T = (F + PT) * 0 + (APM ^)
T = Time
F = Future
PT = Past
0 = Constant that negates the existence of the future and past
A = Awareness
PM = Present Moment
(Where the future and past do not exist, time equals awareness of the present moment to the power of an undefined infinite degree.)
On the path of every traveller is a shared minute-liberating moment when s/he scavenges the basement of a backpack for the estranged watch that no longer leashes wrist and mind to a defined conception of time…
“It’s Friday right?”
“No, um…I’m pretty sure it’s Tuesday ‘cause church bells woke us up a few days ago.”
“Was that really only two days ago? Okay…so Tuesday the what?”
“I have no idea. Wait, my watch has the date on it. Hold on a minute. It’s down here somewhere…”
This conversation is usually followed by a moment of dazed bliss, mild hysteria, or a laughing-fit; for the machine-less tumble in time (via a tunnel painted by Salvador Dali), with hands thrown in the air and mental fingers sticky with melting clock, can be quite an exhilarating experience.
And how egotistical was I before to think that Time actually cared about me? Imagining myself being gently nudged from behind and buffered from the front, prodded and poked in order to keep my proper place walking down an imaginary life timeline?
Who knew that Time was all the while laughing, waiting for exactly the moment where I lost balance, slipped, fell down the “reality” rabbit hole and landed on my (capital-A) Ass before it sardonically whispered to me its secret…
“Lose track of me, and I’ll lose track of you.”
And now here I am, years (measured not in days, but smiles, sighs and sunsets) later, with a staggering statistical measuring unit from the old abandoned lifeline that has somehow managed to limp a way back into my life. Now be careful, for the following five words have been known to arouse adverse reactions:
10-Year High School Reunion
Oh did you feel it? Because I did! I don’t know where you went, but I’ll tell you where I did: For a single moment, I reverted straight back to my 14-year old self; first month of my freshman year at a new school, lunch bell screaming in my ear, pulling a brown bag from a cold, beaten metal locker and silently begging (“please God”) that today I might find another soul as lonely as I with whom I could share an empty hour eating sandwiches.
Not a memory I like to live long in, so quick, bring me back and let me catch my breath on the fresh air of the present moment.
I wonder how I would have experienced high school differently if I knew then what I do now. In that parallel world, I think I’d join the drama club, run for class president, experiment with a lot more drugs, hang out with all the foreign exchange students, spend Friday nights reading, stand up and face off with arrogant teachers, skip a lot more class to go the beach, do my book reports on Gandhi and reincarnation, start a “Recovering Catholics” and a “Salsa Dancing” club, initiate all my dates, cram my schedule with art and photography classes, and eat lunch outside, barefooted, joyfully alone, every single day.
Well since by my equation the past no longer exists, I don’t have four years of high school to relive (which is sigh worthy). But I do have one day to newly experience old memories in a body, mind and spirit I’ve comfortably and finally grown into.
So a 10-year high school reunion that happens to be taking place during one of five months in the last ten years that I happen to actually be in town?
Awkward. Nerve-wrecking. Identity-challenging. Scary. Unnecessary. Reality re-defining. Interesting. Unpredictable. Strange. Uncomfortable. And yes, downright freaky.
And for exactly all those reasons; Let’s go!
Of course all that logic came quickly into question as soon as I entered the room full of vaguely familiar faces grimacing under the terrible tune of C & C Music Factory, which (come on DJ!) really should be restrained (by order if necessary) to the 90’s.
Yes, there was a slightly painful and scripted prance through the entrance catwalk. Lucky for me, I had at my side one of my best friends in the world who happens also to be the exact same soul “lonely as I” that “God” sent to my side freshman year in high school and who has held my hand through the ups, downs and ins and outs of life every single day since.
Soon enough smiles were recognized and so warmly remembered. Laughs I hadn’t heard for years brought back sweet memories so worthy of fond recall. Surprised hugs and forgotten friendships renewed relationships and inspired dates for further investigation. An hour and a half into the crowd and I hadn’t even made it to the bar (a good sign). Of course there were still awkward and even embarrassing situations (and specifically two pretty blush-worthy ones for me which are not worth the details). But one of the advantages of not being 18 any more was being able to address the awkwardness with, “So, is this uncomfortable or what?” “Um. Yes.” and the heightened consciousness it takes to call out and/or laugh anything off with the indifference that discomfort deserves.
Adding a unique twist to my own personal experience was the existence of this weblog. It’s one thing to post your most intimate thoughts, experiences and opinions for an anonymous online audience, but it’s an entirely different thing to imagine your old high school classmates reading your personal diary. Most of the friends I make while travelling go for months without knowing about this website. Some don’t find out until they randomly find the site themselves years later. So I was shocked, humbled and self-conscious when it became evident that people other than my mother were reading my ridiculous run-on word rants. But really, what can I do but shrug, surrender to the inner-self exposure, and laugh it off with the indifference that my discomfort deserves?
So I have an aversion to numbers in general as they seem to me limiting in their expression of many things that I consider constituted of unit-less essence. But after this weekend’s reunion, I’m gonna break from my normal annoying vague jargon, and say that 28 looks pretty damn good on people; perhaps because experience and confidence also look good on people. And I’m seeing an exponential trend as well; that with each time period passed, there is an equal and uprising unit of respect, appreciation and individual advancement. So despite the physiological advantages, there’s no amount of pickled mango (I’m currently missing India) that would ever make me trade 18 for 28. After all, 1-27 got me where I am, and “here” is my favorite place to be. And I guess that would be the APM^part of the equation.
As for my 14-year old self, I travel through time (because, I’m pretty sure that if travel is indeed timeless, then I can somehow *with a little more imagination* deduce that we are also able to time travel) and shout down to her the one message that I also hammer into the heads of all the 18-year olds I work with; “Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Get confused or be straight. Flunk a class or ace a test. Become a slut or be reborn a virgin. Get fit or get fat. Make babies or make art. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Live happily ever after or get divorced. Dance on tables or sit in the corner and be shy. Let me (scream or whisper) a secret to you: It’s doesn’t matter. Nobody’s actually watching. Life is divine chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourself. Breathe. And enjoy the ride.”