I was working for a barricade company back in the mid-90’s and just happened to be working alongside a very strange man. He was a temp employee, hired on as a favor from my boss. Let’s call him, “Tommy”. Well, Tommy had a weirdness about him that I couldn’t shake — Lord, he couldn’t shake it, and therefore oozed his weirdness everywhere he went. I couldn’t put my finger on it, couldn’t give it a name, and probably would have failed to describe it in a court of law after he performed some horribly disturbing act. He was just weird. The kind of weird that kept me on edge.
So, we’re probably 4 hours from home, down this seldom-traveled back road, digging post holes for signage, when out of nowhere Tommy stops digging and stares down the road. Naturally, I freeze, scared for my life and wondering if I told my wife I loved her that morning. I visually searched down the road to see what this potential madman was staring after. I saw nothing. I remained still, not wishing to draw undo attention, when Tommy finally spoke — “I just saw myself down the road.” What? What do you mean? Physically? Spiritually? In the future — are you standing there in the future, like you see yourself eating a burger at that place you always wanted to stop by? What do you mean you saw yourself down the road? Are there two of you? The question sent my mind in many directions all at once, and so much so that I feared I would also see myself down the road. I waited for what seemed like days as Tommy held his gaze. Suddenly, and without warning, he returned to digging.
It took me a moment to gather my composure and mentally check my drawers (not the wooden one that holds my socks). I was alive — at the moment — and possibly averted the worst of it. I continued my task, and eventually we climbed back into the truck for the long, and silent, ride home. I don’t think I ever took an eye off my fellow laborer.
This reminiscing takes me back 20 years — 20 YEARS! Yet I remember my near brush with the supernatural like it was last week. Well, last year, at least. Doesn’t seem like a generation ago, but indeed it is. Time is funny like that, passing us by without looking our way, minding it’s own business as if not a care the least about our schedules and plans. I gather, that like Tommy, time sees itself down the road. Rightly so, for time always moves forward. Allowing time to pass us, move ahead, overtake us each day as we scamper to cram another, and another, and another thing into the hectic-ness that’s life, is a shortsightedness that will ultimately leave us only looking back. The things we miss, fly past, and embrace only in our thoughts become what we see down the road of life that is as mysterious as it is sad.
So don’t waste it — live it. Make this day count for something that will outlive you. Be that someone that you want to meet one day. Change the world — even if just your personal little world — and breathe new life into an old dream. Don’t stop till you’re old and gray. By then, if you do see yourself down the road, it’s probably for the best.
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