We are often antagonized with an intimidating choice to whether take the road less traveled or the road that is always taken. Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken is an almost fairy-tale and poetic narrative of the everyday choices we instinctively make. I say almost because the verses start off with an intro from a land far, far away but the context is peculiar and dim. The impasse is the idea that the common, paved road is the only way to get to your destination is uncanny and yet typical, especially in this audacious, modernist world. Society waits for you to follow them. Tell people to fuck off. Yes, that’s fine. It’s not polite or well graced but there are times in your existence when you actually have to tell people to fuck off, there I said it again.
Traditionalist will always take the road most traveled. Eternally. It’s safe, familiar, and easy, exceedingly tranquil but utterly benign. There’s dignity in taking smart risks but stupidity in taking every risk. Let’s list some of the popular road most journeyed:
- Thinking twice on ditching that lacklustre class and eventually choosing to stay and waste an hour of your day doodling on your notes (Don’t think twice, cut the goddam class, and jump over the fence with your friends).
- Dating one girl during your teenage years (Be young and practice polygamy! Yes! As long as all parties know, it’s better to experience this so you can value that one true love when you grow up, don’t be bad-mannered and obnoxious, it won’t be the best time of your life, although you’ll think it is — it will save you in the future.)
- Play a video game (preferably a classic game) and stream yourself for the entire world to watch or to not watch. People watch Basketball and men kicking a ball across a field, only to get smacked on the face. There’s no reason for people not to at least try consuming your horrid gameplay. (There’s a perverse amount of utilitarian stigma with gaming that vilifies players like deranged meth addicts only to find out that their succinct commentaries are mind altering.)
- Write a book not a journal! It’s ridiculous to think that most will waste time ranting on paper when you can spend your energy in scribbling a decent story. Do romance and write about it. Don’t edit. Hit publish and let the world crumble upon your mythical, self-loathing lyrics.
Get off that highway and traverse the off-road. The high mile club is glamorous and yet impractical. One man’s quest for perpetual peace starts with the rough drudgery. There’s no other way around it, you have to fall to keep rising up. It’s not theoretical, that’s the pragmatism of life. Popular opinion will always hover unsuspecting victims, spreading flattering agendas to gratify venal purists. Life is a crime; it has consequences and lucrative rewards at small doses. You’ll come across people, semi-articulate career-driven, pathologically lying folks using wildly profane patois. Life is poetry. Life is hard work.
While you’re drinking coffee in the early morning dew, overlooking the urban percussion of the splintering chastity of day-to-day ordeals. It’s not 80’s rap but modern jazz, a symphony of anarchy as everybody travels the same boulevard, going in the same direction. Safe, familiar, and anhedonic. We are not taught in school to defy societal convention. We got to figure it out. The unlikeable assortment of when you want to do something unorthodox when you want to do it, and say whatever the hell you want. It does require discipline and careful improvisation along the way.
And if and when you decide to stay the course through the road that is most traveled, at the very least, be curious about the differences between two-worlds. Keep an open inquisitiveness to the love of the opposite and unlike, savour clandestine experiences, the uncomfortable and unfamiliar reverie that other people live, and the hard-core, doers of life.