Routine Future

Dear J-

How much of the future can we control? A second from now, a minute from now: I’ll be breathing (I assume; see, can’t even control that) and still riding the train. Now that someone put their bike on top of mine, I know I’ll be juggling them in Mountain View, when I get off the train. I’m pretty sure I wore this shirt this week already. There’s a lot of things I can control, and so control them I must, right? You do the things you can and let the others be as much as you can stand it; this is the life of a control freak after all. One more day this week and we’re off to Nashville (we, being me; I’ve gotten used to thinking in terms of our family traveling as a group/mob over the past couple of weekends).

You watch people on transit because it’s only natural and the time you spend honing your observations pays off in learning more about yourself. Am I fidgeting again? How should you handle putting on/taking off extra clothes? What are other people doing, and can I do a credible job imitating that? This was my default mode of operation in Japan: do I feel like I’ve built up enough observation to understand what to do next? Ticket, token, the half-hurried rush upstairs to watch the right trains in the correct direction. I’m convinced the need for a paper map at times if you want to appear non-threatening and friendly, or perhaps that’s just my usual mien.

We move in our usual pace from day to day, from week to week and the disruptions that filter through barely have a chance to disturb the equilibrium of your thoughts and routines. There’s a rut in routine (there is also almost a poutine in routine, which would be undeniably delicious), a well-worn groove of simple ability and actions where we understand and expect certain things of the future and find we’re rewarded more often than not. Knowing what happens next is easy. It’s how you deal with the unknowns, and whether you have the grace to realize which are beyond your capacity to affect that your true aplomb lies. Stretching room for all and all a good night. Er, good day, as the sun is coming up. That’s a future I can believe in.

Mike

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