Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lacking temper-ance

The harsh truth is that all too frequently, boredom can be mistaken for contentment, and the urge to move on with can life can be mistaken for complacency.  It is possible to be content and satisfied with what makes up life as you might know it, but not be happy in it or challenged at all by it.  

Take the person who gets in their 8 hours a day at work but never really has anything to say about it.  They go, day in and out, and do what they do, content that they have something to do that doesn't challenge them too awfully much, and come home to the paper and slippers and a hot dinner bubbling in the crock.  They are complacent, content, bland as typing paper. Let them lose their position, and oh my, watch the fireworks start.  At once they are consumed with a fire to find something new, better, bigger, more FUN, perhaps, more of 'something' and much much less of what they had been doing that they thought they were happy with.  This is a dangerous person, for to take away the dulling blankets of contentment and complacency, they can now see the brightness of the world and want to burn in it.  Brilliant opportunities lie scattered all around where once there were nothing but dead ends and a beige sitting room at the end of the day.  Too see what is possible enrages and enchants them, pulls at them until finding their passion becomes the One True Thing, and many will lament at the long years spent believing that chasing after their dreams a folly and a lie.

The barmaid at the Lemon and Stick was such a person.  Only she was different from the blanketed dullard who requires a life shakeup to see clearly.  No, she saw plenty clearly enough what she was missing.  Excitement, for one.  New prospects, for a second.  Someone to listen to her crazy dreams, for a significant third.  The barmaid's current problem was that she was employed in the same small town in which she'd grown up, had never left, and where, it appeared, she would die and moulder.  Once upon a time she had confided in her cousin that she longed to leave Banner Bank, but was nearly instantly rebuffed as a fool to want such a thing as to leave paradise on Earth itself.  Why would she do a thing like that? her cousin asked, as though she's just said she'd wanted to kill her infant brother.  It's so fine here, so perfect, no war, no hate, no fears!  Ugh, and no challenges either, the young barmaid (though she wasn't so at the time, a barmaid that is) had replied, and challenge is what I want.  Some people are just like that, keeping challenge in heart and mind even when circumstances don't permit such a thing.

Years had passed since that conversation, and since that time the barmaid had learned to keep such things to herself.   Nobody wanted to buy a pint from a crazy dreamer, this much is true, and because she needed to earn her own keep now, pulling pints for the folk in town was the best way to at least be close to a chance that she might encounter a stranger who would come and drink at the tavern, or might overhear fishermen had talk of an odd new beast they'd pulled from the sea, or that possibly she'd serve an Escort, if they really existed.

Challenge or not, it was time to open.  She had stocked the clean glasses, checked the kegs, sliced the bread and cubed the cheese, then lastly ran to the kitchen to fetch the cider from the inglenook, where it was almost always cool this time of year.  In a rush, she bumped the table on which the small cow sat (though he knew he was an Ox, with a name besides that!), and rattled it good.

"Sorry," she said to the cow, though naturally she didn't think it would reply.  "I nearly got you that time, did not I?" then ran back to the front, where her regular customers were already assembling.

'Indeed you did, though not nearly enough to unseat me fully.' thought the ox. 'Didn't even wake me up, though that sunbeam certainly done.'  Sunbeams are notorious for awakening slumbering oxen.  Sunbeams are one of the few really good reasons an ox has to wake up, really, so he had to assess blame where it was, in this case, due. 

Despite his reply, though, she couldn't hear him.  Hardly anyone can hear such an ox as him.  She'd need insight and a few more years of training to do that.


kenju said...

Please write a whole book.

tiff said...

I'm thinking my through it. :) Thanks for the compliment!