First floor, 1961: Ms. Kramer’s first grade class, I stared out the window. Not my best year, class-wise, I wanted to be anywhere but there. The passing of time made a snail’s pace warp factor 10: way beyond light speed.
Ms. Krammer sent me to the office where I got a stern lecture on paying attention. But passing from the lower grade first floor, to middle grade second floor, all the way to the third floor: Mr. Bob’s 6th grade class: the temptation to stare out the window to pass time was hard to resist. By then the snail’s pace seemed, perhaps, warp factor 6 to the drag of time.
By the time I hit high school I had passed the now sluggish snail, closing in on warp factor 1. A lot had happened; I had moved to my fav place in the universe: the Central Adirondacks, after I lost part of my foot to a lawnmower, after my mother died of cancer, after I had come close to dying stuck in -20 weather across a lake in the dark… a lake I couldn’t cross due to thin ice and my first adult love on the lake I came to call home yanked the heart out of my chest and gleefully put it into an emotional meat grinder. It was not the last time: but the first time is so damn hard to forget.
Does it surprise you at all, dear reader, that after that I hated dating? I don’t know what I would have done if I had never met Millie almost 40 years ago.
Has it really been almost 40 years?
If you’ve ever seen a fly zip around the room first he’s here, then he’s there. Just when you’re ready to swat him he’s often gone. Sometimes I wish I was that fly: not just the summer of 69 on Twitchell Lake, but in life in general. But that’s not a choice we have, is it? Instead that fly: time, has decided to go warp speed fly and drag me along behind. Kind of like a supersonic tow truck. And as I age more it’s like many flies have joined in the merriment because they think we should be going even faster.
Are we having fun yet?
If I were the flies I know I’d be having more fun. They seem to enjoy dragging me around razor sharp corners, big bumps, over sharp stalagmites that fill life. I’d suffer less from a bad back, an eye almost blind for a while, an aging digestiuve tract I’m polite enough not to get specific about, randomly arthritic ankles and legs that scream in pain… and far worse. The impact of life has its disadvantages.
Some folks claim, “Better than the other option.” But how do I know that? Haven’t tried it yet, as far as I know: not that I’m in any rush.
Time, in the form of metaphorical flies, sure seems to have fun dragging me over more and more bumps, rocks, spikes, up cliffs and then drop me, only to hook back up after I hit the bottom. Each time I wonder, “Is this the last?” And, of course, youngsters and even folks my own age: who should know better, follow behind with the swatters.
Unlike me they have pretty good aim.
Why is it so many folks who know for a fact it’s not easy getting older, not easy watching all you knew go away, good friends, parents, icons pass on… are so quick to swat others?
I look forward to that final cliff with a mix of dread and relief. Seeing youngsters getting ready to run for president, running huge corporations, becoming stars: I’m at the point of being OK with all that. The next generations can have it. So I don’t fear what happens after that inevitable conclusion. It the final fall and impact I dread.
But until I’l have as much fun as I can as the little buggers pull faster and faster. They’re sure having fun, for sometimes I swear I can hear them laugh as…
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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