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Wassily Kandinsky: Winter Landscape (1909)
"I swear I live unconscious …"

Packing, I feel least connected to the so-called here and now. Both here and now seem slippery, now that my focus has shifted toward HeadingHomeward. Now and here seem preternaturally tiny and unusually thin. Rooms fill with freshly filled boxes, leaving narrow aisles for navigation. The cats explore the ever-changing configuration, furry brows furrowing with apparent concern. The Muse still cannot quite believe that we'll be able to securely transport them for two driving days and an overnight, though we've begun researching feline face pheromones as a potential tranquilizer, anything to help ease the transition. The Muse and I seem to have mostly already arrived there, as if home was an app with a progress bar slowly moving left to right, revealing that we're about 80% loaded. Once we're there, we'll inhabit no more than moments, just like we always have here.

I'm the guy who was never certain what was happening around him.
Give me a little cogitation time and I might feel as though I know, but not that I ever actually knew in any moment. My most memorable moments appear later, after I finally make sense of whatever had happened. I perennially run a little late even when I arrive early. I'm usually still struggling to orient myself when the meeting's already over. I stumble away from most, often remembering something I had intended to introduce there, but too late already. I initiate terrific conversations with myself in the elevator heading back down to street level, where I'll very likely stumble and probably first head in some opposite direction from what I'd intended, inhabiting at least two simultaneous time slices, the recent now, by then already a then, and the current now, which makes almost no sense to me right then, but might later.

Those enjoying the more transcendent symptoms of Marin County Poisoning exhort me to Live In The Moment, a suggestion that quite honestly makes absolutely no sense to me. I'm reasonably certain that I've never once accomplished that, but then if you'll give me a few minutes, I might in retrospect realize that I might have actually been doing it without, in that moment, recognizing that I was doing that, which likely means that I really wasn't. Given how genetics works, I suspect that I'm distantly related to at least twenty percent of the people in this world, maybe a few fewer and perhaps a few more. I do not very often recognize any of them as long-lost cousins because I hold no confirmation algorithm. I just can't verify. I might imagine, but I probably won't. I'm generally too distracted trying to figure out what just happened to recognize any moment or distant cousin in what passes for real time. My experience might not be unique to me. I figure that Living In The Moment amounts to a koan, a purposefully confounding concept intended to jangle awareness. It might be that awareness in any moment is probably an illusion, just like the rest of existence.

In horror movies, the doomed scream just before the alien gets 'em, as if they were hyper-experiencing that moment, their last. But perhaps they're envisioning the next moment or the ones after that, or reliving their whole life in that instant, and not fully experiencing that thin transitory edge they'd soon no longer be inhabiting. A second later, the probe skewers them and, after lingering a scant few seconds on the gaping wound, the camera moves on to other moments without an ounce of further reflection or remorse. They didn't call them flicker pictures for nothing. My experience flickers, too, inertia apparently pulling me through from frame to frame, the bulk of my catalogue invested in memory now and my reflective powers grown enormously. I spend nearly every moment in distracted reflection or equally distracted projection, if reflection or projection in any moment really qualifies as a distraction. Moments pass like wheat kernels rushing out of an auger end, each individual no more than a blur. I find bread more satisfying, for its something utilizing the remnants of a million moments to produce a more lasting impression, but even toast, wheat's distant cousin, seems about 80% reflection, 10% anticipation, with the bulk left over for momentary appreciation which I'll experience if I'm not distracting myself from that sublime moment by reading the paper. I swear I live unconscious, Nowish at best.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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