Thoughts on Time Travel

In the the second week, we are realizing that we don’t know Spring like we thought we did. No matter how many years I go through it, I seem to always forget the nature of Spring weather. You see all the illustrations with blooms and leaves budding, shimmering in the sunlight, and you’re lulled into this stupor that makes you think from March 25th on there will be a light breeze and highs in the low 70s. I always seem to forget that Spring is roller coaster of wind, rain, and sporadic temperatures. If you want a more dependable warm season, Fall beats Spring nearly every time. We just lose leaves, so Fall seems like the cold one. But, Spring has us fooled.

Though we’ve seeing decent temperatures the last few days, most of this week has been the kind of cold that makes you wonder if you will ever go outside again. This week, I’ve been preparing about 15 poems for an MFA application, and the weather has been a nice encourager to stay inside and keep working. This is an interesting time in my life, because I haven’t done this much work on single pieces of writing in some time. It was the year 2000 the last time I did work for a class. Soon, I may be taking college classes again, twelve years after I was at UT. I’ve had a decade pass since I was a collegiate, and I like the idea of that kind of time gap. Most are on a linear path with education, wanting to get it out of the way for work. But, I think we often have these times where we’d like to be in one situation of our life being another age. You think, “only if I could go back to that time, knowing what I know now.”

I think about how shy I was with girls in High School. How many girls I had crushes on, who could have had a crush on me too, but I would never find out. What if you could go back to high school and get in your nerdy, awkward body, realizing that you just have to be comfortable with yourself and not put so much pressure on the conversations you have. Girls will like you spontaneously, not because you spit some cool line. Not that I really have anything to complain about now. I ended up pretty good in the female companion department, but you look back, and it’s more the principle of the thing. Why did you squander those moments worrying so much? What did all that anxiety do to you over the years? Who knows? Maybe all that time being socially awkward in high school made you into the Lothario you are today who got you your smoking hot wife. Or, maybe you’d be world famous, living in a villa in Italy, still with your smoking hot wife if you had been cooler then. I guess that’s just one to ponder.

Regardless, I may be back in school very soon, ten years after a lot of people get into masters programs. I get to write like I wished I would have when I was in my early twenties. I’ve had dreams for years about going back to class. Some nights I’d dream that I was back in high school as my 34 year old self. Maybe I just figured out there were some classes I neglected to take before graduation. Maybe I was undercover like 21 jump street. I’ll have dreams that I’m in the middle of a college semester and realize that I’ve been forgetting to go to one of my classes pretty much the whole time. School might be reality soon again, and you better believe I’m going to be double checking the schedule and syllabi to make sure those dreams weren’t some kind of foretelling of my future.

The nieces stayed with us this past weekend, and we dug some of their stuffed animals out of the storage closest so they’d have something familiar. When I went to put the stuffed animals  back in our storage building, I realized that Digby needed to go outside, so I decided to make it a dual mission. I tucked three teddy bears under my arm and walked Diggs out into the field across from our house. I didn’t think much about it until I was standing in the middle of the field with cars driving by, a dog leashed to one hand, and three bears tucked under my other. At one point, a lady drove by, and stared at me the entire time she could see me. She had a huge grin on her face and a look like, “what on Earth are you doing?” I realized, then, that I looked like a 5 year old trapped in a 34 year old’s body–out there for everyone to see with my dog and teddies.

It funny how easy it can be to travel back in time if the factors are right. Most songs from the late 90s take me to some moment from my life when I was turning into an adult. Go to a high school reunion and see how hard it is not to be your high school self. Watch a cartoon that you grew up with and resist talking about how awesome it is.

I was walking across campus earlier this week, and passed a girl who I recognized as a former camper. This is one of those campers who  was mischievous as all get-out, but you couldn’t help but coddle and pamper. She was one that seemed like a little kid even as she got into her teenage years. It was just something in her face that didn’t seem like it would age. The sort of freckle faced, kid sister kind of kid who tags along side you everywhere you go. When we passed, she had on baggy jeans and an army jacket. She blew cigarette smoke and grinned at me real big. The kind of grin you give each other when you know you know each other, but you’re not going to stop to take. Just an unsaid, “It’s really good to see you.” In my mind, this girl should still be 12, but this incarnation clearly had grown up a bit. For a moment I wonder if I had walked through a time portal or if I had fallen asleep for many years. Would Allyson pass out when I came to the door like in Castaway? 

As far as I know, I didn’t leave the present. But you never really know where your mind is at any given moment. You might be 20 years in the past, you may be 2 weeks in the future. It’s hard to look at ourselves right now and be confident in that. We’re always looking at us before and what we may/will be later. Our memories get hazy. Sometimes we’re harder on ourselves than we should be, sometimes it’s not as good as it seems in our minds. It’s great that we can go these places sometimes. It’s good to escape now and then. But, who are you being right now? Who are those people next to you at this moment? Do you know? What are you doing with this?

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