The Future Was Then


The year is coming to an end and while we are reminded by certain scientists that Muslims and Hindus, and the Chinese call New Year’s Eve 2014 Wednesday or xingqisan, or hindimindipoo, or Walpurgisnacht and the next year is 2015 or 6781 or 010101, or whatever we can still come together over the silly turn of the date.

We have in this country of formerly common culture agreed on little but we agree on New Years and, with little commercial fan fare, the festival of New Years is universal.  In this time, as balderdash and Eurrocentric as it may be in slavish adherence to the end of the Gregorian or Alexandrian calendar, it is a time for many to reflect on the past and to look ahead to the twinkling sparking future. To regret or celebrate the past. To the same for the future. Perhaps the cancer will return. Maybe this time the plane will crash. Perhaps by next year I will be more enlightened. More refined. Perhaps I will spring forth a life from my loin/ess/es and so to start Buddha’s sad continuation of the veil of tears. The continuation of birth. The continuation of death.  Perhaps I will get a puppy.  Or just keep on with my life as before.

What sweet sad madness we live, however, in the meantime to these portentous thoughts some meekly look back just to the year now closing out.

This blogger reflects not just on a few scant days that comprise the year since they fly by ever ever ever faster and to think of the decades. To think in terms of first part of life. Second part of life.

When I was a child I thought ahead. I thought of when I would be older. I had no idea what this would look like.


My parent and my other parent were far too caught up in their matters as to provide role models. The neighbors were not looking far ahead either for some reason.  Perhaps reflection is not as typical as I have learned to believe.  The decade of my youth also too confusing as to provide a compass in order to arrange my life, to plan ahead, to make some distant idea of who I would be, what I would do, and the matters in the way.

I remember sitting in a tree, I did that a lot when I was a child – my bones I am sure made of rubber for the times I fell off of things and did not get hurt – and in that tree I though ahead. I counted the years. I did not know what they would bring, but I counted them.

I knew I would be a certain age in 2000. I feared that.

I thought ahead. I had heard the song played by hippies about in the year 3535…. I wondered what we would have at hand. I had already seen the film 2001. I had visited Florida. I had visited the moon landing. I wondered where we would be taken in just a few years, since, I was young and Ford was still president and we still thought the water sprinklers would come one at 10 and 5 and water the suburban lawns.

We still hoped and believed in this sort of movement. My grandmother (Grammy we called her), had been born in London to privation. Had lost her teeth to starvation by 19. My mother remembered the ice man. The horses in the streets. My Grandfather had fought in THE WAR and been a playboy long before the magazine of the same name.

I was not. Not anything. I was born in the end of anything interesting and moved on.

And now I look back. If for no other reason than this artifice of time. Scientists do not believe in Christmas. I don’t believe in anyone.

I was in a tree and I thought of the decade I would die. I just did the math.

So and so, plus such and such.

I feared for my life then of growing up. I was a child and I feared. I thought ahead and was filled with fear.


What a frightful number

2081 I figured. The year I may die. Or at least start looking like a living skull.

Mr. and Mrs. Herman across the street looked like living skulls. But, they gave me candy which made up for their appearance. Once, I forget why, we kids dressed up as old people. Talcum power in the hair, drew veins and lines with makeup stolen from our parent, and tottered over to knock on the Herman’s door. We’re old like you! We got cookies. I cannot imagine what that old couple must have thought of us.

I had a lot of fear as a child. The Bomb. The sun burning out. I have exchanged those childhood fears for others. New and adult fears. Some even more irrational as when that long lost day I was sitting in the summer wind in that tree that I plotted out my life. But at that time I had no idea what to do with life. Just to exist seemed enough.

I wanted to be a revolutionary.

At 4 or 6 or 10 or whatever I had no idea what adults did. I wanted to grow up to be in charge of Shock Troupes and Commissars or on some mission that would have me travel to exotic locations. Maybe find buried treasure.

I am older now.

The trees of my youth have been eaten by bugs or been cut down and stacked up against the shed from that one winter father was certain to power the house with wood but never installed the correct furnace.

I am not in a tree, but I do look ahead from time to time. I do also now have enough life behind me to think back.

In 2014 we have not achieved what we expected in 2001. As a child I could not imagine the world in 2001. It was a far more normal world than most of us expected and late in the year that world changed more than we knew at the time.

I’m not a revolutionary, but I am not dead, either. I do not live in the suburb I was born into, but I did not make it in Gothem as expected. I no longer listen to mix tapes I made from the radio. I do not have a machine that plays the stacks of VCR tapes I still own.

I do not believe we will make it to the stars as we expected when I was young. Perhaps we will yet consider our own planet and learn to be content here.  To make peace with Mother Nature and the rest of them.

At this point in the year, we can still assess our personal lives as we can look back for the Nation and the world. And why not do so at the close of our calendar? The Year of Our Lord 2014 was a very interesting year. We can more than likely look ahead with portentous planning and assumptions that 2015 won’t disappoint.

In the meantime I will perhaps go raid my parent’s makeup kit. To remove these fine lines and gray hairs.


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