Thursday, February 03, 2011

Those Who Stand And Wait Will Not Serve Forever

So I haven’t seen this guy for a long time and he drops into my place of work and he gives me that look that says, God, you’re still here, why am I even surprised?

Now, maybe I’m reading too much into that look because I’m doing something menial like stacking chairs after a public event and this guy is swanking about in his big leather jacket and his new spotlessly clean spectacles (while mine are grimy with sweat within days) and he’s talking to colleagues about his current place of employment where he’s pretty much his own boss.

Yeah, he’s come a long way since we all used to muck-it together. He’s climbed the ladder. He’s greased the pole. He’s signed in blood for The Man.

And on the surface I think, yeah, good for you, if you’re doing what you want to do but it leaves me cold, mate. But still I get that look. That smug look. And he’s leaning on a pile of chairs that I need to stack and put away and he condescends to move only slightly to the side so I can do this and his look becomes – if possible – even smugger.

Still humping stuff about. That’s me. All the dirty jobs. All the fetching and carrying. All the backroom stuff. I’m just a grunt (no offense; none taken) – sorry, watched Aliens again yesterday – and he gives me that look... that look that contains so much more in it than just smugness or self assured superiority. It contains pity and disappointment (like he has a right to be disappointed in me!); it contains confusion and genuine puzzlement that someone, anyone, me specifically could settle for what I’m doing right now when there are lofty heights to be climbed like the miserable pedestal down from which he’s currently god-gazing from.

And I grit my teeth and I get on with the job. Because to me it is just a job. It puts bread on the table. I do not view it as a career. I don’t want it to be my pedestal. I’m still building that. I want my pedestal to be built out of the words that I write. The poetry, the novels, the articles and, yes, goddamit, the blogs. And I think screw you, hotshot, you know nothing about me; you don’t know that I write or that I’ve been doing so – pushing myself at it – for the last 30 years with varying degrees of success, refusing to give up the dream.

And it occurs to me that there are some people in this life who knock you over, who pull the rug out from beneath you, who break your confidence into little-bitty pieces just to watch you run around like a chicken trying to peck them all back up again. They are scum. They slow you down; they distract you and cause you to lose focus.

But then there are people like this guy. People, who despite the bile they might provoke, are to be welcomed. Because when I meet people like this I feel my focus – which I like to imagine as a blowtorch – become hotter, sharper, more accurate. The flame becomes blue, blue-white and then so hot that you can’t bear to look at it. And it makes me want to write more. It makes me want to write better. It makes me want to chase that dream down and make it mine. And when that day comes I swear to God that I will also hunt down people like this and I will laser-beam their smarmy little eyes out.



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44 comments:

bigwords is... said...

So true. I fucking love this post - brilliant x

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

*leaps out of seat to punch the air and cheer*

Mark said...

Someone wrote:

'The fall from grace is steep and swift, and when you land, it does not make a sound, because you are alone.'

Remember that when you think of blokes like him.

Steve said...

Bigwords is: thank you.

Trish: glad to have you with me, sister!

Mark: I shall; with relish.

Kelloggsville said...

well bloody said man and incredibly well written. What a catalyst for greatness that twat was, bet he'd be really fed up about it if he knew!

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: to be honest, he'd probably be even smugger.

Heather said...

Smug twats are what keep us going, eh? Love this post, really well written and spot on.

Steve said...

Heather: cheers m'dear!

misssy m said...

Right along with holding your laser beam case for you.

joebloggs said...

A wonderful character for your novel here, you could set him up and then kill him off in a deliciously embarrassing way, say, falling down stairs in a brothel because the prozzie laughed at his small/limp pecker and he rushed out too fast to pull his pants up properly.
Just sayin'...

autumnraven said...

Filed Under: Things I've always wanted to say but couldn't say as well :)

Steve said...

Misssy M: start limbering up now 'cos when the time comes it's gonna be a biggee!

JoeBloggs: I like your style. Let's make it a bordello full of rent boys and bankers wearing nappies and I'll give you 50% of the book rights.

Autumnraven: a compliment indeed - thank you.

Barry Coidan said...

Let's hope he reads this post. But of course he won't recognise that it's him being described.

Your glasses take days to get grimy - mine have sweaty finger prints all over them in a matter of minutes.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

Brilliantly put

Just because you choose a different path to them doesn't mean that your choice is any less valid - in fact from the sounds of it you at least have made a proactive choice to have a varied life unlike him

Steve said...

Barry: from the state of your glasses I'd judge you work a lot harder than me!

Muddling Along Mummy: absolutely. I guess it all depends how we as individuals benchmark "success".

Barry Coidan said...

Not at all. My nose is too narrow for my glasses.

English Rider said...

And his name was Muse.

Steve said...

Barry: have a word with your optician!

English Rider: that's far more polite than my name for him.

Nana Go-Go said...

I often find that `new money` stinks far worse than `old money` - manners, on the other hand, cost nothing which your `friend` clearly has a lack of. May The Force be with you, mate, you`re miles above nonces like him.

Rol said...

Once again, Steve, you take the words right out of my mouth.

Depressingly so, but that's life, I guess.

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: nonces? You've been talking to our Gene again, haven't you?

Rol: it's you and me (and every other undiscovered writer on the planet) against the world.

Suzanne said...

Why am I hearing 'Rocky' music??
Brilliant post, we need those smarmy gits to make us focus. Ooh but people like that make me so mad! Grrrrrr

libby said...

Yay Steve....don't waste any more time thinking about him, just concentrate on doing what you do (and so well)we are all behind you...

Steve said...

Suzanne: I suspect that is the first and only time I shall ever be compared to Sylvester Stalllone.

Libby: thank you, Team Blogger!

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Spoken or rather written brilliantly for every writer out there. You are a true King amongst men. x

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: thank you. And funnily enough my wife often comments that I'm a right royal bastard... so, who knows? Maybe you're both right?

The Sagittarian said...

You missed a chair...

Löst Jimmy said...

I did enjoy your words He’s signed in blood for The Man
Yes, most enjoyable turn of phrase

Steve said...

Amanda: lol! There are times when you are quite simply divine. ;-)

Löst Jimmy: alas, you and I know it by bitter experience, I suspect.

Gorilla Bananas said...

A true alpha male would have rolled up his sleeves and helped you stack those chairs. He sounds like a sissy to me.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: damned right. Spoken like a true silverback.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Ah but Mr Bigshot has a tiny spirit if it feels the need to crush yours.

A tiny cock of a spirit.

Quite right, see him a motivational tool, or even just a tool.

vegemitevix said...

I'm going to frame this one mate. It just says it all, eloquently.

Being Me said...

YES! Good stuff, Steve. This is a really transformational speech here. Now keep yourself accountable, soldier ;) And keep those laser beams handy. I've a feeling you'll be needing them really soon.

Steve said...

Laura: or even just the tiny tip of a tiny tool.

Vix: high praise indeed - as long as you don't plan to hang it in the toilet...?!

Being Me: yes, ma'am! Right away, ma'am! Ten hut!

Keith said...

Good for you. Fuel for the fire. Just burn brighter.

Suburbia said...

Yay, love the bit about lazer-beaming their eyes out!! Can I borrow the gun after you have used it please?!

Steve said...

Keith: I just love stoking the ol' furnace!

Suburbia: I may patent the design and make it available on mail order so we can all have one!

missbehaving said...

Another great post!! Yay for you.
My mother ( who may have been biased) told me, 'weak people will be in awe of you, they'll try to tear you down, don't let them'....

Steve said...

MissBehaving: your mother knew what she was talking about!

The Crow said...

Damn, you're good!

Steve said...

The Crow: only on a good day.

The Crow said...

Then you have an overwhelming abundance of good days, Steve. You have a great gift. I stand in awe of your talent - don't knock it, dude.

Steve said...

The Crow: thank you kindly.