Today’s the day, the pointy end of time. I’ve kinda been avoiding it. Way back when yesterday was today, I felt the clear distance between then and now, but now that today’s arrived, I feel only immediacy. Now really is now.

It’s not like I haven’t been living in increasing anticipation of today, but I feel like a virgin in a biker bar here. I’ve heard an awful lot about today, I’ve even written some more or less authoritative pieces on the subject, but never experienced a minute of it until I woke up just now. Deflection doesn’t seem to work here because there will be no tomorrow for resolution. It’s now or never. (I wonder if today will be one of those days where only hackneyed metaphors work.)

Loose ends. I feel as though I only have a couple of loose ends remaining. Clear up those babies and I’ll really be in the clear. Of course The Muse is here, and last night as she circuited the place, she found a hot half dozen things inadvertently left undone. Yesterday, as I drove her to The Metro for the last time, she started dictating a few items ‘she’ was attending to. I told her it wasn’t really obsessive/compulsive disorder if she didn’t do the work herself. Suggesting I do it just won’t do, and while I’m always glad to do what I can to help her gain closure, it always costs me a little momentum. These ‘requests’ throw off my rhythm.

Tight ends. The principles I hold most strongly feel challenged today, for today is the day I must give away all my present obligations. If my history informs me, I’ll quickly adopt a replacement to-go obligation for every one I abandon here, but the rusty old always-on-my-mind responsibilities will get left behind. Some as regrets. Others, shining memories. Still others, simply forgotten the way urgency disappears once the context shifts. I know I’m capable of better remembering the unfinished work than anything I might have accomplished, but today seems a poor time to dwell on any past. There will be plenty of time for that once today’s gone. I will more effectively ruminate tomorrow.

New Beginnings. I will remember today as the delineation day, the clear point where The Muse and I, accompanied by Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat, ceased to exist in exile. Sure, way back last New Years, we’d (without Rose really getting involved) declared the exile over, but that was just the conceptual/emotional, second-order ending. We’ll remember today as the physical end of a lengthy fitful dreaming period. Tonight, the dreams will not be filled with fits, and that will be a real change. But the point of today, of New Beginnings, isn’t to serve as fuel to ruminate on future ruminations. The start of any race might be exhilarating, but it’s just the beginning, filled with anticipation, but the unresolved, the truly unreasonable kind. I could fritter today away thinking about today as the past. That’s what video cameras are for. I’m just here to be here today.

Old Change. The Muse asked me yesterday if I’d moved much. This wasn’t so much a question as one of those subtle power plays spouses engage in together. She was saying, “I’ve moved a lot more than you’ve moved.” And I quickly conceded the point. The first ten years of Amy’s married life was spent in mind-crushing poverty. Poverty blunted by youth, but nonetheless poverty. Small child. Itinerant musician husband. Moving more frequently than she ever sat still, The Muse developed huge callouses around possessing and letting go. She walked away from so many formerly promising places that she seems kind of cold-hearted to this kid who remembers moving when he was five as a wake-up-in-a-different place experience, and several moves where everything he owned could fit into a Volkswagen beetle with room leftover for hitchhikers. Today, we have 181 boxes, plus furniture, and counting. We have two thousand miles to go. We have no cups or spoons or plates left in the place. The refrigerator needs one final clean-out. The neighbor will inherit this part of the earth, along with considerable unused cleaning supplies.

New Change. I rediscovered a one pound coin on one of the basement workbenches, which in that moment felt like an initial discovery. I carry it, odd shape and ungainly weight that it has, in my coin pocket along with the usual parking meter change. Here, the quarter has been king. Eight minutes per in the District. Twenty minutes, depending, here in Montgomery county. Seattle used to be the dime city because parking meters ran on dimes. This made dimes as scarce as quarters have been here. Make one coin essential and it kind of disappears. Is this a natural property of all systems, that the one essential element always disappears?

Chains. I have rattled my chains plenty here, complaining mostly. Many years ago, I wrote a forgettable song I called What Would You Do If Your Dream Came True?, and I’ve always wondered. Arendt wrote elegantly about the banality of evil, but grace seems at least equally banal in practice. The usual joking attends. There will be smokers lurking near their truck, watching. The neighbor will not have gotten the memo and will breeze by unaware that a volcano spews new experiences just next door. The mail will still be delivered to the old address for a while. The muscle memory will forget it’s no longer where the shortcut works, or even exists, and continue firing neurons like mute blanks into the vacuum of absent space. The chains prove insubstantial. Whether they wore or rusted through, they can no longer contain you, by which I meant they can no longer hold ME here. I am today as free as I might ever again be and I will guarantee that I will be banally pushing to get the work done so we can move on into temporarily even more confining territory. Chains gone, choices limiting as the next objective moves closer. Free at last, he exclaims through a stifled yawn.

Good bye. When the opponent fails to show up for the game, the old home team gets granted a bye. These are not universally considered to be positive experiences because if there’s such a thing as a good bye, it implies that there are bad byes, too. Byes where, while granted, prevent a compelling match-up. No sport in that. Sport was supposed to be the point. Even good byes seem to miss something, some anticipated encounter, some definite resolution. The bye simply steps aside to allow the ‘hi’ to step in, I guess. I sent a note to the neighborhood listserv asking people to please park their cars along another curb today, so the moving truck can park without blocking off this narrow street. I implored them by promising that the faster the movers can work, the sooner the neighbors can start missing me. Last night, after a surprisingly mediocre supper at the usually reliable local pub, The Muse suggested we take a walk around our old neighborhood. As if choreographed, we ran into warm wishes from exactly the right old neighbors. Happy trails! Travel Safe! Don’t forget about us back here.

What was once out there shifts to back here today.

©2015 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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