I was missing a somewhere, the other night. I wasn’t really sure which somewhere it was: Whether it was New York, or that other glorious city up north that I was in the habit of craving. The skin was calm, but the soul was crawling. Or at least, the soul was swaying — toward another somewhere, much different from here.
And it was an odd sensation. I had no obligations to keep me in town, treading the specific ground of here. I could’ve taken off, at that moment, in my car. I could’ve driven it for as many gas tanks as my bank account would afford. And I realized: I had never found myself in such a here. Before, there was always something to keep me in place. But be it my full acceptance of losses or some urgent realization about time — about my now — I suddenly found myself unattached.
No, not de-tached: for I never let the days pass me with carelessness. I am not care-less — I am care-free.
And: It felt wonderfully.
If there was anything I’ve learned: I knew there was no use in being frustrated with a lack of time. Time would keep on doing its thing. So, instead of measuring my life against the flight of minutes — and their flightiness — I was beginning to choose taking control of them. (And I’m pretty sure my full acceptance of losses had something to do with it.)
But taking control of time could cause a lot of damage to the human hand. The only way to actually control it — was to surrender. To accept the flight of minutes. To find delight in their flightiness.
And the only way to do that — was to live. Some chose to live it up, in their way: to defeat time with money. My way seemed tested by time: I now live fully, curiously in my here; never putting a curiosity on hold for too long. For me, the only way to take control of time — was to never let it pass me with carelessness.
For I never was care-less — I was care-free.
So, when I was missing a somewhere, the other night, I thought:
“What if I found that somewhere — HERE?”
I knew it had to be a busy somewhere: a somewhere where other people chose to be here. It couldn’t be a club or a lounge, because those were always filled with mixed messages and convoluted ways. In those, one must hunt much harder to find sincerity or truth. No, I wanted to be somewhere where people walked according to their own nows. I wanted to see young lovers strolling calmly as if never frustrated with a lack of time. I wanted to watch friends laughing at outside cafes, kids waking-up their parents with their curiosity. I wanted to see street artists who could teach me their ways of being carefree.
And so, I drove myself to the coast. It gets much colder there, I thought; and before starting up my car, I bundled myself in an oversized sweater that reminded me a different somewhere: NOT here.
I drove in silence, with my windows down. I remembered the beginning days of cellphone culture: I was living in New York — a somewhere that’s definitely much different from here. The only way to escape the clumsiness and unawareness of cellphone users — was to go underground. Because there was always plenty of stories on the New York City subway, but the stories overheard from phone conversations didn’t seem to be in that plenty yet. That’s until we would ride out above the ground, at the 125th street: Cellphones would get whipped out as if in an airborne epidemic; and bits of soundbites from other people’s private lives would flood the train. And then, we would go underground again, in silence.
So, I chose to drive in silence, the other night, while crawling toward a somewhere much different from here. (How ever — when ever — did I dare to surrender my moments of daytime silence to the soundbites of other people’s private lives narrated to me over my bluetooth?)
The closer I got to the coast, the denser got the traffic. There shouldn’t have been any traffic at that hour, but I was glad to navigate it: It meant other people were driving out, according to their nows. Other people were choosing to tread the ground, and maybe I could find a little bit of a different somewhere — here, that night.
On foot, the very first couple I saw was hip and mellow, and completely stunning. He was tall and pretty. She was tiny, exotic, quirky and adored. They were wearing layers of tattered tees and oversized sweaters. She sported a military jacket, with feather earrings touching the seams of its shoulders, in the fashion of other exotic girls, in that glorious city up north that I was in the habit of craving.
A homeless man with a full, gray beard was walking a golden retriever. The dog seemed better groomed — and fed — than the owner; and that other person’s love soothed me with calmness:
“Everything is still quite alright, with the world,” I thought.
He wasn’t — careless.
Then, there was an older couple: both white-haired and neatly dressed in all shades of blue. Each possibly older than their sixth or seventh decade, they walked very slowly, according to their nows, very specific and very different from the now of mine.
“What is this here called?” the woman asked in a child-like voice. She was speaking Russian.
“A mosaic,” he responded, in English, studying the facade of the church that attracted his girl’s attention.
She repeated it, in English. They were both still learning, waking each other up with mutual curiosity. And they loved.
“Everything — is still quite alright, with the world.”
A husky voice belonging to an angel reached my ears. I started walking, quite slowly, toward the curly blonde in an oversized coat singing on the Promenade. A small crowd had accumulated around her. People leaned against trees, against their beloveds; they sat on benches, each obeying their nows.
The angel, when speaking, had a London accent — from a somewhere much, much different from here. She sang our night away.
I never got to the somewhere that I was missing that night. But I somehow, my here was good enough.
It was perfect, actually.