A Good Routine And Somewhere To Hide The Bodies.

Routine. It’s a funny thing. One moment it’s the most important thing you have, it gives you security, reliability, a vastly decreased chance that anything scary, new or unexpected will show up, force you to look at yourself and question where you are and why. The next moment it’s the only thing wrong with your world, it’s holding you back. If you could just shake it somehow. Routine is both your friend and that guy from school who’d never physically damage you, but who somehow made you feel like the most worthless thing alive. Though that may not apply to everyone. So routine is a fucker, is basically what I’m saying. That should be enough to encourage us to break it, but we don’t because of that safety net and eventually we get stuck in one, eventually you get stuck in one. Eventually, I’ll get stuck in one. So like I say. A fucker.
It’s got to be why we exist so often in fiction. In stories, in slightly altered memories, in our own imaginings of other peoples dramas, in cinema. A conjured, slightly alternate now that exhibits some of the actions we could’ve made if we didn’t have to do the thing we always do, because, well, that’s what we always do. You can watch a film and it will stir an emotion, a feeling, an excitement or anticipation that we probably haven’t felt for real since childhood, since before we were shown what the norm is. If we ever felt it at all. The heart flutters, your blood flows faster than before. The moment you close the book or leave the theatre, everything feels more real than it has before, because that alternate reality reminds you that they exist, that there are alternatives. Then, by the time you turn the key in the front door, it’s gone. Somewhere along the way, risk and reward has been squeezed out by tradition and consistency.
Consistency. I highly value it, in a person it is a valuable commodity, but like honesty it is only as it is received. In other words, your consistent failure as witnessed by others may be your personal, single greatest triumph, much as your well intended honesty is anothers brutal, cutting insult. There’s no point being reliable if you’re reliably repugnant. Of course, only you get to decide whose version of events is most tenable. Are you right to conduct yourself in that manner, or is it the way those actions are perceived that speaks most of their value. It’s both. I know, sorry, but it is. You have to share head space with you for ever, which is a really long time, so you’ve got to be most at peace with the things you do and way you operate, but those operations need to be, at the very least, informed by the general response of the people they involve. That delicate balance – between measured, informed consistency and Hollywood, caution to the wind, adrenaline fuelling risk – is key to the problem of routine.
You can trade the potential riches of unlikely choice for the comfortable embrace of the expected, and one could argue that the expected is a preferable route, but it does make it tempting to slightly under achieve – to function within known parameters – in order to avoid the disappointment of aiming for the bullseye and hitting Mental Bastard Bill on the other side of lifes pub. Which brings us back to routine, which we established earlier, is a fucker. When our routine feels stagnant and restrictive, we have a tendency to blame the film or the book or the stories for a feeling of inferiority, of boredom and failure, for the feeling of dissatisfaction that may present itself from time to time. They fill us with false hope, they show us a better way that can never really be, they fill our heads with silly, unhelpful notions like hope and dreams, possibility and time travel. Ok, so time travel’s not relevant here. But they are one of the few remaining threads that connect us to a maybe. It’s the ‘what ifs’ that are important, not the ‘what am I doings’, because ‘what am I doing’ is a stupid question. You’re doing it already, just look down. If you have to ask what you’re doing, you either haven’t been thinking hard enough before doing it, or you haven’t been paying attention. Or you’re lying to yourself to save face.
I suspect there’s an element of shame because, in a way, routine is an addiction. Like cigarettes, like alcohol, like laughter or crying or cake or pornography or shoes or murdering. We use it to control and define, internally and as a society. What is needed is to become functioning addicts, to bend the habit with force until it fits around how you want to be. A bottle in your bottom drawer at work, a stash of chocolate under the bed, a spotless clean up and a really good place to hide the bodies. The trick, presumably, is finding something that you want to do over and over again, and keeping it that way. To repeatedly do something, something new, something you wanted to but never did. To make your own routine, instead of bending yourself to fit in with someone else’s. I’m pretty sure that at some point you die, and I’m fairly certain that just before that point there will be little pride gleaned from a past spent efficiently filing or flipping a really average burger, particularly if the entire time was spent wondering about that thing you’d like a pop at.

All of this may well just be the over stimulated ramblings of a man bubbling with the rose tinted hope and possibility that only a weekend of too little sleep and too many movies watched can cause, but I think it makes some sort of sense. Anyway, I’m going to watch another one and then, before my desire to be and do better than this fades, I’ve got some projects to work on. Then another film. The effect only lasts so long.

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