Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A (Not Unpleasant) Puck to the Brow

One of the most overused bits of advice in modern wisdom is: "Live in the moment -- live for now and not yesterday or tomorrow." That's meant to help us keep our heads in the game, as it were; no regrets, no time wasted in attempting to engineer the future in ways in which it was not meant to be engineered. But, in one way, don't you find that we are hard-wired to the now?

In certain situations, this hard-wired nowness becomes really evident.

I often have these...moments, regarding my wife. Yesterday morning, taking advantage of the chance that my Easter break from school gives me to slip back in to my Count Dracula schedule (late nights, not [necessarily] neck-sucking) and to lie late into the morning/afternoon in bed, I had one of those moments. (Don't worry -- this wont get weird, I promise; or, at least not any weirder than it already is.)

I looked over at my wife. She was playing Scrabble on her phone, or something, and I had a thought that occurs to me once in awhile: Who the hell is this woman and when, exactly, did my life get attached to hers? I'm glad it did get attached to hers, don't get me wrong...but wasn't I just playing in a sandbox? Wasn't I just thinking thoughts about me and the man I might become and the life I would have as a grownup? Wasn't that just, like, six minutes ago?

The kids are good for this, too. The other night, we were driving home from somewhere. Karen, my wife, was driving. My son said, from the dark back seat: "Dad blahblahblahblah...."

I answered whatever question he asked and sat for a moment before clapping my hands to my face and rubbing my temples. Karen asked, "What was that for?" I replied, in a whispered strain: "That kid in the back seat just called me 'Dad'." She chuckled, well-aware of my point.

The way I see it, we spend ninety-nine percent of our time in the now. We walk around so absorbed in who we are, that when we take stock of who we have become, it can be quite jarring. When we step back into our soul's front room and look out the window, it can be quite disorienting.

Did you ever have this feeling? It's not a regret thing, to me. It's just a kind of...whoa, Nellie, a not unpleasant hockey-puck-to-the-brow thing...


  1. LOVE THIS POST! I totally had this moment when my best friend/cousin got married. I lived with her for about 10 months before the big day and watched her plan the whole shebang, planned the bachelorette party stuff, etc. Right before we left her Mom's house for the ceremony, we were finishing up getting ready and the photographer was taking pix of her pinning my special little maid of honor flower to my dress. It was then that we this indescribable moment of utter "Holy Shit-ness." We just stared at each other for a good minute with tears in our eyes and my whole life until that point flashed before my eyes - Pretending with Barbies in her bedroom, spending summers with my Mom-mom, the few and far between arguments, living together in college... then I simply asked her: "When and how did we get here?" She just said, "I have absolutely no idea." It was a pretty crazy cool feeling. :)

    1. Crazy/cool pretty much sums it up, Elise. Glad you coudl relate and I'm glad I'm not the only one who has this feeling...

  2. I feel this way often, Chris. I never imagined I'd travel more than a couple hours from the neighborhood where I was raised, or that I'd write anything people would want to read. Instead, I've had a tiny but satisfying dash of writing success, I've gotten to see bizarre wonders overseas (Serbian monasteries, the Korean DMZ), and my family's totally unforeseeable moves (first to Louisiana, then to Georgia) regularly take me to the Deep South, a region I've come to appreciate and enjoy. So when I'm sitting in Savannah traffic listening to country music with my nephew while I scan for grotesques on old buildings, I just have to laugh. It's a good life, but it's stranger and richer and luckier than the 16-year-old me in Piscataway, N.J., ever could have imagined. Yet I have no idea how I got here...

    1. Another kindred soul! I feel much better with every comment... It is an amazing journey, Jeff. It's corny, but true. Each life is an odyssey and a thing of interest(until it gets put on a "reality" show).