James Brooklyn: A Thought
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James Brooklyn was walking.

This was, of course, no spectacular task, since he did such things every day. He would walk to work every morning since it was only five blocks from his apartment on that horrible street in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. ¨Admittedly,¨ he said to himself as he waited at the crosswalk for a particularly slow bus to pass, ¨Quite a few streets in the Tenderloin are horrible.¨ It was true. James had always promised himself he would get out of that area and go to the Mission, or the Marina, or even the bustling atmosphere of the Financial. That way, he thought, he would have to drive his car to work, which he liked much more than walking.

That got him thinking, as the traffic lights clicked and the monotone voice in the pole began telling him to walk again. He started wondering what made him like this. Of course, there was no single point in time that immediately broke his passion for new experiences and transformed him into just another beige-shirted office worker. He arrived at the office building, greeting the woman at the front desk like he always did. She had worked there for years, even before James had started, and he knew her name. Sadly, he had forgotten it abruptly at the end of a work day two months ago, and now he had been trying to get a look at her nametag without seeming too suspicious or creepy ever since. He rode the elevator up again and thought some more about his state. And then it came to him.

Desperation. He left behind his ambitions because he was desperate to have a job that paid enough for him to live. It just so happened that a job counting people´s money and giving it back to them in measured amounts was both enough to have a couch and a flow of groceries and also aligned with his major, mathematics. He majored in math as a fallback. His passion was fictional writing. As James sat down at his cubicle and started typing numbers into a spreadsheet, he figured he could go on autopilot and just think for a while. He supposed he had to give up eventually. Nowadays with all that´s happening with movies, everyone wants a chance. There were a lot of dreamers at the time, he realized, so it was a long shot. But in that large amount of dreamers, some of them have to wake up. James thought, well, maybe waking up from that wonderful, alluring dream was the first time he had metaphorically died.

But that couldn´t be the only thing. Back then, even when he lost his spark of ambition, he had hope. He thought back then that one day he would leave the job and pursue some new, easier passion. But while his job paid enough, it didn´t pay him what was needed to find something else. He thought about the term ´wage slave´. It really did seem like he didn´t have any opportunities to leave. Maybe that slow, painful build of dependency was the reason. But that seemed too easy of an answer, too… surface. There had to be something deeper that he couldn´t escape from, some lingering doubt that had grown for years, a slow death. What about age? Maybe he had somehow subconsciously realized his time was running out. Yes, that was it. That was his second, much slower, and more agonizing death.

And suddenly, like an alarm clock, he sprang to life.

¨Oh my God.¨ James said, slowly standing up. His spark was back, his ambition. He was going to give it one more shot. Thinking about his limitations had angered some old energy deep inside his soul, and he was going to feed that energy. He walked out of his cubicle and towards his boss´s office.

¨Hello, James. What can I help you with?¨ said his boss, Hubert. Hubert was a nice man, a very forgiving and helpful man, and he enjoyed his job immensely. James couldn´t fathom why, but he did. Possibly something to do with higher pay. But none of that mattered. ¨I would like to quit.¨, said James. Hubert just looked at him with his aged face, smiled slightly, and nodded in understanding, like he knew this was coming sooner or later. He spoke. ¨I´m sorry to see you go.¨ James shook his hand and got in the elevator. On the way down, he remembered the woman´s name. ¨Deborah.¨ he said to himself, and he said it again when he left the elevator and walked through the doors. ¨Goodbye, Deborah. You´ve been wonderful.¨ Deborah smiled, confused. James just smiled back and left, a new life in his walk that made people on the sidewalk stare a little. He almost skipped as he walked back to his apartment, his eyes looking at the sky with a profound new sense of wonder, and picked up speed.

It´s just too bad he didn´t see that cargo truck coming around the bend.

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