Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Past, present, and future

I have made mistakes in my life as has everyone, its just part of life; big, small, life changing, and insignificant. The past is the part of the book that's been written. We often dream of what if it happened differently? How would my life be different now? Or would it be? Is fate attached to our decisions or does free will guide us, or is it a bit of both? A sort of Dungeons and Dragons type of existence. However life works, the fact is that the past cannot be changed; it just is. In fact, it is no more. So why does it haunt us like a creaky knee from a high school football injury? I guess human nature warns us to think again before going into the poison ivy patch; we remember our past scars with searing brutality sometimes. Sometimes these scars are ever present reminding us of that mistake, that pain, that wrong decision.

The present rolls through us like waves at the beach; sometimes so serene and calm, sometimes severe and deadly. The reality is that this is the part of the equation that is inescapable; it is who we are in the moment, not in the previous moment or the next one. Watching my son and daughter romp in their little pool, with the sun looking and the wind kissing my lips, that was my beautiful present, until it quickly and predictably slipped into the past.

The future is full of expectation, hope, fear, and uncertainty. It is sometimes the place that we live because the present and/or past are somewhat undesirable. Or it is the place that we fear because the present and the past are/were so serene, and we don't want it to change.

All I really know is this--in this present moment I am good at being a Dad, a husband and a friend. I am a decent teacher, writer and artist. I am healthy, but my joints are aging quickly. I am good with stress. I am good at having grand ideas, but not following through on all. I rely on the hope that everything will just work our as long as I'm a good person and a hard worker. I am naive to how to proceed in certain situations, and brilliant in others. I'm 32 years old and in some respects I feel my life is over, and in some respects I feel my life has just begun.

Again I've become the Rambling Madman. To wrap up, I can't apologize for my past mistakes anymore, both to myself and to others, it is what it is and cannot be changed. I feel confident in the present, confident that I will not repeat those mistakes, confident in the love of the people in my life, and I am hopeful that the future will bring great and wonderful things to myself and the people that I love the most.

Monday, June 22, 2009


What is tension? The simplest thought I have about tension is the rubber-band. Not a very hot topic of conversation or center point of a novel, but the simply, lowly rubber band can explain alot. Rubber bans can be strong, weak, resilient, and dry out; but if enough tension is added to that wonderful band of rubber it, of course, breaks.

Sometimes you can feel the tension in the air; like an invisible force that everyone in a certain area is affected by; blood-pressure up, adrenaline pumping, senses alert. Tension; what will the outcome be? Will the band break or hold?

I remember the day after 9/11 I was driving close to my apartment and another car cut me off. I honked, gave a middle finger, and yelled some expletives. The other driver got out of his car. I got out of mine. Tension. We cursed at each other and then stared each other down, like gunslingers. The tension eased. We both got back in our cars, hearts pounding and drove off.

This past Father's day I was driving my family to dinner when we stopped at a light. I was simply having a conversation with my wife and the kids were sleeping in the back seat. No tension. I looked over at the lane next to me and saw two men get out of their cars and walk towards each other threateningly. Tension. I rolled down the window instantly stung by a stream of curses and, yes, tension. I said "Guys, relax!! Its Fathers Day, you don't want to fight on Fathers Day!"--no reaction, the tension was rising. I tried to quell the situation again, but to no avail. Chests started bumping. Tension was almost at it's climax. I quickly put the car in park and leaped out of the car, forcing my way in between the two men. Tension say "What do I do?" I push the men apart and look into both of their eyes "Guys" I say in a soft tone, "Its Fathers day, relax." The rubber band relaxes with a sigh. The men don't utter a word, they just give me a tired frown and walk to their respective cars. Tension-0, Madman-1. I climbed back into my car and continued the journey.

Tension can be hidden in a glance or a whisper, it can glide across a warm breeze or a snowflake. Tension can be as clear as the nose on your face and as plain as a crinkled brow. It can punch you in the face or cut through you like a well thought out insult.

Two rams jousting, two sharks circling, its out there. How do we deal with it? How do we resolve it? It is part of us, it spurs us, it is part of Darwin's survival of the fittest. Just a thought. So next time you pick up the little piece of rubber I hope it has some extra special meaning to you.