With Atomic Lollipop over and done, I feel like a superhero with no problems to solve. There’s an itchiness, as if reaching for a phantom limb. Amongst the endless cosplay, visual hyper-stimulation and lurid sexuality it was easy to forget what normalcy meant. Like a come-down or waking up to sobriety, the real world has thumped back in onto my path and I’m acclimatising back to whatever that means. My mind has been skating around so much that it’s hard to forgo the weekend’s insanity for the work week’s inanity. It’s jarring, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s bad.
Have you noticed how sweet water can taste after a night of hard boozing? There’s a lightness to the quotidian that’s often understated. There’s comfort in the everyday that I know I rarely respect until I stumble back into the morning sun. An affinity for the everyday seems rich coming from me, given that my mind spends more time and space in other planes of existence than it does concentrating on what’s happening in front of my nose. It just means that absence makes the heart grow fonder kicks in when I think of cooking a meal with my girlfriend.
How can we capture the pulse of the world around us without leaving the house? Can we travel and explore by delegating kitchen tasks and creating a cultural ambience in a hot pan? Is it possible to dream while awake? Backs pressed to the mattress, seeing cloud formations on the ceiling without leaving the house?
I caught myself as I tiptoed along that paragraph. Did you see it? I’m trying to talk about the joy of the understated, the wonder of the mundane, but in doing so I’m doing everything I can to escape it. Funny. I’ve noticed my reliance on escapism, but didn’t realise it ran this deep. Of course I want to stay down to earth, but I didn’t realise my aversion to being grounded when a short tether would do.
It’s bringing home to me just how entrenched storytelling is to our existence. Stay with me for a second here. So much of our leisure relies upon escapism, it’s true. We watch narratives play out on screens, engage with articles about fascinating people, places and developments. At the same time, we’re reaching to imbue our waking hours with greater meaning. We look for the exceptional in the unexceptional, we seek for the things we do to hold fantastic resonance. A good meal takes our taste buds to its place of birth, a rotten customer service experience becomes a tale of triumph against adversity, a strange individual on a train adds colour to an otherwise grey commute. We want to see trees fall in forests so we can tell others about it.
You know what though? The simplistic is extraordinary. The fables that seem larger than life wouldn’t loom without a base of comparison. For all the adventure we’re sold on, a journey away wouldn’t be exciting if we had no home to come back to. Our dreams are exotic because on some level we appreciate the soft bed we sleep in. It’s easy for us to forget in the search for stimulation, but cold water tastes pretty damn good. What’s more, we have it on tap.