The Bystander

But for the nightly comfort of the standby lights for the lonely, I should not have set pen to paper on this day. I found myself caught by the glow and drifted back to times when such things were company indeed. It was a most surreal feeling. My mind wandering some few years into the future and considering the very words which gift life to this page.

It is, admittedly, a tricky device to master, and was so as I first wrote these words. I remember the attempts to fathom the usage of future tense for a memory of the present, and straining to find the dualism necessary to capture this; of being both here and there. But which is here and which is there? The truth is that both are. Time is not linear. Yet the illusion is so powerful that it is nigh on impossible to dispell. All time exists at all times.

I laughed aloud in two different rooms. For I had been thinking the same thoughts in both times, and I realised that I had, for a few brief moments, escaped the linear. It's not even as if the words of me now and the words of me then (which is now) are fighting against each other. That may be a somewhat less difficult arrangement, but the me of now and the me of then (which is still now) have to seamlessly mesh and merge, one with the other, for fear of the linear returning. Yet I had still used the brackets as an emphasis of time and place, almost destroying the union and contradicting the very sentences of which they were a part. I considered crossing them out, but decided against it. They too tell a part of the story.

Despite my having a laptop, I always used to scribble the words into various notebooks. Not like these days, when a mere thought is rendered text in an instant, and the software knows precisely how you would be inclined to revise those draft thoughts, and amends them, even as you are thinking the initial thought. Not this time of course. The computer too believes that time is linear, it has to, and cannot cope with the duality. So I find myself once again scribbling in a notebook, just as I had done when first writing these words. But here's the problem: if a mere duality should cause such deep fathoming to be mined, then what should be the madness induced by being in all times at once. Duality is but a single step, and there are an infinite number of steps to be taken.

I remember my thoughts being disturbed by the late night returnees, and I guess I'll just have to wait until I continue tomorrow. I find that disturbing. Surely, in the future I shall be well aware of what I have written in the past, so can carry on regardless despite the present need to sleep. But the truth is, I both need to sleep. The lights go out, and the standby glows return.

© Chris Bond — 16 April 2007