Mind-Jaunts on the Second Day of the Two Thousand Twentieth Year

Every day is an anomaly. A mistake. An error awaiting correction. An aberration requiring repair and embarrassed explanation. A deviant eccentricity causing constant adjustments to the concept of normal.

There is no normal. Normal is a fantasy based in delusion. Normal is a reverie clothed in a fabric woven from rainbows, daydreams, clouds, and fine dust from a long-extinct volcano. Normal is a weird hallucination, a pretense toward typical, which exists only in minds twisted to believe in the ordinary. Ordinary is a state that cannot occur when life is so utterly unpredictable, as it always is.

At any moment, it is possible I may decide to radically change my life, and then act on that decision. I may become a vegetable farmer whose “farm” consists of a horse-drawn cart filled with soil in which I plant my crops. I might coax the horse that pulls my cart to take me to the Mississippi delta, where I could siphon water from the Gathering of Waters to quench the thirst of the cucumbers and squash and tomatoes and okra that reside in my cart. There, I could decide to make vegetarian tamales, hawking them as cures to the moral and intellectual maladies of the twenty-first century.

I could break into the homes of wealthy descendants of plantation owners, hoping to avoid armed guards whose only jobs are to keep wealth out of the hands of the undeserving poor. I might decide to become a modern-day Robin Hood, fashioning my persona after my own interpretations of Greek gods that never existed, but should have.  I might leave gifts of tamales for those pillars of wealth and enemies of charity, confusing them with concepts of philanthropy unfamiliar to them. But in return for those gifts, I would take food and clothing and deeds to properties they never intended to share with anyone but the progeny they considered the rightful heirs to their modern-day thrones.

Ah, it’s all magical thinking, I know, but that’s what makes daydreams and fantasies and wishful pondering so appealing. In our dreams, we can have absolute control over matters beyond even modest influence in the real world. Our fantasies can set us apart from the grinding realities of finding enough food and water to make it through another day. Fantasy. I wonder if the roots of fantasy are, indeed, hinged to a deep desire to exercise control over the uncontrollable? I believe they are. We dream because reality is too coarse and harsh and painful without something to ease the anguish.

I like the idea of slicing through the tether that binds me to a place. One one hand, there’s comfort in the familiar, the dependable, the reliably constant. But there’s stagnation attached to that invisible rope, too. Arms and legs and brain get stiff; they calcify and begin to look and feel like barnacles attached to ancient fishing piers. They ache to be free, almost an impossibility; the attachments are primitive and permanent, curable only through amputation or amnesia.

Decisions have consequences, many of them unintended, unanticipated, unpleasant, and unhappy. Yet they can have happy repercussions, as well. When we make decisions, we weigh the pros and cons of our options and select the one we think best. But it’s rarely the best decision; it’s only different from the others we might have made.

A decision to become an itinerant vegetable farmer is no better nor worse than a decision to procrastinate about making a life-altering decision. Yet procrastination can be life-altering, as well. Consequences, or the lack thereof, are stitched together in a quilt that looks and feels like it was woven from apologies and fear. That’s what drives us, sometimes. Fear. And regret. And attempts to repair the damage done by decisions; or the failure to make them.

If I had all the time in the world and no responsibilities to fulfill, I might make an avocation out of learning all there is to know about the ancient Greek and Roman gods. Apollo, Cronus, Zeus, Hades, Heracles, Morpheus, Eros, Glaucus, Triton, Pan, Uranus. Gad, there are so many! I admire the ancient minds that created those magical powers in magical forms. I could spend time creating my own stable of gods. I could conjure my own religion and seek followers who would buy into understand the concept. No, I really don’t want to delude even the extremely gullible. I find that offensive in the extreme. People should not manipulate others in such crass ways, the way modern-day evangelical preachers convince their adherents to believe utter nonsense (and to give them money in return for being duped).

Oh, hell, now I’ve gone and done it. I broke the magical spell that was propelling my early-morning fantasies. I’ve let anger with con-men interrupt my reverie.

Wow, I think this is one of the longer pieces of semi-incoherent stream-of-consciousness drivel I’ve written since starting my break from the blog. I could have just adapted one of the shorter pieces I wrote during my hiatus; but, no, I had to launch into a mind-bender. Maybe I needed that. Maybe I just wanted it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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