What you are about to read is your future…
The dynamics of who I am have not altered much since birth. My thinking patterns, general demeanor, and overall character has remained fairly consistent for as long as I can remember (dating back 29 years.) Where I’ve changed, grown lies in how I’ve embraced, rather than stifle, who I am. My “quirks,” which I once regarded as unusual, have proven to be quite common, “normal.”
Last week, after our captains meeting (kickball,) my friend John “Seed” and I opted to have a few beers at Crazee’s, a favorite local bar. While there, we caught up on the current events of our lives while a random thought altered the path of our conversation. I asked John if he ever thought of the present and its transformation into the past. I painted the following picture to illustrate my thought:
“Look at the sign on the wall. Look while knowing the moment you turn away, your present—this very moment of looking at the sign—will soon become your past. In mere seconds, when you redirect your eyes, this moment you’re in the middle of, will take new shape, transforming into your past.” Without a glazed over look, John vertically nodded in agreement as if, he too, had experienced this thought before. I recall doing this as a child, and now as an adult, I find myself quietly playing the same game.
John "Seed," Me, Chris: Post Kickball Game
Chris, Steven, and John "Seed:" Post kickball game.
I remember spitting my gum out of the window of a moving car and instantly feeling a momentary loss. This wad of gum, mangled with my teeth marks, saturated with my saliva and DNA, now lay resting miles behind me never to be seen again. Trust me, I know it sounds ridiculous and I assure the feeling was fleeting, but even before I set this piece of gum sailing out of the window, I harbored a moment of knowing I was chewing the past.
Last Tuesday, I went out with Steven, the “cute neighbor” I’ve been kinda (the “kinda” is for his benefit) dating over a year and his best friend Brian “Fish.” We played a game of trivia and then conversed on “normal” topics to include “the greatest song ever,” (I said Shawn Colvin’s Monopoly) and whether or not we like “jam bands (def: band who plays one song for hours, not okay.)” Steven and I agreed on the excessiveness of a jam band song. Fish was neutral (I think he likes ‘em.) Both men, despite their youth (according to years) possess an old soul. Fish is a throwback to 1969, mainly because of his laidback outlook on life, while Steven carries heavy shoulders because he can’t shut off his thoughts (he wouldn’t admit this but it is evident in the way he speaks, acts.)
Exit the bar, enter the car. As we are driving, one of my favorite John Mayer songs, “Clarity,” begins to play:
“By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone. But I will bend the light pretending, that it somehow lingered on. And I will wait to find if this will last forever. And I will pay no mind, that it won’t, because it can’t… it’s not supposed to.”
I turn down the volume, while posing the question/scenario initially shared with John. Fish immediately gets it, “Yeah!! I mean, we’re on this road, in this curve, at this moment and as soon as we turn, the curve ahead becomes the curve behind us.” YES!!! Steven chimes in with, “What!? Y’all are nuts. Tonight, the entire night, is the present, our present. We don’t live in milliseconds. The curve is part of our night, the night we’re still living in.” We’re all right.
Steven and me.
Steven and me again.
My sister, Grace and Brian "Fish"
I presented this same “right now is the past” scenario to a few others. My friend January said, “I get it, I definitely get it. I’ve never thought of it before now but I certainly get it.” Others did not. Maybe I can attribute this to partial attention to the conversation (multiple parties can muddy the water,) or maybe abstract thinking is a function of some, versus all, of the population. I state the obvious.
January and me.
Today, while at lunch, I restate the above details, yet again, to Wes, my best friend. Rather than “understanding” what I suggested, he responded with, “It's like imagining yourself turning the doorknob of your front door at 5:07pm when it is 2:31. I can clearly envision my hand as it touches the doorknob, like I do every afternoon. It’s a different recognition when it actually occurs. And, as I shut the door behind me, the moment once regarded as my future, so suddenly becomes my past.” YES!!! I do this too!! He completes his point with, “Gratifying though, to actually have the moment. We take the expected for granted, forgetting this future mundane moment is a gift. What if…I didn’t turn the doorknob? What if that future never was my past?” Ahh, grasshoppah, you are very wise.
It is hard to measure time, truly. Sure, we have clocks and watches, calendars, and hourglasses, but when you really stand at the root of time, it becomes more alluding.
…and what you have just read is now your past.