Time travel

It's Sunday, and I feel like I'm back in the small town where I grew up on a Sunday afternoon when most stores were closed, and people stayed home and the streets were quiet. There was one store that sold newspapers which opened for a few hours. It was on Carpenter St., I vaguely remember and sometimes we'd head down to get a paper. We would walk to the Mile Three Market, catch the #8 bus which meandered down Rock Road, and eventually dropped us off at the Main Post Office, from where we'd walk a block or two to Carpenter St.

The silence of the Sunday afternoon was heavy, almost as heavy as the noon heat. On festival days, the temples nearby would be redolent with the smell of incense and smoke, all of which only added to the heaviness of the day. This came to my mind because I drove up Park Boulevard in Oakland this afternoon, and the street was deserted, the stores were close except for the laundromat and the one corner store. The sun was out, it wasn't that warm, but it was almost twilight and I could smell my own mortality.

I remember one evening in the #14, the house that my mother bought for my grandmother, and which we moved into eventually. It was late, I couldn't sleep having returned from Montreal a few months previously and was still settling into work at the local University. The house had wooden floors, heavily varnished, and there was dry rot settling in. Everyone was asleep and I felt like I was the only person left in the world. That night was the first time I smelt my mortality.

I'm in Oakland at present - a self imposed exile from Vancouver because I wanted, needed to step  back from the events of the last three months and let my mind settle down and regain perspective. So far it's not worked but that's normal. I've only been disengaged for 4 days, and some of those days have been filled with work from Vancouver too. These last few days I've not done much except routine, mundane stuff and slept as much as I could. I've also been eating to assuage this strange anxiety I feel - unidentified, so can't do much about it. For if I don't know the problem, I don't have a solution, and so can do nothing about it. I have been eating too much sugar - of that, there's little doubt.

This is the first time I've come to this house and not found a single Lipton teabag anywhere. This means that mum and dad have not been here for a while. Not a single Lipton teabag - hundreds of other teas, but no Lipton. It's a sign of the times. This is the visit where I finally sorted through the chest of drawers containing some of my clothes, and I've finally rooted them out, put them in a bag for recycling or donation. I also found 8 journals from the past. The question now is what I do with them - common sense tells me to dump them all in the recycling bin. Ceremony tells me to burn them - but there are strict burning laws in this part of the world, and little puff of unauthorized smoke could be reported by the neighbours, and I'd get a ticket for air pollution. I could read through them and salvage some stuff, but on the whole, why would I want to remember things about these people (in no particular order): DF, TF, NP, JP, CA, EI, or the Bs, or for that matter, JA, or even MK? They are in the past, and quite frankly, what's past is past.  After all, you can ruminate and try to find patterns in the past, or you can take your thumb out of your arse and get on with it.

The house has been very quiet because everyone else is away at a wedding. This place feels a bit like an island that's detached itself from the world outside. I've not been paying much attention to what's been going on even though I can hear the roar of traffic on the nearby highway. There've been a few messages, but not many, from Vancouver about treatment response, renovations, bike numbers and the like, but nothing spectacular. And it's all that it should be. I want no reminders, or distractions that continue stirring up events that are in the past, but haven't quite laid down and gone to bed yet. In this coming week, I make no resolutions, nor changes. Instead, I will keep an open mind, and let things happen, I shall look at them dispassionately, then decide whether or not I want to be involved or not. If I don't wish to be involved, I shall do my best to move on. If I decide to be involved, then I will be in some way. This is the week where I shall be selfish and think only of me. Yes, that's the plan. Now what can I do for myself? Well. I shall meet up with TE, and we'll catch up on what's been happening. That'll be good, he's always good company. That's a start. I shall also go up as far along the Bay Bridge as I can. That'll be the closest I come to running the Bay Bridge I suspect, but I think it'll be just fine.

So there you go.

Time passes. Things change. You forget things. There's no point hanging on to the past. Mortality smells like dry rot covered with heavy varnish. Things will happen, and you decide whether to participate or not. If you do jump in, away from the drama and follow the narrative. Leave guilt behind where it belongs.