I'm Not in Love

By Mike Johnson

The last teen year at home was tough. I was mentally gone but physically stuck. Just a month shy of my 18th birthday & a few days later, high school graduation, I was marking time.

I was a big deal at work but still a kid at home. Fathers & sons are mostly over each other by this stage of life. WAY over in our case. I was weeks away from escaping this tension by moving into an apartment.

Meanwhile, I was piling up the overtime at McDonald’s. It carried the trifecta of earned income, working with friends & time away from home.

In this memory, I was an opener. I had to arrive by 5am to prep the restaurant for 6am opening. This required something I loved – driving before dawn.

I stepped outside, inhaled the humid Florida air & slipped into my orange Vega. I turned the key & owned the world. I backed from the drive, navigated the neighborhood & pulled onto Starkey Road.

No traffic, no stoplights, glowing dashboard guided my hand to the radio. I turned left on Bryan Dairy Road, my favorite predawn, rural cut-across to busier streets.

Young, alone, early, dark, free.

10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” played, imprinted & immortalized the memory forever.

I just relived it thanks to this morning’s playlist.

I loved that moment. I still love that moment. I’ll always love that moment.

But in the harsh examination of today’s perspective, my love was amplified due to a moment of comfort within a framework of misery.

We often love things that relieve our misery. Take away the misery & those things lose some allure.

Sadly, we often run FROM situations instead of TOWARD them. We run FROM misery to gain temporary comfort, rather than TOWARD dreams that gain permanent pleasure.

Over time, we learn that the same energy it takes to make our misery more comfortable can be used instead to escape the misery altogether.

When it comes to escaping misery, 10cc was right.

I wasn't in love, I was in temporary comfort.


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