Wasting A Lifetime

Pontiac Maillot Jaune wristwatch. gold wristwa...
45 years to retirement

I don’t believe in deja vu because it’s stupid but I do find myself having identical experiences on a continuous, repetitive loop. You know, like washing the same set of dishes every night, ironing the same shirt for what feels like the 100th time, mowing the lawn etc etc.

This made me think of this short film that I saw when I was a teenager. There used to be this TV show that had a collection of normally drug induced/inspired short films which were made by independent film makers that never saw dollar one. It was called “Eat Carpet” and no, it had little to do with lesbian love making.

It was a black and white film with zero dialogue and this monotonous piece of music playing in loop. The film begins with an ordinary man starting a new job in a some nondescript company. Whatever he did, the job was was desk bound and is not meant to be very interesting. At the end of the day, he gets into his car, drives for about an hour down this long and winding road to his hillside, modest house where his wife has dinner waiting for him.

It proceeded to time lapse, showing him at becoming an older man, still working at the same company at different stages of his life.. and at the end of each day, driving exactly the same route for the same amount of time day in day out to get home.

It then fast forwards to his last day at work where he’s a much older, retiring 65 year old. His work buddies gathering around, eat cake and offering him congratulations. There a quaint presentation by the big boss and he’s given the cliche gold watch. As he’s leaving there are some heartfelt goodbyes and as per norm, he gets into his car and starts his drive home.

On his way home while driving on the same route that he’s taken for the past 45 years, he notices a narrow, dirt road which is partially hidden by overhanging trees and bushes but nonetheless it’s a serviceable while unused road. He has a confused look on his face as he can’t comprehend that he’s never seen this particular road before after traveling the same route for so many years. He decides to deviate onto this dirt road. Within what seems like 5 minutes, he intersects with the road of his normal route but is only a very short distance from modest house. He looks at his new gold watch and works out that he’s saved half an hour on his total travel time home using a shortcut that he never knew existed.

He’s continues to look perplexed and keeps looking back at the road as if it’s a figment of his imagination but it’s not. His wife greets him at the door with a hug, she asks him about his last day, he politely nods but you can see that he can’t get the shortcut road out of his mind.

It then cuts on him at the dining room table late at night with his wife I’m assuming asleep in bed. He’s sitting there with a calculator, pencil and paper in hand. He’s scribbling something on the paper and the camera zooms on what looks like some simple calculations and the following circled…  7 years, 3 months. He’s calculated how much time he’s spent over his 45 year career, driving the much longer route to and from work every day.

The next morning, his wife wakes up on the first day of his retirement to find him lying dead on the dining room table, lying upon his calculations. 7 years, 3 months.

Food for thought huh?


3 thoughts on “Wasting A Lifetime

  1. Wow. 7 years.

    I shall now make sure I check all side roads, I am sure I could add up 1.5 months, or something.

    On a serious note, great post. Wasted life? Pretty much think that’s what I am doing with my life.

    Eloquent x

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