The Passenger

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“Number forty-three will be with you in three minutes, sir” was mumbled through the phone by a woman who was quite obviously putting on a fake voice. This utterly disgusted me. How could a person be so blind to the never-ending possibilities of life that they find themselves working a job they do not like, putting on a voice that’s not theirs, serving people they have no interest in? How could a person be so oblivious to the absolute meaninglessness of their existence? A person like the woman on the phone has no excuse for their life. If you were to ask her why she is still alive, I assure you the answer will in one way or another come to “I am alive because I have not died yet.” What is the point of keeping such a person alive? She serves as a part of a bigger machine, but just like gears in a clock, she could be replaced just as easily. So why? Why is she still alive? If her job position were to be replaced with a robot, would she no longer be kept alive, I wonder? Of course, she would not, without a purpose to fulfill in the machine the gear would be thrown out to rust away in a forgotten part of the workshop, just as she would be thrown out to starve and rot… There is no point in this either, however. Her death would be just as pointless as her life, so in the end nothing would have been achieved. What a disgusting thought to think about; Regardless, I despise people like her, meaningless in life, meaningless in death. I am nauseous from just the idea but I must keep my composure, for tonight I will repurpose one of these disgusting, meaningless creatures and forever immortalize them as a work of art. 

“Thank you very much, have a wonderful rest of your night ma’am” I answer reluctantly. It is extraordinarily agonizing to have to act indulgently in situations like these. Every moment I spend interacting with another gear in the clock is nothing but an absolute ache to my head and stomach. Questions, answers, statements, all said with not a drop of substance to them. In philosophy, there is  “The Zombie Exercise” in which one is to imagine that there are people who are hollow behind their eyes. They talk, move, act, all like a person; if you were to stab them relentlessly, they would bleed and scream like a person, yet this would all be fake. They do not feel pain, their words do not come from a place of personal experience and analysis and their eyes do not shine in the sunlight. When I first learned of this exercise it was presented as though it were not real, as if these zombies did not actually exist. I knew that was wrong. I knew that was terribly wrong as even the person who taught me this exercise was a zombie himself. The act of ending such a creature’s life would be neither moral nor immoral, however turning their life into something more, now that is a work of art. 

As the taxi approached me, rain had begun pouring. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. God himself is setting up the stage with divine grace, tailoring it for my performance. This will be biblical, I thought to myself . I enter the taxi and meet the eyes of my next canvas, a disgusting, balding man with stains of God Knows What on his shirt. However, tonight it does not bother me, for tonight all of his imperfections will be fixed and tonight… he will become a timeless masterpiece. I sit on the front seat, tell him to drive towards the woods, and close the door which creates a powerful thump sound, a symbol that the curtains have opened for me. We start driving and I am entirely focused on the rhythmic beating of the rain on the windshield, it is magnificent. Soon enough the palpitating of my heart matched that of the pounding rain and for just a moment I found myself in absolute bliss. It was utterly ravishing. I must admit, at one point I started shaking lightly, with a smile as pure as a newborn child, going from ear to ear. It was hard not to rush my performance and begin it right there and then. However, my moment of nirvana was short-lived. “Terrible weather we’re having, aren’t we”. Those. Exact. Words. came from the taxi driver at the peak of my ecstasy. I was beyond furious, my head was thumping with rage and my eyes’ vision began to narrow down, seeing nothing but pure, enraged violence. I was ready to ruin my entire performance, massacring the driver, however, I realized something. His face was that of a man filled with anxiety and dread. It became clear as a crystal exactly what happened. While I was experiencing my moment of heaven, the taxi was going deeper and deeper into the woods; each kilometer that passed left society further and further away.  We were all alone. Entranced in my own blessedness, I became oblivious to the tension that had built up in the car. The man was not making small talk for the sake of small talk, he was doing it to ease the tension, completely unaware that he will never be seen breathing again. I could not contain myself, I laughed harder and with more joy in that moment than I ever have in my entire life. It was pure, unrestrained divine comedy. Last moments of his life and he begs for mercy in the only way he knows how, through pointless, meaningless small talk. It was too perfect of an opportunity to miss, the stage was all set and my final performance ensued. The carnage I left in that taxi is to this day my most beautiful, passionate, and satisfying work. I took that man’s pointless life that would have been forgotten as if though it never existed, and turned it into a timeless masterpiece.

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