“Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus





That's Just Nuts

The Present Tense

On Amtrak there’s a man, a young man, and in my fiction-making mind he’s talking to me. In reality he’s sitting one row behind me, he’s talking to the lady next to him. I’m just eavesdropping.

Which doesn’t change his story one bit.

Which is how his brother is working for Intel in Portland. Which is how his other brother is studying to be an Engineer at U Dub. Which is that he himself doesn’t know what he wants to do yet with his life, but that he feels as though it’s up to him, that he can choose, that he will choose.

The world is opening before him. As it tends to do when we keep our snouts above water.

Did I mention that he is African-American? That I can tell this by how he speaks? Deep voice, a certain musical intonation. Does it matter? Do we care?

The tension, the fear, the loathing for sale on the nightly news? That is the past tense appealing to your future tense: Dive deep. Drown yourself. You know you want to.

Meanwhile in the real world, the world of the present, seven billion voices saying the same thing: Keep your head above water. Breathe damn it. Change the world, cure cancer, rob a bank or join a protest movement, but whatever you do, keep breathing!

The train is going where the train is going. The young man behind me has a deep, musical voice. He’s saying Occupy Yourself. Occupy Yourself.