My how time flies.
It seems just yesterday it was November. And then, like the melancholy old Stevie Forbert song goes, I blinked once and it was gone.
And now it’s December. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s already January. Or June.
There is a school of thought out there amongst some smart people that says the present is actually already the past. They say what we perceive to be the here and now actually took place anywhere from a few seconds ago to who knows when it really happened or is fixing to happen. I.e., we operate on a sort of autopilot, like Roombas, only we don’t vacuum unless we’re my wife.
What’s more, I suspect it might happen at different speeds for different people. That means perhaps you’ve already read this sentence or, if your autopilot is upgraded with extras, maybe this entire column.
For all you know you have finished reading this entire downtrodden weekly newspaper from front to back. You also just ate a Little Debbie cake and then went out and threw something at your neighbor’s cat, which was in the process of ralphing up a hairball on your car.
Hey, at this very moment you could be in the front yard in the middle of the night hollering at those oddly shaped kids from down the road who fill bags with dog you-know-what and set them on fire on your front porch because they think you’re funny looking.
In your haste to put out the porch fire you forgot your clothes, and now half the subdivision knows what your butt looks like without the benefit of drawers, or will know when they get around to remembering it. Meaning whenever your present catches up with your past, they, and you, will be scarred for life.
We’re all in the same boat on this, I suspect. I might think I’m writing this but I’m actually already driving home. If that’s the case I’m likely hung up in traffic because, well, 10,000 more people who weren’t here last week are out driving around house shopping. Except they already did that, choosing the tropical seagrass green vinyl exterior over the peppermint pimento vinyl exterior. Now they’re at Kroger wondering how come most of the people in this part of Georgia sound like they’re from Akron or Minnesota and don’t look anything at all like the brochures.
Confused? Well, you were.
By now your autopilot has already gotten you through Christmas and New Years. Sorry to spoil the fun, but your handsome successful son with the beautiful wife and child didn’t accidentally give you a new BMW SUV when the wind blew a big red bow off your lovely home because he doesn’t exist.
Your real son splurged and bought you a 30-pack of Milwaukee’s Best, drank half of it lukewarm and then got into a fistfight with a lawnchair before wandering off and passing out in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. But not before he helped himself to your car’s catalytic converter.
And he ain’t handsome. And it didn’t snow. And for New Years you got stranded in a Chuck E. Cheese in Pooler with a good-hearted, one-eyed, eight-toed pole dancer named Caramel Mousse and her manager, Mr. Mike.
What’s more, your bonus was a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club, and Cousin Eddie moved in and won’t come out of the bathroom until Groundhog Day.
Isn’t that from a movie, you ask? It will be. Or was.
It also just might be next summer by now, and you got sunburned out at the lake and your wife coated you down all over with Banana Boat aloe vera gel to the point you keep sliding out of your fake leather recliner and winding up on the floor under the entertainment center.
In the meantime, this notion that whatever we think of as the present is really the past, even if just by seconds, lends itself to what were some interesting quandaries. Or will be interesting, or was in 2019, depending on where we are in time at the moment.
Like, what does “in the meantime” mean? Last month? Tomorrow? Tuesday next? What if Tuesday next was in 1973? How about ASAP? And does anybody really know what time it is? It’s mind boggling, that’s what time it is, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s a thought. Maybe we’re all just thoughts. How else to explain Facebook community pages, Elon Musk or today’s popular culture and messed up politics?
Or if there is a real life, a present that we haven’t remembered yet, maybe Hulk Hogan is president and we’re all a bunch of little Hulksters, running amok and taking our vitamins.