So this is The Good Life. Sitting on the beach in an aged, half-rusted lawn chair with every other pale-colored strap ripped off its seams from the over-weight junkies before you. There’s a crystal-clear glass of Scotch on the Rocks in your left hand that’s presumably worth more than the paycheck of the middle-class tourists’ that surround you. Looking through that tinted shade your sunglasses put off you have a family of four in front of you. They’re attempting that inexorable cliche that just crushes your teeth every time you happen to glance upon it: The Sandcastle. If everything was lawful you could just get up and raze their mundane attempt at artwork by demanding they remove themselves from your excellent view. But that would do nothing but cause attention, and that’s just what everyone feeds off of in a peaceful place like this – and you’re stuffed.
So you decide to light a cigarette. There’s nothing like the power of Man controlling a flame between the chapped tips of his fingers. While taking a few drags full of nicotine, you ponder on the events of last night. It was all so easy: man asks female stranger her name, man buys her a drink, female gives man the night he always wanted away from home. It’s simple, it’s luck, it’s sin. You didn’t even get her number; what a perfect occasion it turned out to be.
The family has finally given up on their one-day, neanderthal attempt at a sand Mona Lisa; the tide would have destroyed it anyway. And now there’s the ocean. That giant piece of God that could destroy even the greatest human in one split second. But today it seems to quiver. Even the seagulls seem to overpower it. Although the breeze continuously pushes that eroding sand into your mouth, the wind just doesn’t seem to find it’s way to the water. “Maybe tomorrow it will be better,” you think. “But tomorrow, I won’t be here.”
Tomorrow starts the 9 to 5 trip of the Monotonous Slave all over again. Tomorrow, waves of un-signed papers blow into your face. Tomorrow, that curious female will transform into your boss, yelling at your face, not caressing it. Tomorrow there won’t be nicotine to ease your stress, you can only grit your teeth. Tomorrow, sand castles will be replaced with computer screens and legal pads. Tomorrow, that Scotch will be gone, and your throat will dry with envelope glue and silent insults on the tip of your tongue.
Is it really that different: then and now? Or is the American Dream just a painted collage on a crumbling brick wall in the outskirts of poverty?