Midwest, no specific location. Motel on the side of the road, someplace where Route 66 might have gone through, but got superceded by The Interstate Highway. Instead of a two lane highway, it got the choice placement of being right next to a highway turnoff.
Early hours (3-4AM). Sunrise is still a good hour or so away. Even with at this location, nothing is really moving. Quiet. Seems like the highway is asleep, just getting ready for the next work shift.
In a room. Nothing unpacked. Double beds with a clean bathroom. Little decoration, at least the ones that could distinguish one room from another. I’m lying on a bed, writing pad open but haven’t written anything for about two hours. Laptop open, no files open.
Changed positions in the bed, head facing the TV, remote control ready. Flip through the analog channels, then the digital. Evangelists/Salespeople working hard tonight. Gotta get their quota. Pitchmen are working hard too. Here, everything is for the buying, even if you don’t need it.
[Start of background/scene music – Beth Orton’s “Don’t Need a Reason” from Trailer Park]
Picked up a pen.
If things had happen on course and on plan, I should have been writing this blog entry in a hotel room in Vancouver, Canada. 2011 was the year that I did so many things and traveled to so many places. It was also the year that I found how little it was in an instant.
Historically, second year in every decade has always been the toughest for me, personally and otherwise. By November, I thought that I had escaped “the curse.”
Then, a family member underwent surgery, removing a tumor from the colon. Thankfully, it was beign and little of the large intestine had to be taken out. She is recovering nicely and running around again. She is thankful to the Creator because it could have been worse. I am not so religious but I am just as thankful.
But I’ve spent the remainder of the year having something I don’t have much need for: regrets. Just the “what if’s” and the “what would happen if’s.” I’ve done so much, only to realized that maybe I’ve done so little. In the middle of all this, I tweeted “Human beings are such fragile little creatures.”
Yes, we are fragile creatures. We are these small, flimsy, little things, easily overwhelmed by a virus or a predator or an ice cream truck. Yet we do what we do. Living without much though of what might happen next minute, next hour, or even next decade.
Carl Sagan had a quote from one of his books about human beings being capable of such wonderful dreams and horrible nightmares. One day, my world went from global to the size of a hospital room. And in some ways, it became even smaller, to the size of my own frame.
In all this, I found out that I am the most fragile of all creatures.
If form holds, this will be the worst of it this decade. Which means 2012 could be a big year and it looks like it could be one of the biggest years, work and personal. However, I have lots of questions. I’m a problem solver with the type of questions that can’t be solved with pen and paper. Not with the simple equation. Certainly, not with the wave of the magic wand I once had.
A friend told me during this tough time to take everything one moment at a time. I could say that I readily took his advice. But I can’t lie. I’m the child of the five-year plan. And when that didn’t work, I reworked it and call it the next five year plan and so on. This time, I have nothing. At the point where I could have some of my greatest success, I have no plan and nothing to adjust. I was the Russian who had the plan for everything. Now, I am just a human being.
Well, on New Year’s Eve, I’m here. At home. Not alone. With family and friends nearby. If there was one question that was solved, it was the quality of friends I have – better than I could have imagined.
So, 2011 ends. 2012 start tomorrow.
[End of movie scene:]
Finish the scribbles and close the pad.
In an instant, I’m in motion. Clean up a bit, collect my things, and turn off the TV. Step out and close the door. Quietly, as if a single squeak from the joints could shatter the windows.
Get in the car. Don’t worry about waking anyone up. If they were awake, nothing you need to know about. Still quiet on the highway overpass. The only light sources are those from the highway and from the restaurants. It’s an alien world, as if the aliens took the 1960’s American tourists as a starting point and went from there.
Close the door, twist the key, rev the motor. Then, just step on the gas and move. Not fast (who’s going to notice), just keeping the car in motion. A minute, I’m off tarmac and on asphalt, moving down the road. Passing the lights and signs, quietly without fanfare, slowly passing everything. Soon, I’m away from the light source, like a satellite heading for deep space.
I pointed the car down the road, away from the highway, No signs. Just two yellow lines. If I’m lucky, I will get some direction from the sunrise.
I’m going somewhere.
[Last notes of the song fading out as the car fades into the dwindling night.]