Sunday, September 26, 2010
It was ideal apple-eating weather; the whitest sunlight descended from the purest sky, and an easterly wind rustled, without ripping loose, the last of the leaves on the Chinese elms. (Truman Capote, In Cold Blood).
I've been thinking about something lately.
You're on an airplane, sleeping with your head against the window, your heart set on being home this time three hours from now. All of a sudden, something goes very wrong. The plane stops moving across the air and instead starts falling through it. The lights are flickering and the movie is skipping. The plane dips hundreds of feet in seconds, and the yellow cups fall from the ceiling. They're a brighter shade of yellow than you remember, because unlike the demonstration, these cups have never been handled before. "Flight attendants take your seats now", you hear, the pilot's voice trembling over a cacophony of alert tones. You get that smell in the bridge of your nose like you've just been hit with a football. That's what the fear smells like. The plane is going down.
Four more drastic drops in under a minute. People are crying. For all the folklore about how your life flashes before your eyes, you're remarkably fixed on one vision - your parents. They're sleeping at this very moment, in a bedroom so quiet they can hear the clock in the kitchen. And you can see them, clear as can be. You wish you could see a playground or a first kiss, but all you can see is your parents sleeping. Huh. Well, that's that.
Several long minutes go by. Then, all at once, the lights come back on and the plane somehow rights itself. Some people cheer, but most people cry harder. The plane lands about an hour later, and as soon as you feel that touch down - hell, even when you were within 50 feet of the ground and could still technically survive a fall - you realize that however you brokered the deal between you and God worked; you've just been granted life in overtime.
Here's the question: what do you change? Whom do you call that you haven't spoken to in years? Whom do you realize has been toxic to your heart and drop with surprising ease? What trips do you cancel, and what trips do you book? What can't you be bothered with anymore? What's the new you like?
Think about that, and then ask one more question. Why not just change it all right now?
(Working on it...)