Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Looking in the rearview mirror

I remember my father teaching me to drive. It was in the field behind Shaker Pond.
"Look, Kim, there's a bear!"
My head spun in every direction.
"Behind you!"
I turned to look and my foot fell heavily on the gas pedal. And suddenly the car was a wild beast, snarling and roaring toward the lake with me a helpless passenger watching disaster unfold.

There was no bear.
It was a lesson. Use the rear view mirror.
It's not something that comes naturally to anyone learning to drive especially teenage boys but as I pack for this trip, I notice something different. I am torn.
Years ago, I traveled to Italy, to Perugia, to study Italian and generally to have a good time. I know time is a funny lens that distorts and re-distorts the facts with each recollection but I can't for the life of me remember feeling torn between what I was going to do and what I would leave behind. I looked ahead. The rear view mirror? Like the quote from "Gumball Rally" goes; "What is behind you, does not matter!"

But there is Catherine, and Chloe, and Marcus, and the way the sun shines through the windowpane on a quiet Sunday morning at home.
It could not be further away. At this time it is the exact opposite time, there. It is the antipode to here. It is definitely, there.

But the world is smaller, now.
But, I got a funky green, "War of the Worlds" webcam at Kmart for ten bucks and downloaded Skype. I didn't know anyone on Skype. But, yes I did. I called my sister. Nothing. I forgot about it. Muli-tasking is not my strong point.

"Hey, Kim!"
Why was my computer yelling at me? How did it know my name and why did it sound so much like my brother-in-law?
"It's me, Doug!"
"Hi, Doug," I said. "What are you doing in my Mac?"
We talked for a while. He put my sister on. My wife joined in and there we were, all Skyping away like we had always done it.

A rear view mirror.

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