Get Out Kid, Get Out

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This weekend Alex and I came to Atlanta to cover the TomorrowWorld music festival for our website raannt.  Since we only got one press pass, we agreed that he would go to the music festival, especially since he’s more into the music than I am, and I would stay back and post stuff on the website and hold down the fort in the hotel room.  Basically this meant hours of television: Forensic Files, Hocus Pocus and a Law and Order SVU marathon.  Unfortunately, somewhere on the first day I came down with a horrible cough and cold, something that rarely happens to me.  I seem to have the immune system of a horse so of course with my luck it would make sense that I would get horribly sick on the weekend when I have nothing to do but walk around a new city and enjoy myself.  Instead I found myself confined to a hotel room, coughing and bitching at serial killers through the tube.

On Saturday night, I decided to take a shower and get dressed nice to go to dinner. I thought that maybe if I attempted to feel better it would trick my system.  After getting dressed nice, a pair of khaki shorts and a wrinkled denim shirt(writer’s attire), I took the elevator down eight floors to the restaurant.  When I got there I asked the hostess to seat me somewhere hidden away from everyone else so that I could melt into the decorations and the low lighting, giving me the perfect seat on the observation deck.  She showed me to a table near the back, easily hidden behind a huge bamboo tree.

Several minutes later my waiter came and I ordered a cheeseburger and salad, hoping that by feeding my fat ass correctly I might start feeling a little bit better.  After he brought my water and Dr. Pepper, I was left alone.  I played around on my phone for several minutes but let’s be honest, when we’re with others we can entertain ourselves for hours on our phone but when we’re alone, we’re bored within minutes.  I put my phone down and decided to take in my surroundings.  An older German couple sat next to me, arguing about something for several minutes in German until the man threw his napkin on the table and walked away.  A lone woman ate at the bar, reading beauty magazines.  A couple, obviously on their first date by their conversation mostly fully of questions, sat too close too each other in a booth.  And right in front of me were four men.  Well, actually, I should say, three men and this young, probably twenty-three year old guy.

They were at the end of their dinner and the waitress was clearing the plates.  The three older men, all wardrobed in polo shirts, business “slacks” and huge guts, ordered dessert while the younger guy ordered another beer.  I’m not really sure what intrigued me about this group.  In fact, they were exceptionally boring, all talking loudly about things they had heard at a convention earlier in the day.  For some reason I was interested in why this young guy was there when he obviously didn’t fit being that his cohorts, or coworkers, were all at least 30 years older than him.  As the desserts arrived to the table, I watched the smiles cross the older men’s faces.  This was the most exciting point of their day; the arrival of the dessert.  I heard one of the men say to the younger guy, “You’ll learn after awhile that they don’t ever ask what you charge for dinner but they want to know if you spend a lot on your room incidentals.” The young guy nodded and sipped at his beer.

It was hands down the most depressing scene I had witnessed all weekend.  More brutal than serial killing murders on Forensic Files or Law and Order, this young man’s soul was being traded for employment in the corporate world.  While just thirty miles away thousands of kids his age were partying at a music festival and just down the street more people were dancing to Outkast in concert, this guy was sitting at a hotel restaurant sipping a beer with four men who’s highlight of the day was crème brûlée.

I wanted to stand up and yell “Get out kid, get out!” at the top of my lungs, but I couldn’t.  I wanted him to fight for his life.  I wanted him to retrace his steps and go back to college and study something like Southern Literature, Philosophy or Painting.  I did not want him to run across some “young woman” in the same situation as himself, get married and “settle” down, traveling for the rest of his life, missing his kids soccer games and choir concerts until he was one day in his fifties giving advice about how to squeeze two desserts onto a business tab.

But I didn’t do that.  He wouldn’t have understood anyway.  A lot of people don’t understand.  That’s the American dream, right? Having a job that pays for you to have the life you wanted? To take the kids to Disney once every five years and fall out of love with your wife because you’re never at home only to look back at sixty and wonder what happened to your life.  This is what happened to your life.

And it’s never too late.  Every day I wake up and stare at myself in the mirror and scream “Get out, kid, get out! Don’t give in to what they want you to be!Fight, fight, fight!” And I do.  Every day I fight to give in and have a “Facebook Status Job”.  When people ask me what I do for a living I like to say, life coach, writer, celebrity interviewer, dreamer, napper and always a romantic.  You can be whatever you want to be.  Whatever! The only person to stop you is you.

A few minutes later they left and I finished my cheeseburger in peace.  When I got up to leave, I saw the four men standing in the bar, all drinking a few more beers before going to bed.  As I walked by, I could hear that they were all getting excited about the redistricting of region areas they represented.  I mean, arms flailing, cussing, really excited discussion.  And the kid was in on it too.  I hear him say, “Yeah, it’s bullshit. Now I have Ohio too.”

I laughed.  Get out kid, get out!

By the way, after spending all weekend watching TV in my room, I thought I would share with my two favorite things on television: 1) the KPOP song used on the new Microsoft Surface Commercial and 2)the AT&T Network Guys Selfie commercial.  Both are literal perfection. See below:

 

For now,

Peter

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And make sure to check out my book The Before Now and After Then

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One comment

  1. Don’t feel too bad for the young man – He probably supports his mother, father and sister by working and spends his nights writing until two or three in the morning and certain he will be published one day.

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