I rub my face and rub my eyes and before me stands the physical incarnation of the Future, in both hideous and gorgeous, shape-shifting forms that frankly freak me out. My eyeballs stare and I scratch my chin while struggling to figure out if it’s real, or a ghost, or maybe just a misfiring neuron in my brain. Like a part of my cerebral circuitry has crossed wires with another part of my being, the heart, or my stomach, or something simple like a fingernail, and now it can’t decipher the code. I can’t compute what I’m seeing, or what I’m feeling, nothing.
I can’t make sense of the words, floating like blown dandelions over my head, and I certainly don’t know what to say in return. I can’t turn on the television and discern if the faces I see on it are being sincere, or laughing at us behind perfect smiles. I can’t keep up with the Modern World. There’s just too much of everything.
I can’t swim in holy water so don’t drown me in your dead sea scrolls.
I’ve been thinking lately.
What’s the one ritual you can’t do without?
Mine’s falling in love and then parting with my sacrificial heart. Letting them cut it out of my flesh and use it in their ceremonies. There are volcanoes especially for mine. Big, loud, belching beasts. There are chiefs with arms like Fernando throwing my bleeding, pointless heart 100 yards into the fiery abyss. It’s quite a fireworks show.
The Future is now holding some kind of baseball in her hand and threatening to throw it at a window. I somewhat recognize the image but can’t really place from where it’s so familiar. Then it slowly dissolves into a mirror and I’m so utterly bored I get up and open the window and dangle together paper clips until the chain reaches the ground and I escape. Behind me I hear the glass shatter and see the baseball rolling on the lawn. There’s writing on it and I feel the urge to find out what it says but instead I keep walking while the Future sits in the window yelling epithets at me, in the form of a grouchy old man. I turn around and the Future is a bewitching blond waving her hand and smiling so beautifully I start to run as fast as I can.
The sun is sinking and is right in my eyes. The road is busy with trucks hauling lumber and other once-live things out of the forests. I’m heading west for no better reason than that it’ll eventually lead into the sea. I want to swim out to the kelp and the currents and see where giving up gets me. I want to explore the vast depths and see what undiscovered creatures I can make my friends. I’m not sure I want to keep company with humans anymore, perhaps the winged things in the trees will make better companions. I’m so lost it’s past the point of being found.
Technology makes my confusion possible. The Message is the Medium but I have no idea what the medium is anymore. I get a Facebook Friend Request and automatically click Ignore. I have no time for the virtual anymore. I put my hands together in the shape of a mangled prayer and notice that one finger is bent and swollen; I don’t remember ever breaking it but by the looks of it I must have smashed it in a garbage compactor or something. It doesn’t matter, it’s just flesh.
The sun is falling fast. I have a long ways to walk to reach the sea. The Future is following behind me riding on a stack of lumber, the driver smoking a giant cigar that smells like cinnamon. They blow by me and scatter leaves across the median like a small tornado whipped them up. The phone in my pocket buzzes. It reminds me that time is precious, the soul is infinite, and people are always after you for one thing or another. I grab it and chuck it into the forest.
Where should I go? What is the score to the baseball game? How should I make meaning out of my life? What should I change my status update to?
It’s hard to keep my thoughts in their proper storage bins. I told you, my wires are crossed. Everything is a blur. I think I’m suffering from informational overload. Too many connections has made my brain shut down. Walking the long road. Chased by the Future. Plugged in and fully exposed. Falling over from the slightest whisper. The days add up. The mathematical equations, the big ones, hold too many variables to ever answer. The mind is a machine, mine is shutting down. Nothing seems to compute. How do I simplify the variables down to one? The important one.
The road, the sea, and my 3-pound brain.
(The other stuff is just static interference.)