Today was pretty boring, resting recovery from Wales. Work dragged as I shuffled papers, we planned some more trips, and that’s about it. Most exciting event of the day: I finished George Orwell’s “Down and Out In Paris and London.” I recognized some London street names and the picture of a dirty sink on the book’s cover looks uncannily like mine, but that’s the extent of our similarities: tolerating 17-hour workdays and bread-and-margarine diets for days on end as he struggled to become a writer, Orwell certainly had it quite a bit rougher than I do.
The book was an interesting blend of social commentary and journal, enjoyable thoughout. One character particularly appealed to me: Bozo. Not a clown, he was a pavement artist in London who Orwell happened upon while between halfway houses. The amazing thing about Bozo was that he was happy in spite of having no money or possessions to his name. He bought chalk to make art and food to survive, but nothing else really mattered. He stargazed, naming constellations that Welles couldn’t, because it’s a free show. Basically, Bozo did what he wanted to regardless of how much it paid, no matter if he’s considered “wealthy” or “respectable.” Yeah, he probably got hassled by the cops, frowned upon by the more wealthy (nearly everyone), and hungry when it’s too rainy to paint and earn his income from tips, but none of this mattered: Bozo simply didn’t care that he was poor.
No, Orwell hasn’t convinced me to become a pavement artist or permanent wanderer. But, he does make me wonder: who’s really screwing up? Is it Bozo, an inch away from starvation, or the typical worker in “Office Space”, hoping to get hit by a car as they pull out of their driveway so they don’t have to suffer the boredom of their meaningless job anymore? My opinion: it’s both of them. As usual, the right way’s somewhere in the middle. Right now, I think I’m a little too close to Dilbert: I’m having an adventure, but for 40 hours a week I’m doing something meaningless that I really don’t care about. Gotta find my balance between painting the sidewalk and contributing to an IRA, but that’s easier said than done. In the meantime, I’m happy being somewhere in between, hopefully closer to the happy hobo side.