These past few years have been pretty wild for me. I had the best of my college years, graduated, traveled Europe, moved 1400 miles southwest, and then moved another 1400 miles west.
Sometimes I contemplate this path. But rather than just think “How in the hell did I end up out here?” I prefer to jazz things up:
I often find myself in really weird situations. And when this happens, I like to imagine this dilemma:
I have just been instantly teleported to the present situation from 5 years ago. What would I think? What would I do? How would I put this all together?
The last great episode began on a few Saturday mornings. I was walking under a bridge, and passed by a bum. And then it hit me — “how in the world did I end up in this situation? Would would I do if I had just been shot here from 5 years ago?” The teleportation has occurred, and this is what happened:
My first thoughts involve how I’m feeling. I’m obviously older, and 25 pounds heavier. I’m craving pizza, and I feel absolutely filthy. What happened to me? Why am I walking under a bridge? What day is it? Who is this bum I’m passing? AM I A BUM?!
I look down, and see that I’m wearing some halfway decent jeans, a solid black t-shirt, and some decent shoes. Not bad. I’m probably not a bum.
I get out from under the bridge, and there are palm trees. I’m guessing I’m in Phoenix, and the morning sun is a bit hot.
I see a sign mentioning Wadsworth Civic Center. Wadsworth, OH? Are there palm trees in Ohio?
I check my pockets. I find my old familiar wallet, which is the same one since high school. A TEXAS driver’s license? I live in Austin, TX? Where the hell is that, and why did I move to Texas?
The registration date is late 2006. WHAT?! This is not good. My heart is pounding.
Looking around, this is obviously a big city with buildings in the distance. Maybe I got lost in Dallas. There is an insane amount of traffic.
I have a beard in my picture, and look like a goofball. I feel my face. Beard. I feel my hair. Still using slimy hair products. Some things never change.
I feel around my pockets and find a cell phone. It is password protected. The first few passwords do not work. I’ll play with that later.
Digging around in my wallet, there’s credit cards, insurance cards, cash, nothing special. I dig deeper and finally find my business cards. “West LA Field Engineer?” LA? That’s nuts, as of yesterday (2002) I’d never even been in California. My card says I’m a field engineer… cool, I’ve always wanted a role just like that. I’ve never heard of this company, but I have the address on my card: Hermosa Beach. I work on the beach? I am instantly happy with this job.
At this point, I’m at an impasse, and don’t know what to do. I’m from Ohio, I’m registered in Texas, and I’m working in LA. Does that make sense? What happened to my family? My friends? Why am I so far from them? I never imagined this.
Everything I need is in this Blackberry phone I’m holding. I start punching in passwords, and in about 5 more tries I have unlocked my phone. I laugh to myself, after the 4 or 5 years that it’s been, some things never change: You still have a weirdo side, and only you would know that ridiculous password.
I play with the phone for 5 minutes. My recent calls involve some interesting people – friends from high school who I lost contact with, unknown names, and my senior prom date. My parents are still in the phone with the same phone number. This makes me happy. My brother’s area code is unfamiliar, also making me happy.
Too embarrassed to call home, I play with the phone for 5 more minutes. I find a Google map program on the phone. 10 minutes of messing with this maps program and I think I know where I’m at in the world.
Taking the plunge, I finally decide to call home. I am happy to hear my mom’s familiar voice. I ask what is going on. She is concerned and cries. We talk and I hear that things were supposedly going well, I just moved here, and I must need to see a doctor badly. Hell, the least thing I remember was being at Ohio State, not in LA.
We decide that I must be looking for my car. I walk around, hitting the alarm button trying to find an Acura. After 45 minutes, I trip a car’s alarm. Outfitted with Texas plates and an Ohio State sticker, this has to be mine.
I get in and dig around. I find one of these iPods. Am I an Apple user now? Fiddling with the controls, I find out that Opeth, In Flames, Devin Townsend, Iron Maiden, and a bunch of others have put out some new music. I am happy.
With new worlds to explore, I drive to my supposed home, and return to my supposed life.
And that’s the daydream I have after I find myself walking under the 405 on a Saturday morning while saying hi to bums. What would your 5-year younger self think if put into todays shoes? What would your 1-year young self think? Would they be happy?