Jay Meehan: Borrowed time
He should be all ready to go by now. His bag should already be packed, the kitchen floor mopped, the dining room table clear of stacked stuff. He’s running late and he knows it. Daylight’s burning. Twenty-some hours from now and he’ll be airport bound. And, still, there remains much to do. He’s operating on borrowed time.
He could start with making his bed, of course. Then there would be a flat surface upon which to lay open his awkwardly-sized travel bag so he could deal with the problem of finding space for all the “must-takes” from his carefully crafted list.
What he should have done, of course, is to begin the process at some earlier point. He’s only been aware that this moment would call in its marker for, what, two or three months? All due dates loom with an evil grin no matter to what extent they are put off. Heisenberg’s law? Probably not.
It matters not that his destination is tropical and a smart traveler could fit all they would ever need in a gym bag. No, that isn’t his style. It would seem he played hooky on the day they covered “time and resource management” in his “life skills” class. Oh, that’s right, he dropped that particular elective at the last minute in favor of Latin II.
None of his friends would be a bit surprised that he finds himself in a quandary of this nature. If memory serves, he lost his sense of proportion to some bloke who drew out to an inside straight back during his Army days.
They would probably re-spin the yarn about how when the tribe would go Christmas tree hunting up off Daniel Summit. He would always, after much thought, select a conifer with suitably more girth than the room in which it would later repose.
He would then, after much struggle to hoist said timber upon his shoulders, re-point his backcountry boards downhill until he crashed somewhere within a day’s hike of his truck. As I said, no sense of proportion, whatsoever!
You do see how the aforementioned parable folds into his current conundrum? The manner in which it dovetails into his lacking sense of relevant ratios? As Bobby D. once said, “He ought to be made to wear earphones.”
Hell, by now, the aircraft in question is probably pulling into its assigned boarding gate and will soon be disgorging cast and crew from its previous leg. But, no worries, our hero will no doubt locate a path upon which to successfully fumble through. It’s not like he or the personality-rich cup of Joe that sits next to him haven’t seen all this before.
He could be forgiven, I suppose, if it weren’t for the fact that he goes through these same exact motions every year. Of course he can never relocate last year’s list or coax his memory lobes in enabling whatever pattern recognition might ease the ever-increasing level of anxiety.
Restarting from scratch is most always the modus operandi of choice. And with it taking uncounted months, days, and hours to properly dishevel the joint to the point where all Trump’s teens and all Roy Moore’s tweens couldn’t possibly put it back together again before liftoff, well, that’s the crux.
Locating this year’s reading-material-of-choice probably won’t raise its head until his luggage has him in a headlock and is wrestling him out the door. Not even Jean le Carré could locate it in the available timeframe and he wrote it. However, our bumbler-at-large distinctly recalls placing it on the bedside table and telling it to “Stay!”
No one listens to him anymore, most especially himself. The last time logic brushed his surface must have been sometime during the second Nixon administration, the abbreviated one. The only task that will get checked off in timely fashion will be his knee-jerk deletion of the list itself. Behavioral change seldom comes a-knockin’ in these parts.
He could check in online with the airlines that drew the short straw in his logistics lottery I suppose, but let’s keep that to ourselves. Also, the curbside check-in option. Having him stand and then shuffle endlessly in line up to the counter would seem the more proper punishment to fit the crime, don’t you think?
Remember, this is borrowed time we’re talking about, and I’m pretty sure the new trickle-down health care will resolve any late fees once they become due.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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