no future

the heartbeat of the time lord goes rat-a-tat-tat, four by four: the drumming, the endless drumming. so too have i noticed fours creeping into my timeline. four days between each itch telling me that it’s time to up and put something on the internet again. four days between tinnitus episodes. four days in september. three has cornered the market for too long.
the idea has been kicking around my head for a little bit that if you meet me once, you might never meet that version of me again. imagine: two people meet and fall in love in one breathless weekend abroad, and when one finally comes to visit it is awkward and the whole thing seems a terrible mistake. meeting people once is dubious. first impressions are such strange psychological imprints: they can be overwritten, but why do they exist in the first place? come on science, gimme something.
so too are things never settled until you ship them to the publishers, or hit send, or whatever. consider: you don’t think what you’re doing in this moment is important, or at least, there isn’t a lot of weight on it. quite right. tangent over to consider how much you look down upon yourself in the past; the things you said to that girl, the small decision you made that no one else saw. only you knew what it meant. i often feel a strange disconnect with my past selves, but at the time it was hopefully the best i could muster. it is worth keeping in mind that in the future this moment is also history (if future me is reading this, hello).
it feels uncharitable to take such a critical view. much of my life has been spent giving undue concern to future-present times, attempts to act accordingly to arrive at predetermined goals. consider the analogy of the man at the end of his life. when he looks back does he see the events of his life as inevitable, or does he see how things could have been different save for all the small particulars? i think of that beautiful quote from douglas adams: i may not have gone where i intended to go, but i think i have ended up where i needed to be.
it is easy to look at the past as a fixed thing, as if the things we see always were and would always have been just so, as if their hardened, finished forms existed from the beginning. this is the view that you get from outside. but ask anyone who has every made something big and unwieldy – or better yet, make something like that yourself – and discover how uncertain every step of it was, how different it ended up, how it was anything but solid. it was more like a jar of chemicals that could have combined in any number of ways, maybe exploded, maybe sat there still and lifeless. but they were loose and fluid and could just have easily never have existed. if we’d met at a different time, so would we have been different people. history books cast everything in stone, but that does history a disservice.
over and over in my notes it has been popping up: no future, no future, no future. it sounds like the nihilistic scribblings of a young john connor in the second film, but it means something different to me. to me it means don’t think about the future, think about where you are. do something clever, or do something fun, but do it right now. you can’t do the future.


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