There are moments in people’s lives of pure brilliance. That “Eureka!” moment. As if the angel Gabriel hath descended upon them, and given them new life. But such moments are few and far in between. And this piece is not about such moments. This is about the moments in between the ones that are recorded. The ones that are seldom recorded, sometimes even shunned. The events that even the Bible — the words of the dear Lord himself — neglected.
Mark is a simple man. He has simple tastes, and simple preferences. He lives in an unremarkable city, supporting an unremarkable team, and does unremarkable things to punctuate his unremarkable life. Historians would look back on this day, and find nothing on Mark. They’ll never have even heard of him. In fact, his very existence may well have not mattered in the grand scheme of things. And yet, he continues on today.
Mark wakes up again from his slumber, to the gentle rays of the sun. He proceeds to prepare for his predictable day. As he showers, thoughts go through his mind, yet not one of those questions, “What exciting thing will happen today?” Thoughts of aliens, fantastic movie worlds, and music go through his mind, yet to him, those concepts remain very alien. Those things were fictitious. His life was real. To him, there was no way the two worlds could ever collide. He ponders on those ideas for brief moments, seconds at best, and ignores them. He’s focused on getting started on his day, not because he’s looking forward to something, but because his eyes had opened just moments before. This meant it was time to get on with the day. As he finished up in the bathroom, he looks in the mirror. Not even it could be kind to a man like Mark.
Mark examines his face carefully under the bathroom lighting. He sees the imperfections on his face — pimples, wrinkles, and faint cuts — all caused by the ardor of everyday life. But, to him, these things were routine. And, if anything, these things were the only record of his recent past, nay, his entire past. These were the records of his days on this earth that no one could be bothered to care about. Sure, thoughts of his imperfect facial features bother him, and, sure, thoughts of medical enhancements race through his mind. But, they exit stage left, almost as immediate as the moment the enter stage right.
He looks at the clock. He’s right on time. Like always. In his mind, the clock only had a few positions it could possibly be in, because Mark was a man of routine. He was always doing the same thing, at the exact same time, in a weekly pattern, as if he were an automaton. He never made any huge deviations from his routine. He did, routinely, make exceptions to go see the doctor, or even to go watch a movie, but apart from that, he was always on some sort of schedule. He had been working the same job for the past 20 years, and had been meeting the same group of friends for the past 30 — every time at the same place. The restaurant owner had changed 7 times since he began frequenting the joint, but Mark continued to be a patron.
Sure, he supported the local teams, but only superficially. He kept up with them through the morning news that he would watch as he prepared for the day. But, that’s about it. To him, those people were living in their own fantasies, and were, much like fictitious characters, unimportant in his everyday life. But he supported them, regardless. His support was less, “This team represents who I am,” and more, “I need to do this to keep up with the conversations at work.”
Mark was a very talented man. He was told that everyday growing up. He had the mental capacity to take on whatever he fancied, and he had the miraculous ability to do better than average at all those tasks. But somewhere, along the road, he fell to this state in his life, where he was nothing but average. Where he was nothing but plain, and simple. His parents were ambitious people. So were his siblings. He had two older sisters growing up, and both of them went on to do great things. His oldest sister was in this place called Hollywood, and Mark grew familiar with seeing her sister more on the screen, than in real life. His second sister was a big shot on this place called Wall Street. And she was, apparently, raking in the money.
The two sisters showed promise early on, much like Mark. And their parents pushed their ambitious agendas to make sure the 3 children succeeded. But Mark did not like the feeling of someone vicariously living through another. He did not like being the vessel for his parents’ ambitions, and he had no aspirations to make a great name for himself. He was, through and through, an average man. And, upon reaching senior year of high school, he made the call. He had a 4.0 GPA with a 2400 on the SATs, with academic honors to make even an Oxford graduate jealous. He had more volunteer experience than a UN peacekeeper, with stamps in his passport vouching for his globetrotting experience. And yet, he realized that wasn’t who he was.
He applied to the local state university, and graduated with a meager degree in some lesser known major. He took on a job at the local government office, and crafted the life around him, as you see it today. He’s stuck in gridlock now, but this, too, is a part of his routine. And, when he gets in to the office at 9:00 AM on the dot, he’ll be sipping his coffee, Americano with an added shot, while sifting through the documents that lay on his desk, clearing piles of paperwork after another until noon hour. He’ll take an hour long lunch break, not a second more, to go to his sandwich joint of choice. The owner there, too, had changed 6 times since he began frequenting it. He’ll then promptly return to his desk at 1:00 PM, and continue working until close. And then, he’ll drive home, arriving precisely at 6:00 PM. He’ll prepare dinner, and eat it at 6:43 PM, and fall asleep at 11:30 PM. And then, he’ll awake the next morning to repeat, more or less, the same routine.
His dreams are the only escapist fantasies that this lifestyle affords him. He dreams of the aliens that he thought of during his morning shower. He’ll be thinking of them again when he showers the next morning. He’s dreaming of the basketball game he had seen in the news. He sees the scoreboard, and nothing else. He sees the flying broomsticks of Harry Potter. But that’s all they do — commute on their brooms. No quidditch, no racing, no nonsense. Now he sees…
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Mark wakes up again from his slumber, to the gentle rays of the sun. He proceeds to prepare for his predictable day. As he showers, thoughts of the aliens in his dreams come to mind. So does basketball. And Harry Potter. He ponders on those ideas for brief moments, seconds at best, and ignores them. He’s focused on getting started on his day, not because he’s looking forward to something, but because his eyes had opened just moments before. This meant it was time to get on with the day. As he finished up in the bathroom, he looks in the mirror. Not even it could be kind to a man like Mark.