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Thursday, September 07, 2000

Stop, Non-Stop

I'm returning to Maui monday. Last night ended at 3am when the conversation finally began to fade and the various bodies sprawled about my living room's various horizontal surfaces picked themselves up and wandered onward. Garrett* and Samantha headed off to wake his parents for a ride to LAX on route to Maui. I guess they'll sleep on the plane. The relatively spontaneously-formed crowd peaked at a head count of nine, at the Indian restaurant where we converged to say hey to Garrett* and Samantha on their way through town. Samantha's presence no doubt was responsible for the high attendance as all were curious to meet "Garrett*'s 16 year old girlfriend". (But the experience is not as remarkable as all that, since the only telltale signs that she's not 21 are the date on her driver's permit and her defensiveness about her age. Nonetheless, everyone has to experience this in person before they really believe it.)

All of these people trace back to Project Sifter through one route or another. Reality is chaos, and one choice, one action, can completely change the course of a life. For better or for worse we can never really know. Where would I be if I'd been just slightly more lazy or chintzy or afraid?

Life has been non-stop for many days, as I desperately try to conquer my Todo list by Monday while in the midst of some very transitional times.

Amidst all this, people choose now to come visit me, in many cases after months of procrastinating the event, because I am leaving in a few days--this being the worst time possible, of course. I hear the shush of sand racing through the neck of the hour glass as I sit here typing, but I need to drop this survey marker in my Journal's landscape so this time doesn't vanish from overuse like the forgotten ten seconds of your first skydive.

Among my visitors, my father is coming down for the weekend, arriving by train. I haven't seen him in a year or two; only talked to him a few times in as long. There's no good reason for that--we are not estranged in any way--we just both seem to keep too busy or buried to keep in touch (and I in particular completely lack the sentimentalism that for most people would override at some point and necessitate contact regardless).

I'm also having lunch Saturday with Garrett*'s ex, who I am far more familiar with, and her me, through gossip and rumor than through any direct interactions, despite having known her as long as Garrett* has. This will be the first time we've spoken one-on-one, baring five minutes outside a party during torturous times some many moons ago. The flavor in my mind of this impending connection reminds me of the post-climax end-scene of a movie where two nemeses meet over a quiet game of chess and sigh at the havoc and pointless complexity that has cast them both irrevocably into their opposing roles. It's a chance to look back and laugh in the presence of perhaps the only other person who might know the humor of it. And then the two ships shall return to the night.

Strangely related, I am presently haunted by Joanna. How many times I have seen a T-shirt thrown into the crowd and snagged mid flight by he with the tallest reach and strongest impulse to jump, when quietly sitting at the end of its natural trajectory is the only person in the stadium who the shirt would fit. There are such intense forces at work around rare objects that we never really see where they were headed on their own--spectacular gems inevitably end up alone in a box.

I paint myself out of the picture, and wonder at the truth in my own words of expectations shaping results. Every butterfly I reach out to flutters away, and the rest are carried off in the mouths of birds. It's only in postmortem analysis I learn that some were once headed my way, and these tidbits strike me as barbed cackles, playground taunts to season my sense of humor.

In the end it is a conscious choice, to stand without flinching at the diving birds, the tidal forces, the bullets, fists, or insidious subtle manipulations; walking simply forward in my own chosen direction, with the strength of benevolent innocence that assumes that everyone has the resilience to shape their own piece of the puzzle, and that tending diligently to our own is the best way to complete the picture. Or perhaps it is simply the delusion that The Fifth Element was not a work of fiction.

When, if ever, does an idealist hold his glass to the sky and see that it is still empty after a lifetime of waiting for the rain that evaporates faster than it falls?

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com