Missing Pages in the Story of the World

 

It’s a strange feeling – if you stop to think about it – knowing that you’re going to wake up in the future.

A million billion things will have happened while you passed the time horizontal, mind cryogenically frozen by the combination of dopamine and exhaustion, dreamily oblivious to the dramas and comedies passing by in the world at large.

It’s almost as if every time you go to sleep you’re missing a big part of the plot in the greatest story ever written, and though you can catch up with the plotline later, it’s not the same experiencing it on the Today show the next morning.

It’s like those US citizens who were in comas during 9/11. The world they woke up to was a drastically changed planet, and though they heard about what happened, because they weren’t conscious during the event itself, they don’t have that shared history and will forever be just a step out of sync with the rest of the post-9/11 world.

I get that feeling every time I go to sleep; wondering what plot twists I’m sacrificing for my nightly dose of Z’s.

Skipping a Chapter

I’m on a flight between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

That feeling I just talked about? I’ve got it, but times 100. The lights in the plane have been extinguished, my fellow passengers have become darkness-enshrouded lumps up and down the aisles, like terra-cotta soldiers waiting for their chance to fight (or in this case, watch more in-flight movies).

I know that just as soon as I join their ranks I’ll wake up, moderately refreshed, contact lenses a bit dry, mere hours away from a continent I’ve never set foot on. The people there will speak my language, but the culture will be different, the customs will be unfamiliar and I’ll be in a strange place again after several weeks of familiarity, visiting with friends, family and clients in the US.

There’s an anticipation, of course, but there’s also a certain hesitation that I haven’t felt since I started the Exile Lifestyle project. It’s not that I’m regretting leaving, or even dreading my time in Oceania (the opposite, actually).

No, what I’m really missing is the transition. Getting to see how it all comes together. As a big-picture person, I like to know how all the moving pieces work, what goes on behind the scenes and how everything got to be the way it is.

I like to know the WHOLE story, bar-none, otherwise I drive myself crazy trying to fill in all the missing pieces.

This is part of why I prefer buses, trains or cars to planes when going someplace new – I get to watch the geography, people and climate change as I pass through space. Not so on a plane…on a plane I get to watch Ben Hur and select music videos.

Looking Back from the Future

I imagine it’s something like traveling into the future. I’m pretty sure that the first thing I would ask for after stepping out of a time machine would be a detailed history of what happened in the time between where I came from and where I ended up. It seems like in stories where this kind of thing takes place, it’s what the protagonist doesn’t know about what happened in that interim that gets them into trouble, and frankly that’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.

So as I sit here drifting, ruminating about consciousness as I lose mine, I can’t help but wonder over the fact that there are so many people who live in the present but still know nothing about how their present came to be.

I’m not talking about Mesopotamia or the Ancient Greeks or anything like that, I’m talking about even their own personal history. How does a person change over time? What choices have led to what results? If you could change anything about your past, would you, and what would it be?

What will you do differently in the future? And will you be conscious of the consequences?

Goodnight; I’ll see you in the future.

12 comments

  1. While you were gone I cooked 6 eggs on a pan, put them on buttered toast with a slice of cheddar and fed them to children.

    I also frustratedly searched for a lost ecigarette, which was finally found on top of a door’s framing, out of reach of the kids.

  2. While you were gone I cooked 6 eggs on a pan, put them on buttered toast with a slice of cheddar and fed them to children.

    I also frustratedly searched for a lost ecigarette, which was finally found on top of a door’s framing, out of reach of the kids.

  3. I had the same thoughtstream going from Melbourne > LA – except Australia is from the future so I arrived on Wednesday at 7am, the exact same time I left Melbourne… creepy! Did I miss anything?

  4. I had the same thoughtstream going from Melbourne > LA – except Australia is from the future so I arrived on Wednesday at 7am, the exact same time I left Melbourne… creepy! Did I miss anything?

  5. I often think about myself 10 years ago and wonder which were the BIG actions and occurrences that got me to where I am today. People who journal with some regularity, I imagine, would have the ability to see the subtle changes in themselves over a period of time. I wonder if your blog will help you complete the mental puzzle in five or ten years time?

  6. I often think about myself 10 years ago and wonder which were the BIG actions and occurrences that got me to where I am today. People who journal with some regularity, I imagine, would have the ability to see the subtle changes in themselves over a period of time. I wonder if your blog will help you complete the mental puzzle in five or ten years time?

  7. Every time I think about how many people there are in the world, my mind just stops and says, “Holy SHIT!” Billions of people who aren’t me but who about their lives just as much as I do about mine.

    Just watching cars go by on the highway brings thoughts of where they’re going or what dramas and events may be going on in their lives.

    It just makes me appreciative of the pages of this world I am privy to. My friends and myself.

  8. Every time I think about how many people there are in the world, my mind just stops and says, “Holy SHIT!” Billions of people who aren’t me but who about their lives just as much as I do about mine.

    Just watching cars go by on the highway brings thoughts of where they’re going or what dramas and events may be going on in their lives.

    It just makes me appreciative of the pages of this world I am privy to. My friends and myself.

  9. Seriously, wow… I’ve never thought about it on such a small scale, but you’re absolutely right.

  10. Seriously, wow… I’ve never thought about it on such a small scale, but you’re absolutely right.

  11. @Jesse: You’re a productive man, and now I know all about the delicious meal I missed out on while I was on that flight. *sob*

    @Ross: That’s the question, isn’t it! I would say yes, because time passed in the interim, but it’s more fun to think you just folded time down the middle, poked a hole in reality and jumped on through.

    @Tresna: I really hope that what I write today will help me solve some great big problem far in the future. What a great investment this would turn out to be in that case, eh?

    @Tim: Really great way of putting it. SO many stories – miniature dramas and comedies playing out whether or not anyone else is watching them – to keep up with, or even just stumble into from time to time. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” -William Shakespeare

    @Chandra: Thanks Chandra!

  12. @Jesse: You’re a productive man, and now I know all about the delicious meal I missed out on while I was on that flight. *sob*

    @Ross: That’s the question, isn’t it! I would say yes, because time passed in the interim, but it’s more fun to think you just folded time down the middle, poked a hole in reality and jumped on through.

    @Tresna: I really hope that what I write today will help me solve some great big problem far in the future. What a great investment this would turn out to be in that case, eh?

    @Tim: Really great way of putting it. SO many stories – miniature dramas and comedies playing out whether or not anyone else is watching them – to keep up with, or even just stumble into from time to time. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” -William Shakespeare

    @Chandra: Thanks Chandra!

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