wheels’ or what.”
I felt the familiar frustration welling up in trying to explain it. “I don’t even know what the thing looks like, and am hoping for some ideas here.”
Unexplained, because of lack of time, was the fact that in fact I hate most conversations. I’m too easily bored. And so, discussions about gossip or everyday stuff – what cute little thing Sally said today – make my eyes cross. The easily distracted out there (present company included) are just too easily distracted, if you follow.
There are some conversations though which I find thrilling. Discussions with people who see a little beyond the immediately apparent – like this Mary Kay woman, or like so many commenters on my blogs. Folk who truly have a story to tell, or a truth to relate. Meaty stuff that gets the blood boiling, and the thought processes pinging like pinball machines. I know there’s an appetite for more of this, and there are people who are starving for this kind of compelling company.
Whenever I think of a vehicle to bring us together though – there’s a blank. I’ve thought about creating a Facebook group, and I think that would be a good first step. I don’t imagine it could end there though. Maybe it could be a compilation of areas, like TheBloggess has: she’s on Twitter, a number of other key sites, plus her own blog site. (P.S. If you haven’t already checked out her blog, do so. )
I believe there is a groundswell of thinkers and lovers of truth, many of whom have been disgusted by the pigeon-holing and demonization of the party politics in the U.S. People who refuse to adopt common assumptions, preferring instead to examine each issue on its own. They often refer to themselves as “independents”, and for good reason: there is no one party which represents all of their values.
I see the same thing in the Christian religious community too: people who have abandoned settings which encourage traditionally immovable white/black dogma, preferring instead to examine thoughts about God on their own. Seeking to reconcile what their hearts are saying with what logic tells them, and doing self-examination in an attempt to come to a conclusion that might not be church-sanctioned.
“We’re ready for you, sir.” My consultant stood there, smiling. I looked at the Mary Kay lady and smiled sadly, disappointed that we couldn’t finish our conversation.
“Nice to meet you”, I said, shaking her hand before turning to follow. I meant it.