Tag Archives: narrator

Keep Your Eyes on the Driver

you can tell a lot about a person just by taking a short drive with them. are they safe? do they take risks? are those risks calculated? do they ask you if you are hot/cold? or do they automatically turn the music down/change the station for you (because they’re embarrassed). when you’re cold, are they sweating because they turned the temperature up to make you happy? do they sing along? do they just focus on the road, or do they turn away from the windshield to look you in the eye? do they take the time to notice the sights and sounds? or are they distracted and text while drifting into another lane, and only correcting suddenly when you bring it to their attention? It doesn’t take long to notice that we’re not talking about driving anymore. That much is clear.

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Goodbye

Two people lived on a small man-made island just off the shore of the mainland. These two residents were not the only people on this island, but they lived alone. The residents were both on a schedule, both lived through their days as a series of habits, and were both looking for love (trust me. I’m an omniscient narrator). They both worked hard and found comfort in a solid routine as the foundation for a ‘good life,’ and thus were both bound by their schedules — “imprisoned” might be a better word.

A unique feature of this island is that it was a perfect circle with a sidewalk that hugged the perimeter. There were twelve equally spaced streets radiating from a where a big clock tower stood in the heart of the town. You could keep track of the time from almost anywhere on the island, as our two residents would frequently do.

You see, even time is man-made. Not the concept of time, but how we choose to restrict ourselves with it. Seconds. Hours. Years — don’t tell me nothing lasts forever. I don’t want to hear it.

Every morning these two residents would wake up at the same time, step onto the same sidewalk, turn right, and walk clockwise until they came back to where they started. Their schedules wove together like two gears — however, they lived on opposite sides of the island and always walked clockwise at the same time. What these two residents didn’t realize, and would never come to realize, is that this ordinary, scheduled walk was so precise, so routine, and so expected, that the absence of anticipation surrounding it drew about as much attention to the walk as you will give to your next breath, which is extraordinary. Extraordinarily dull.

It is still unclear to me, the omniscient narrator, whether the two residents scheduled to walk each morning, or whether they walked because the schedule told them to. Of course, the residents think to be in complete control, and that is why they stick to the schedule — the sense of order and control — but from the outside looking in, it seems as if control was simply an illusion created by the predictability of a clock.

When you do something so much, you don’t even know what you’re missing anymore; you just assume it’s not there.

Our two residents would wake up every day, go on their clockwise walk, and eventually fall asleep in the same bed they woke up in, and repeated this controlled, scheduled, living habit for so many days that the memories of the past years of this routine congealed into one solitary memory. One day, one of the residents noticed they looked older, felt older, and consequently tried to recall how that happened, but could only come to the conclusion that “time flies.” It was at this time, I, the omniscient narrator, decided this resident decided to go for a walk that morning. The same walk as always, but upon this day this resident choose to walk counterclockwise as a gesture of change, as a way to motivate this resident to start breaking the very routine that this resident had resided in for so long.

It was free. It was clear. It was new. Surely memories would be made on this day as the two residents approached each other around the bend of the man-made island. They were destined to meet. As their paths crossed, they greeted each other with a congenial smile accompanied by a neighborly “hello,” and kept on walking down the path without breaking stride, or their respective schedules. A whole history of new possibilities came into existence on that unclockwise walk, and then disappeared as simply as the path on which they walked curved out of sight around the island, and disappeared without the memory of even saying ‘goodbye.’

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