Friday, October 21, 2005



The challenge, as always, will be trying to reconcile the man who is with the boy who used to be. Friends will look for a bridge. "When did he change," they'll ask each other. "Did he always think such things? Why did he never talk to us?" They will, these friends, search for clues to explain your sudden change. That's what they'll call it, sudden, as though you just up and changed over night. You'll want to remind them that the shift was not so abrupt, that perhaps they just weren't paying attention. Or maybe you'll want to say that there wasn't a change at all, that maybe, just maybe, they never really knew you. And maybe they still don't.


Sometimes you tire of signing your signature to papers. When will it end? you ask yourself. All of this signing, what does it mean? Waiting in line at the bank, you're signing things and thinking about signing things. You take a break only to stare at the tiki floor, and to flex your hand. There are no muscles here, you remind yourself, little more than flesh, bone, and tendons. Fingers moving by remote control. Reading signals from the brain. Amazing, really. And all so that you might spend your life signing things. The line inches forward. You're next. Listening past the non-silence of the bank's interior, your consciousness floats above the din and you hear it: the muttering of voices, one on top of the other, overlapping, like a sort of vox collage. Each voice like piece of tissue paper glued to a construction paper background. Each voice saying the same thing: Sign here, please.


"He can't be trusted," she says. "He talks a lot," she tells me, "and a lot of that talk comes with very little thought." She reminds you that this is a very bad combination. "Just the other day," she says, "he was talking about you and was busy paraphrasing a little conversation you had with him last week - a conversation that I would think you had intended to be confidential?" You tell her that perhaps he was seeking insight, a different perspective. "No," she says, "he was most assuredly not seeking insight - he was betraying you." Considering this a moment, you ask: "Waitaminute, was not your conversation with him supposed to be as well confidential?"


You'll sleep. In time, you'll sleep - but until then, you'll wait. Just as you waited in rush hour traffic, waited in line at the bank, and at the theatre, so, too, will you wait in line to sleep. A whole life spent waiting your turn. And will death bring yet more waiting? To be sure, it will. You're certain that no matter which end you've chosen for yourself - a rebirth, a glistening afterlife in the sky/a hot afterlife in the ground, or eternal nothingness - there will be waiting involved. Oh, and signing. Many forms will have to be signed, of course. Forms filled out in duplicate, triplicate, and quadruplicate. A signature on every page. An eternity of waiting and signing - and the rumination that comes with each. Chewing cud forever and always.

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