Suddenly the whole world erupted. The Vancouver Canucks had won a Stanley Cup playoff game against the Boston Bruins in overtime and the city went wild. Air horns, car horns, a huge citywide cheer. You’d think we’d won a war. Folks on the street were confirming the details to passers-by. Strangers were hi-fiving one another. And none of it moved or fazed me.
I passed a Chinese street market, with music blaring and fragrances wafting by. I had just spent two days in the Pike Place Public Market in Seattle, but today none of it moved or fazed me.
Inside my favorite Chinese restaurant, a Canucks fan at the counter ordered takeout food and for him the day he’d been waiting for had arrived. Never mind the Rapture; never mind Ascension, if he’d ever even heard the word; the Canucks had won a game. This was ecstacy. But I was neither moved nor fazed.
I stirred my war wonton, which ordinarily would have been enough for me. Succulent pork, tangy bok choy, scads of noodles, but I was neither moved nor fazed.
All the old standards that we’d used to measure life no longer applied. Remember the story of the man hanging from a cliff by a root which was being gnawed by a mouse, with tigers above and below, who looks to the side and spies … a strawberry? Ah, transitory pleasures between two disasters. Life no longer seems that way.
Remember the last time someone asked you what you’d do if you had a year to live? I couldn’t get excited by looking at life that way either. Carpe diem? What was that? All the old ways of speaking about life, or measuring life, or seeing how we’re doing no longer seem to apply for me.
The only thing I’m aware of, and the thing that I can’t wrest my attention from, is that we’re at the tail end of a planetary way of life. I’ll blare my air horn, cheer and shout the day our galactic family makes its presence known. And they with the Canucks shirts on will stare at me on that day as I’m probably staring at them now.
On that day, whenever it occurs (and I have no idea when it will) everything “normal” will be stood on its head and all our yardsticks will go out the window. Everything we thought we knew up to that point will be passé. The degree of change that we’ll face will be enough to make some people want to scream, without knowing why they’re screaming.
Everything known will collapse in a matter of hours and all emperors without clothes will be plainly seen. Stanley Cups will be unmentionable. The Super Bowl will be a super footnote to history, no longer worthy of comment. People will stand around wondering what to say, what to do.
I’m perpetually out of step with my society, but none of that will matter on that day. I’m watching the last delirious moments of a world that seems to me really strange, waiting for the first few moments of a world that will seem to them really strange.
These are the last few days and weeks of a round of life that’s not destined to survive into the New Age. There’s something fascinating about watching these last few days, this last fling of a society that will disappear, on some levels, in an instant of such momentous consequence that no one around me would believe me if I spoke of it. Until that moment arrives, I wander around in a dream, watching the world party, oblivious to the total reconstruction of our worldview that’s but a short spell away.