A Sunday morning pipe dream

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

I’m starting to think it’s unhealthy to dream. Not the kind of dream that comes and goes in the deepest part of rest, but the kind that keeps from you falling asleep in the first place. The kind that comes about as close to haunting you as it can without becoming a nightmare.

A dream of something unattainable — a pipe dream. That’s what I’m talking about. Is it healthy to hold onto something like that for any period of time?

I ask because I seem to have developed one — a pipe dream that is. I’ve fallen victim to the infinite lengths of my own imagination. I want something I know that I cannot have, but not in a jealous way. It’s not something someone else has — actually, it’s something no one has.

I’ve fallen in love with a vacant building — and the idea of turning it into a…well, that’s where the dream gets a little fuzzy.

It used to be a restaurant. It closed more than three years ago, after a few decades in business. From what I’ve read, the closure seemed unceremonious. Infrequent hours, slacking service — it seems like those in charge of the business failed, more than the actual business did.

I first noticed the building a few months back. I was waiting for a table at an adjacent restaurant when I saw the real estate agents sign hanging from a second-floor window. I looked it up — and fell in love.

It looked like a home that someone had turned into a restaurant — so cozy. Wood floors as far as the eye could see, plenty of natural light, and windows that looked out onto the river. It is on the end of a block that has two restaurants on it — technically three if you count one on the opposite side of the street. They serve lunch and dinner, and drinks…lots of alcohol. That is not what first came to my mind when I scrolled through the photos included in the listing.

I see breakfast. I see coffee. Eggs and toast — white, wheat and third choice, probably something sweet. I see the kind of pancakes that couldn’t come from anywhere other than a diner. I see hash browns and bacon. I see Sunday mornings. I see peace, and happiness, and…more coffee.

I also see a lot of hard work. The place has been vacant for several years, though the tables sit where they likely did on the last night of business. The kitchen is dirty, but likely salvageable in some way. The floors need a sweep, and the walls need some paint, but it’s all doable — all of it possible.

It’s definitely possible — just not for me. A pipe dream.

The cost of the building alone is more than I could ever handle. I don’t know how to start a business, never mind run one. I would need staff. I would need time. A 24/7 commitment. A pipe dream.

But what if I had all of those things?

What if I had the money, and the man power (or woman power)? What if I created a menu from scratch, found a cook, bought new appliances, swept the floor, cleaned the windows, held a ribbon cutting…what if it wasn’t a pipe dream? Would I be happy?

As I’ve grown older (and yes, I’m only 25 — but sometimes it feels like 55), I’ve realized that I find the most joy in life when I’m pouring all I have into a) something bigger than myself, and b) something I love. I want what I spend my time on to live and die by the work I put into it. Some might say that’s true for most professions — success is dependent on effort — but I would argue otherwise. More often than not, I’ve been a cog in the clock. I turn, yes, but I’m dependent on other cogs and switches and wheels, all working together to turn the hands of time, moving them forward toward something that isn’t for me. It’s not for me, the work that I do right now. It’s for the company. It’s for the system.

I want to be those hands — but I also want to be the cogs, and wheels, and switches, and screws. I want my work to move me forward. I want other people to benefit from what I do, but not because I have to do it, because I want to do it.

I want to spend my time thinking of creative ways to advertise and promote my business, because it will die if I don’t. I want to be the boss I always wish I had. I want to spend all day working, and serving, and creating, stay up late going over business from the day, and then get up early and do it all again.

But, unfortunately, wanting isn’t enough. There I things I need, and they are all things I can’t get.

It’s a pipe dream — and barring a stoke of ungodly luck or fortune — it will stay that way.

I know everyone has their own dreams — their own diner. If you ever want to get a cup of coffee and talk about yours, I know a place.

If you’re curious, here it is: https://bit.ly/3fMoU36

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