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Exoticism is my weak spot, and don’t give me that faint smile, don’t judge a book by its cover, because when riding the elevator you pass along a peculiar door on the opposite side of the other entrances, a door steeped in cobwebs and grime. The elevator doesn’t stop there, but I saw it the first year after I got in and who knows why I imagined tides, palms and golden beaches, frivolous people laughing, things forbidden and unattainable, and I said – enough of this bullshit! – and every day I took the elevator to the top floor and then the stairs and the attic where my tiny office was. Smallish, more like a box, nobody comes up here, but there is a desk and a desk lamp, shelves for the folders and the files and on the opposite wall there is an administrative map of the country before World War I, who hanged it up here anyway? Sometimes when I take off my glasses to rest my eyes, I look at it and imagine myself traveling, seeing mysterious places and astounding things, and one day it occurred to me to stop the elevator with the emergency button and to open the murky door. Imagine the palms and beaches waiting for me there, the people walking along those beaches, imagine the girls! But, just my luck, the moment I was about to take the plunge, the power went off and I remained there for half a day until someone came to my rescue. Yes, I had time enough to realize the irrationality of my impulse; you go and lie low in your cubicle! But I continued to travel along the map when my eyes stopped seeing the words I was copying, and today my colleagues sent me off extending their thanks, and most importantly – they allowed me to come and help as a pensioner, none of the younger ones had expressed a willingness to creep like a rat under the roof tiles. I was happy, and as I have allowed myself a glass of wine, I somehow unwillingly pushed the emergency button while passing along the door with the cobwebs. And then I froze – what did I just do? – yet I touched the handle of the dusty door just to put my mind at ease that I’ve tried, probably closed anyway, but the hinges screeched and something pulled me into the partly lit corridor. I walked quite a lot, turned left and right, climbed stairs, went down a steep concrete, then stairs again, until I hit an obstacle of some sort and my heart missed a beat, was I to find myself on the beach, with the girls? I lit a match and saw another door, I opened it and where do you think I found myself? In the tiny office where I have spent the last 35 years of my life. Now I sit behind my desk and when I grow tired of copying, I take off my glasses, look at the administrative map going back before the war on the opposite wall, and I am happy. This is my home. Every now and then I ponder at the thought that had I entered that corridor thirty five years ago, it would have taken me to the palms and the giggles and then as if an electric current passes through my arms and legs, but, as I told you, exoticism is my weakness.
He asks me whether I am happy and I counter him right away: what is happiness? – and he starts to mumble, a mudlark, wagging his tongue. Happiness, man, is all your wishes coming true. Exactly! All or nothing! What are you saying, it’s not possible? Excuse me, we are not discussing possible and impossible here. And there is a simple way, known from times immemorial, for having your wishes come true – you just touch the earth’s shadow. Hey, he croaks again, how can it be done? I have found the way for me, and textbooks confirm that when there is a lunar eclipse, the earth’s shadow covers the entire moon, meaning that up there even the last of the boneheads is happy! You get it, don’t you? See you on the moon. Come on, I’ve got so many other things to do. And stop saying it’s impossible, you’re getting annoying. You asked me, I gave you an answer… Wait, I’ll trust you with one last thing – it is not certain that even on the moon all wishes materialize, but if even just one wish does, it is something, right?
Man is not perfect, you must have learned this at your own cost if you have set great tasks for yourself, still more, if there has always been someone to sneer at you and tread on you – and our imperfections are thousands, one of the worst being our short life, not even a hundred years. With so little time on your hands, how are you to discover the wheel or build the Cheops pyramid when on top of it all, we sleep through one third of it. Once I picked up an autogenic training brochure and I read that five minutes of autosuggestion is like a three hour sleep, and I’m thinking like ten minutes equals six hours of sleep, so this will leave me twenty three hours and fifty minutes daily for grand deeds. I set the alarm, stretched on my back and began telling myself how calm and relaxed I was and I started visualizing the wheel I had discovered last week. I got up – head felt like I have been drinking uncontrollably for a fortnight, so I leafed through the brochure again – turns out the main precondition was to forget who I am. Alright, and back to eyes closed and I repeat to myself how I am floating on the water, and in my mind I am already inventing the bicycle pedals. I got up feeling as if I have sprinted to the sea with just a short break at every one hundred kilometers – my only desire was to fall back to sleep, so I barely found the strength to finish the brochure. Turns out I’ve missed the most important part – to set myself free of my thoughts. I turned off the light, slipped beneath the blanket and – I have no thoughts whatsoever, I know not who I am, nothing bothers me, an entire procession of pharaohs lines up before my closed eyes, each one standing in front of his pyramid and they bow to me – you are the boss! – and all those who sneer at me and tread on me now wallow in my legs. Man is not perfect, but tenacious he is. I lie twenty four hours a day, I squeeze my eyelids shut and my mind revolves – I have no thoughts, I have no thoughts. Even if it takes me a hundred years of autosuggestion, the brochure promises an endless amount of time, but in the end I will attain perfection and this will serve them right for treading on wheels and pyramids!!