It was curious but I found myself to be nervous. At first I was unsure as to why I was covered in a light sheen of sweat, had a heightened awareness of sound and a general inability to finish my piece of banana bread but it soon became clear that I was nervous.
I harbor no real desire to become a train driver, my motivation for undertaking this lengthy and trying process is more complex and unreasonable than the jurisprudence of equity, and I think you might find that equity has more to do with reasons for taking train driver tests than you first thought.
I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, to find myself standing in a crowd of men dressed in their smart casual best. Their hideous hair was tied back, gelled down or spike upwards. They all wore pale button up shirts,ill fitting trousers and awful shoes. Somebody else had ironed their shirts. There were about 170 of us, we were herded, inspected, marked off on lists. I was not uncomfortable, not once the pencils came out and we were sat down at desks.
Train driver exams are tremendously enjoyable. It must be a hangover from law school but sitting silently amongst row upon row of people concentrating furiously felt like home. This disturbs me greatly.
The first exam was a knockout round, anybody failing to meet the required and undisclosed score was asked to leave. At first I was pleased to pass test after test but then I heard some of the men talking amongst themselves near a lift shaft. These men have not taken exams, unless it was part of learning a trade. They do not read for pleasure, do puzzles in newspapers or think in unfurling abstract strands. I thought I could be one of them, trying my best with the provided pencils, but something more than a lack of penis in my underpants separated me from the herd and I felt nothing but shame.
Recently I have begun to think that university was a waste of my time. I feel nothing but a sense of awkward regret when I look over those five difficult years. My new and thankfully temporary boss said that I was wasted in my present position, that I would be much better off somewhere else though she still begged to keep me. I am tired of trying to find interesting, challenging and meaningful work. I am exhausted from towing around all this knowledge, the heavy memories of contorting myself to accommodate everything academic. I knew what I wanted to say when I was the shower but it has now become unclear, this is a product of my exhaustion.
I am shedding people faster than dead skin cells, Superman wasn't the first and he certainly wasn't the last. I am exhausted by the mantle of my learning, I am exhausted by people who do not think and require me to do all the thinking. I am exhausted by people who think they are thinking but they are not, they are not even close to the idea of reason. I am tired of people who live in the suburbs and pour judgement across my way of life. I want to sit here, in this city, and type. I am confused about meanings, motivations and just why I dedicated myself to so much learning with no beneficial outcomes.
I want to cry out the maxims of equity, hold up my clean hands and beg for restitution. I want to unlearn all this learning and find myself suddenly just another face in a crowd. I want to gel down hideous hair and laugh with the others at the idea of thinking. I want to wear uniforms kindly provided and view my roster no more than two weeks in advance. I want to tell people at parties I'm just a train driver, I know nothing of anything but signals and patience and the popular easy to read novel tucked into my ugly bag.
Last night I dreamt I was flesh made into a totem pole. I stood three metres high in the middle of a park, sturdy, cylindrical and ancient. I was not carved but constructed, my sides panelled with cassette decks. Every time I thought of anything at all the cassette doors flew open and the force of my will ejected tapes like rockets all around me. All night I ejected tapes faster than the speed of light, across the park and into the stratosphere. I still feel like this, ejecting and rejecting with frightening speed and precision. I don't know what I'm doing but it feels necessary. I might wake up tomorrow and laugh at my train driving exam adventure or I might wake up, call in sick and spend the day writing lists of things I do not like. The future is unclear.