Cruise Control

 Roger Porter

July 20, 2011


The sunlight looks spectacular on a day like this but it’s hard to enjoy it when you’re overwhelmed with work. There is always work that needs to be done but is that any real reason to be cooped up in the house. On the other hand the sun will always be in the sky so is that any excuse for me to completely disregard my responsibilities. And thus I have just illustrated my current affliction in microcosm. Damn this cursed confusion! On days like this I swear I wish I could take a vacation from myself.

In my youthful cockiness I just knew I’d have it all figured out by this age, now I find myself pondering the questions; “Does anyone really have things all figured out? Is that even possible?” I can recall a few summers ago when I had a job as the token black man at a Jewish summer camp (very enlightening experience by the way) and I came across this guy while taking the campers to a local beach for a dip. He was hanging out with this dude who lives on my block and I noticed he was with his daughter who was around the same age as my little girl. So we started to chat a little bit. 

The guy was really chill both in appearance and in his mannerisms. He had a white tank top on, his dreads flowed well past his shoulders and he was barefoot of course (as we were at a beach). He said to me, “Oh so you work at a camp I work at a camp too.” And I was like right on, you know just kind of nodding my head. Then he paused for a while and was like, “Yeah that’s my wife over there” as he pointed to a blonde haired woman in a black bathing suit. Once again I just nodded my head as I scanned the water to make sure the kids weren’t trying to drown each other.

Then he paused for another good while as if he was taking a long drag from an invisible blunt.  Suddenly he came back with “Yeah me  my wife and my daughter just chilling you know.  Everything is gravy. My life is on straight up cruise control.” With that he took his tank top off and held his little girls hand as she waded slowly into the water.

Cruise Control? I thought. This fool works at a summer camp and he’s talking about his life is on cruise control. Then I looked a little deeper into what he said. Perhaps the cruise control that he was referring to had nothing to do with occupation or even education for that matter. Perhaps it’s all about finding that ever-elusive inner peace. But I’m like damn can I truly be at peace if I’m broke as hell and struggling to pay the rent. According to the man with the dread locks the answer is yes.


Honestly it all makes a lot of sense. It took me a few years to understand but I really respect where that guy was coming from.  When you take the time to break it down you’ll find that even people who say they don’t care about the money really care about the money. Like me for example, LOL. It’s not that I want to be ballin out of control with a $10,000 pinky ring but I would like to earn enough to prevent my brain from automatically going into panic mode at the end of every month.

 It was wild because there I was presented with this mystery dude in the exact same situation as me and he seemed to be completely happy. This dude was actually on cruise control while I was in the middle of accruing an obscene amount of debt in graduate school. What did he know about life that I didn’t? What had he discovered? What spiritual code had he cracked?

But alas I have come to accept that I am not the man with the dreadlocks. The speed at which he presses the cruise control button is completely different from the speed that I feel comfortable doing so. And at that point in time I was nowhere close. To make matters worse I’m not sure if I’m any closer right now.

Maybe it’s like love and when I’m ready to go into cruise control mode I’ll just know, or maybe I’m just eternally restless and that moment will never come, or maybe that guy was lying. For all I know he committed himself into a mental institution that very night. Really I have no idea what happened to him but it doesn’t matter because my life is not about him. It’s about me and what I’m going to do.

 I would like to find a little inner peace though. I guess all I can do right now, however, is to keep searching.    

So stay tuned.

6 thoughts on “Cruise Control

  1. Wow, this post was deep. I can relate to that feeling of anxiety when you’re struggling to keep your head above water, financially, but you also want to find some peace within yourself. I think it all comes with time and experience. Figuring out what that inner peace means for you may be different in five years than it is now; it’s a lifelong process. Just my take on it.

  2. Great blog. Think we are all looking for the cruise control button… However we still have to climb to a steady speed before we can cruise in the hard work we obtained

  3. I love the line,”I wish I could take a vacation from myself,” I feel that more often than not lately. The worst part is knowing it, but still doing the things that make you want to take that break from yourself.

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