When I was in high school I was an usher at a movie theater. I got paid 40¢ an hour, so if I worked lots of hours I could knock down fifteen/twenty bucks a week. That was beer money and the occasional shirt. Always had something folding in my pocket. Didn’t have to ask anybody for anything. Felt like freedom to me. Of course, I didn’t have much time for my schoolwork.
Those warm Texas evenings brought out the crickets. They’d try to invade the theater. Swarms of them. Hoards. Many, many thousands would come onto the concrete apron in front of the theater. They’d come up out of the gutter, over the curb and press on toward our entrance. Looking for the light, I supposed. We didn’t want our paying guests to have to crunch and slide their way up to the box office, so I’d take the push-broom and start pushing crickets back into the street. I was stronger, but they were many. This could go on for a couple of hours, and then they’d just call it off. They’d try it again tomorrow.
That’s the way I remember it, anyway. The crickets might tell a different story if crickets can tell a story.
What if I’d put down my broom and allowed the crickets to seek their destiny? They would have swarmed the lobby no doubt creating disgust and horror. And it might well have crossed my mind to let them do it, because I was contrary back then and prone to pranks.
But I never did. I did what I was paid to do. I liked my job and I thought I was free. Even so, sometimes I’d think… Man, is this as far as I get?
I still ask that question.
That was a long time ago and I’ve had many jobs since and in some ways they haven’t been all that different from my usher job. More complicated and better paid maybe but not different – some flow of energy needs to be resisted, or some flow of energy needs to be helped along.
The deep common underlying the myriad difference…
Does the cricket turn to the light or does the light turn the cricket?
Would the light turn me if I just shut up?
Is this as far as I get?
I have learned that for some questions the answer arrives in the form of no more question.