ForeignTerritory

ForeignTerritory
"… my mind's still unlearning its preconscious tendency to date stamp everything as if it were still a year ago."

I didn't take a thousand mile train ride precariously balanced atop a freight car while fighting off muggers, nor did I swim across an unwatched patch of an icy stream or hike for days across trackless desert to arrive here, but I nonetheless feel every bit like an undocumented alien. My passage seemed precarious enough without all the pitfalls any decent Central American would have to overcome, and I feel as though I haven't quite mastered the languages and customs here, though I'm clearly on the other side of a contentious border and insecurely in ForeignTerritory now. Every New Year arrives like this, and perhaps it's the new year feeling queer around me and not dear old me to blame. Something significant's changed. I reflect that this fresh year has no experience here, either, and that I might be experiencing a contact buzz without having swallowed any of the new Kool Aid® myself. Whatever the cause, I feel at least as different as the surrounding territory seems. For now, I seem to have been passing. Now that I've disclosed my internal state, Immigration might jump my butt.

The first week of any new year used to feature mis-headed homework papers dated the year before or checks pre-dated by precisely twelve months, but nobody manually date stamps homework or even writes checks anymore, our smart appliances automatically fill in today's date on the appropriate line on every form.
Rapid current date recall skills now go unappreciated and the slight embarrassment the rest of us felt when realizing that we'd semi-publicly fooled ourselves no longer eventually anchor any of us in space or time. I recognize all by myself that today's a Friday, a small if unremarkable miracle after two successive weeks with holidays shoved into the middle of them, essentially offering four weekends in the usual space of two. Over the past week, in the transition across the frontier, I lost a day or, more properly, failed to produce any footprints for a day, maybe to throw off imagined tracking hounds. Still, I managed to attract 581 unique views of my PureSchmaltz FB Group postings, a remarkable total given that everyone doubtless had much better things to do than fiddle with their smart phones or curl over a glowing laptop.

The week started with
Partum, where I reported entering that in-between space, approaching a time boundary. I next reflected upon what I most often find in the bottom of my stocking, A Double Handful Of Coal, wherein I considered where ideas originate. Next, I described my personal production process, a system largely defined by its many Lags and forced interruptions. And speaking of interruptions, I next described the beneficence the presence of a pair of rambunctious kittens bring to a life in TheDailyRumpus. I then disparaged my innate ability to accurately predict in Predicting, my first reported inkling of just how different my future would seem. I finished my writing week with a most curious little story wherein I surveyed the same-old space surrounding me, as if with freshly inspired eyes, in ArtificialEverything. Reflecting on the week just passing, I suspect that I spent much of it grieving and denying, both early stages of an eventual full acceptance. Fate can't be passive if it requires acceptance to exist. Here I am. There you are. What now? What Next?

I suspect that we all have some exploring to do. What we knew before might well prove unreliable under this New Year's national flag. I've already started riding my old exercise bike again, circumspectly this time, looking at a long ride, understanding that too much too soon reminds my knees to complain and discourages further adventuring. I'm mostly attracted to SmallThings, though. I notice a couple of my old routines seem to be morphing. I noticed that I'd been selecting a different chair when meditating and also feeling less compulsive about preparing supper. Also, The GrandOtter, our twenty-one year old granddaughter, arrived this week, displacing me from my usual bathroom and opening up another universe for exploration together, as we used to, when we'd see how much trouble we could get into on the National Mall by dipping at least a toe in every fountain, especially those with prominent No Wading signs displayed. We tried not to be obviously disrespectful, but it was 110 degrees in the shade and there was humidity instead of shade, and we were only human. I'm hopeful that this New Year will find me still human, too.

Excuse me, please, if I seem unusually disoriented over the next week or so, for I'm navigating through ForeignTerritory and my mind's still unlearning its preconscious tendency to date stamp everything as if it were still a year ago.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved










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