All I want to talk about today is TIME. The way it works and the way it doesn't. The way it slows to a trickle and then comes at you hard like some kid figured out how to get into the hydrant. Today is a pretty important day because my firstborn is twelve, and that feels real old. Feels like I've never not been a parent at this point. I know I used to be a social deviant, but now I'm all Dadded up - can barely remember it.
It's fantastic. It's also intense. It's been many years since people were excited about my parenthood. No more, "how is it being a parent?" with excited smiles. No one mentions it any more, like you're so deep in it no one wants to address it because it could be awful, could be so hard, could be leading to a divorce. Thing is, it's amazing. Every second of it is so fascinating I can't look away. My family is tighter than a championship team. We're firing on all cylinders, and we coat everything in laughter.
Sure, we get mad. We cry and we get frustrated because that's what people do. More likely, we're telling stories or singing or building something together, even if it is made of imagination. My daughter likes to be all: "Tell me about when you were a kid!" and I want to say: "Screw that boring nonsense, tell me how it is for you being a kid right now!" So, then we tell stories.
I can't imagine motherhood making me love my wife any less. We're definitely better as parents than we were as "adults." We don't adult that well, but there is a surprising lack of adulting required for raising kids. Much more important to have empathy and some creativity. Anyway, my wife was wonderful when I married her, and the kids shine a spotlight on the best parts of both of us. Maybe I never grew up. Maybe I hope my kids never grow up either. So it goes. I don't care what you think.
Time does go by fast. It's true. So, I'm going to keep slowing it down. Breaking it into pieces and stepping back to see how the light reflects off the shards. You can go ahead and keep thinking years in the future, America. I'm gonna think about today, today.
I think that our families can be the one thing that makes all of this make sense. Not the shit that happens outside our own close community but the bonds it creates between us. You're definitely blessed, Dan, and this rings out so loud in what you've written here. This is a wonderful piece of writing, however we choose to read it.ReplyDelete
The lawless lived in a selective anarchy, only obeying the most basic of rules. They could kill, maim, and steal whenever they liked, but only from one another. They weren’t permitted to travel either, most of them living their whole lives within their reservations. And they could never aspire to improve themselves, the governors stamping down heavily on anyone who showed the least sign of ambition. But other than this, they were happy, living in their own communities, kept remote from the business of the world. It was as it had always been, and it always would be, at least until there were too few of them to make a difference.ReplyDelete
Life on the reservations was idyllic; that was the public perception. There was no need for anyone to work, they had everything they needed, they could immerse themselves in the offerings of the public media stations twenty-four hours a day. Admittedly, the sterilisation of every one of their women was a severe price to pay but the benefits of this solitary decision ensured that they’d be able to live in comparative luxury for the rest of their allotted number of days.
In reality: it was much different. The lack of any policing made sure of that. The media-casts made a sport of it, their presenters trumpeting the death statistics every day, the governor-in-chief rewarding the sociopath with the highest tally attributed to his name. And as for the lack of viable females – there was no effect of number of sexual encounters. At least none that were ever recorded in the non-existent police incident files.
Governor Grant looked down from the monitor, the all-seeing eye above it glowing blue. “It’s been another record day of production,” he boasted, his jowls resting on his chest. “And the bureau of advancement has developed yet another improvement to the algorithm to download to them soon, so who knows what they’ll be capable within the next few weeks. We should all be so proud of our programmers. They’re the unseen soldiers in the front-line of our battle against want.” He patted the head of his bulldog, the one we all knew was called Winston. It was sitting on the couch beside him, its ugly face wreathed in rolls of fat. It was rumoured that it had once been a child of his which been born wrong.
“And now, one last thing,” the governor added. “Today’s also the day our community’s head-count dropped below twenty thousand. Whatever it is that everyone’s doing, do it more. You’re making a difference, adding to the resources we can all enjoy. A little can be a lot if it’s shared between fewer people.” He nodded and patted his dog again, eliciting a woof of approval. “Do it more and then do it again and do it for your country.”
There are a few glitches in this, but since I can't delete this it'll have to do. You'll still get the idea, I guess.ReplyDelete
This wall was still strong in my memories. Long ago, it had been one of the few barriers to resist the walkers, scores of them tumbling over it as they ringed us on every side. We’d used riflemen and napalm to try to slow them then, watching out for them as they came in the night.ReplyDelete
We were ten thousand strong when it began. We’d all become runners, people who’d seen the damage the undead would bring, stumbling empty-headed into our lives. We’d already lost most of the things we’d once thought precious, discarding the indulgences we’d spent years of our lives amassing.
Was it small? Was it light? Was it useful? Was it something we could easily do without? These were the questions we’d all begun to ask, weighing our wants against our needs, simplifying our decisions.
But the walkers kept walking. I don’t know what it was that drew them to us, but they seemed supernatural, homing in onto our community as we ran. If only we’d known then about the spores, we might have fought better, eliminating them and then burying their remains, locking them away somewhere where they could no longer affect the survivors. Our barriers and walls wouldn’t be enough: if only we’d been better prepared.
We should have run faster, further and for longer. We should have worn the masks we’d made. We should have paid more attention to the invisible, instead of making the same mistakes that the Martians did that first time.