Laura’s Old Friends: Ambition & Momentum

Here are a couple of pieces I wrote one day in class about two of my oldest friends, who fortunately have not been visiting me of late…

Ambition

Ambition is a short man with a small penis. He wears designer suits and has his own personal tailor. His $400 Italian loafers gleam as they did the first day he bought them. Ambition is personable and knows how to get people to like him. But he loses friends as quickly as he makes them. People feel they can’t really trust him, and soon realize that he’s not really listening when they talk to him. He’s always looking around the room, his eyes shifting, as if his mind is elsewhere or he’s looking for someone more important to impress.

Ambition is well educated and never leaves the house in sweats or a pair of jeans. He drinks double mocha lattes with a shot of peppermint and always shows up with an expensive gift. Ambition works out in the gym a lot. He needs to stay nimble and fast for all those climbing expeditions he’s always taking.

Ambition has women, but they’re always blond and gorgeous. Sex kittens. Women any man would be proud to squire around town. It’s not his looks that keep them by his side; it’s his money. He uses money to grease all kinds of wheels; he is quick to pick up the tab or buy an expensive diamond or slip a hundred in a maitre d’s hand to get the choice table overlooking the esplanade.

Ambition has a long and detailed resume. Every word is in place and every base has been covered. Ambition is never shy about his accomplishments and is always alert for small holes in the fence where he can squeeze through. He can wiggle into any opening and has a dazzling magic show always ready to perform.

No one really likes ambition, but they respect him at a distance. No one really trusts him, but lots of people hold on to his coattails. It’s said he can take you places, places you’d never manage to get to on your own.

Ambition never sleeps.

Momentum

Momentum sprints to my front door and flings it open, the door crashing back against the wall. “Oops,” he says, grinning broadly. “Sorry.” I am lying on the floor just beginning my morning yoga routine. He stands at the door and lets the cold air blast in. It’s even colder on the floor where I am bending my knees up to my chest, watching my breath move in and out. “C’mon! C’mon! I haven’t got all day!” he says impatiently, his foot tapping. He is dressed in a streamlined silver suit that sparkles with energy. He is almost too dazzling to look at. A moment passes. I press my knees tighter against my chest. His annoyance wafts out in waves around him. “Look, how long is that going to take anyway?” Thirty minutes, I reply lazily. “30 minutes? Do you think we have thirty minutes?”

He reaches into his black messenger bag and pulls out a clipboard with a very long list clipped on to it. The list reaches all the way off the edge of the board and on to the floor. “We have things to do, people to see. Do you have any idea how many emails are in your inbox? How many calls you have to return?” I don’t reply. “You asked me here….” My time is valuable. So get up off the damn floor. Reluctantly, sighing, I get up. “C’mon. Get dressed.” You can have a glass of orange juice in the car. I stand and obey. There really isn’t any choice. There is never any choice, is there?

Momentum follows me into the bedroom while I dress. He won’t even give me a moment alone. “Laura,” I don’t know who you think you are, but you’ve lost your edge. I’m here to make sure you get it back. He starts reading to me from the list on the clipboard and pretty soon the yoga is forgotten and looking ahead through the day, I can see there will be no nap. There is nothing to do but to dress quickly, to swallow my pills with a mouthful of water and to sit at the kitchen table as he prioritizes the list, things that need priority attention today, things that can wait until tomorrow, things that can be crammed into the empty spaces on the weekend (can’t have empty spaces….he chants in my ear. Then his favorite saying: Down time makes you down.)

We decide together which errands can be coupled together so every five minutes of waiting can be transformed into something useful, productive, constructive. Now that I’m up and have had my pills, I tell myself I can get with the program, his program. I go on autopilot. I tell my body, later, later. I will deal with you later. For now, I am going to move out to the edges of my skin, live in the muscles and sinews that propel me forward and ignore any of the subtler stuff. Feelings, I don’t have time for them. Rest, overrated. Naps, pure luxury. We’re in a recession and the only way to respond is to do. Now momentum is smiling. He can see that he’s got me. He knows that I will obey him now, that I will do his bidding.

Momentum always has this affect on me. Hypnotic, like the time I got on the stage at the County Fair for a public hypnosis session with Michael Mesmer. I did everything his deep sonorous voice suggested that I do: wild dancing, pretending I was riding a Harley to Utah in 100 degree heat, flirting with the crowd, sitting next to someone whose farts were unbearably stinky, being so thirsty I begged for water. I knew I was hypnotized; I was aware of the foolish, ridiculous things I was doing on stage and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I felt good and relaxed after the show. Good humored and proud of what I had done. No embarrassment or shame whatsoever. I wish I felt that way when Momentum walks out of my life, but no, when he leaves, I simply collapse and hate myself for being seduced by his charms once again.

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