I avoid the answer


Credit: M. Jakubowski

I avoid the answer to the question I asked of tomorrow. Avoiding myself, too, as my half-life struggles, revealing itself to others, one hand dipped in the past, the other paddling along in the future.

I don’t know what time is, and I won’t know until it’s over. Having never begun. I can’t capture exactly what I mean, not yet at least. In theory I have it all figured out though. And ideally I don’t rely on puns.

But I am coming to understand in a very simple way that most of the anger and fear we have of others and ourselves, the crushing hatred grinding like the compounded gravity of distant entities light years away, with the weight of a mountain compressed into the size of a grain of sand, all that destructive power tends from hiccups in how we each experience time.

We can sit in a room together as half an hour passes on the clocks on our phones. But for me it has lasted twelve mental years and sixteen physical hours and three days of emotional turbulence. My levels are all over the place in time and space.

For you perhaps it’s just been a pleasant half an hour pretending to listen to project managers discuss resources as you think ahead to kinky stuff prearranged with someone equally happy to think ahead to the time alone they’ll soon have with you.

The strictures of demanding that everyone pretend time passes on one level, one plane, at the same rate, regularly day after day is fine for measuring scientific calculations and financial fees. I mean sure, I’ll be happy to bill you for each quarter hour, because our union fought hard for years for us to have that in our contract. Workers of the world have to be in the real world to achieve solidarity. Yes, yes. But what we gained or lost within the contours of our potential futures and potential happiness in that half hour in a meeting room is fundamentally divergent, as curved experience.

I don’t mean to sound kooky or despairing, if I do, though, fine. I see this embarrassment or annoyance not as a desperate chaos dividing us, forever walling off me from you. Instead, it’s another way to name the identity transpiring around us, a time-identity that shifts. It’s okay not to feel comfortable in time all the time. Your energies and gravities and emotions and chemical imbalances and blood-sugar levels, hormonal fluctuations, caffeinated exclamations, lactation, menstruation, gestation, circulatory, ambulatory, sacred and unholy glory, all telling the infinitely unique-but common story within each body moment to moment. What could be more plain or beautiful?

Time is rampant and repetitive in its very common billion-fold hammering upon the human ore. Or something like a forge metaphor, under the hot hard tools of a great tinkerer in time. Sure, up there in the heavens we are astrologically pursued, sought after by the stardust we were extruded from in an eon now compressed into a tap upon a screen by someone thinking about sex during a boring business meeting. To be inside a moment then does require disciplined regard for the dangers of distraction. Inside, one or more elements are heeding the molecular call from a distant star. It requires Herculean focus to smile and nod while the deep harmonics of an expanding constellation sear your heart and mind and loins with their echo.