I’m currently on plane heading home from two weeks in Belize. A third-world country filled with poor people who do not know the luxury of driving to a Walmart to purchase a 50-pack of Angel Soft toilet tissue and five-pound packs of beef jerky. The person next to me is American. We’ve been sitting together for an hour and the only time she’s acknowledged my presence was when I had to pardon myself to pee and she rolled her eyes and sighed. I’m in a window seat and didn’t take lunch because the ferry from the island we were staying was late – causing us to be late into Belize City and asking our taxi driver to rush to the airport. No food on a warm day when I drank plenty of water means she’ll no doubt be sighing again. Funny thing about that ferry ride – it was filled with people from all ethnicities and we were all late to where we were going. Despite this, everyone was smiling and getting along. A Spanish man helped a black girl into the boat. An Asian woman offered gum to all the people sitting around her. People were laughing and talking as we traversed the sapphire sea together. Late.

We made our flight and now my family is scattered throughout the cabin of this A-300 as we didn’t have internet access last night on our little island meaning we couldn’t check in in advance – leaving me next to Nurse Ratched. The good news is that Charles Bukowski is on the wing outside my window. And he just ordered a cocktail.

Heading home. To America. Where on Monday I’ll join the rest of America and drive my car through the industrial section of a burgeoning city and choke on the fumes of giant machines in order to get to work doing my part to advance our great country’s commercial engine. Then we will slink back home to where we will stuff our stomachs with processed foods and our brains with reality television where the people are way more fucked than us – making us realize how lucky we are. Then, if we are really lucky, we will repeat this process for four more days in order to get two days off when we can replenish our souls with fellowship, replenish our appetites with alcohol, and replenish our cupboards with trips to Walmart. Then, if we are the luckiest people on the planet, we will manage to save enough for another trip to paradise the next year – to where the monkeys roam free, and the air is clean, and the poor people wave at you when you walk past along dusty streets. Smiling, as we head to the ferry. Which may or may not be on time.

Jim Mitchem

Why Advertising Rules the World
Goals, Illusions, and Things That Pass You By

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.