Unstuck In Time

The other night I was becalmed in what I think of as American Stupor: lying on the couch, watching the television.

The series I was watching was unreeling a show, set many years ago, at Christmas. And I thought, “right, Christmas. We’ll be having that here soon.”

For, in my mind, I believed I was timeinhabiting that time and space that is the resting-on-one’s-oars period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving, I knew, had passed. But Christmas was still to come.

This was my Reality. Until nearly the show was over. When suddenly I recalled: no, we have already had Christmas. It passed more than three weeks ago.

And I then realized: I had become unstuck in time.

Billy Pilgrim famously became unstuck in time in Dr. Kurt Vonnegut’s true-life non-fiction anthropological accounting Slaughterhouse-Five.

There, Mr. Pilgrim, he went through life, oscillating to and fro, from the moment of his birth, to the moment of his death, and unto every moment in between. He traveled, bouncing, bob-bob-bobbing along, from here to there to everywhere. And back again.

It was hypothesized that Mr. Pilgrim had become unstuck in time because of his experience in the German meat-locker dubbed Slaughterhouse-Five, wherein he survived the fire-bombing of Dresden. Such a horror, this, that it catapulted his being beyond the “normal” boundaries of space and time.

As I lay there, in my American Stupor, not really sure where or when I was, I understood that I had maybe become unmoored from space and time because of my experience with SlaughterhouseHebdo. Which I had opened spacemy being to be. Because sometimes I do that. Against all sense. Because it is Right.

Part of me, for sure, knew there had already been Christmas.

But, really, another part said, how could I be sure? I mean, the Christmas tree—can’t be denied—is still out there in the front room. I “thought” it was because the cats had not yet come to a final conclusion as to which ornaments were but ornaments, rather than cat toys. But maybe it was up there because really Christmas hadn’t come yet. How should I know? Would I know? Could I know?

Right this moment the kitten is out there playing the piano. Not just walking across the keys, but playing the piano. He is making a melody. Next, I suppose, he’ll sing. Why not? Nothing is stopping that, except a belief that it can’t happen.

I am now and forever eschewing all that. Any and all “can’ts.” For I am unstuck in time. And in space.

Anything can happen. And therefore it will.

So let it be written. So let it redone.

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When I Worked

January 2015

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