The Big Wait
Tomorrow's worries become yesterday's (forgotten) memories.
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We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day
-Carly Simon, Anticipation
I know exactly where I was 37-years ago this week.
I was waiting.
Waiting for the last day of school.
Not just any last day of school, but the last day of school. The truly last day for those of us who, save for a few random attempts at community college later in life, weren’t destined to attend an institution of higher learning.
As if that wasn’t enough to envelop me in a non-stop cocoon of excitement and anticipation, the proverbial icing on the cake, or in this case, shrimp on the barbie, was that three days after graduation I was heading to Australia for six weeks with my two best friends.
I couldn’t wait to go on that trip. It was the most important thing in my life and all I could focus on.
It was on that trip that I did one of the few prescient things of my youth, particularly so given the bulky constraints of technology at the time.
While stopped at a roadside filling station in the town of Wollongong, or Gooloogong, or some sort of gong, I spotted a Target across the street, and in a moment of shallow inspiration, ran in and bought a tape recorder with which to create an audio diary of our trip.
Over the past three and a half decades that recording transitioned through various form factors, first cassette tape, then CD, next DVD, and then through a series of digital file extensions, ultimately landing on an MP3, currently hard coded to my original iPod.
Chancing upon said iPod this week I gave a listen to my travel narration - the first time I’ve heard it in perhaps 20 years - and the seventeen-year-old me was unrecognizable.
Not just in lack of maturity or the obsessively circular use of 80s vernacular, but in the strange way I was fixated on describing everything we were going to do on the trip.
It was a weird kind of hyperfocus - no doubt codified in the medical literature – that I forgot I once had, and which overemphasized the importance of events or interactions yet to come, no matter how trivial or transitory they might be.
I was always waiting for things to happen, anticipating how they might affect me, but before I knew it, they were gone, and I was on to the next thing.
I waited for what seemed like forever for that trip to get here, yet those 42 days went by in a flash, and the thirty-seven years behind vanished almost as fast, the things I obsessed about while on it now not even a faint blur in my memory.
Yet we’re always waiting for something.
This week investors waited for the CPI numbers. Before that, it was for a base to break. Next week it will be on the Fed.
Of course, we’re all waiting for that bottom. That big, fat, rounded bottom, worthy of a Queen single’s sleeve.
And summer is almost here.
Tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet and I don't know nature's ways
So I'll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here 'cause these are the good old days
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