white balloon
April 9, 2002 09:19 AM

We lost time on our vacation. When we were ten minutes early, we thought we'd landed in the wrong time zone. And so we were an hour late, later. Then we came back after daylight savings time and were an hour late, again. It was as if an hour were teasing us, skipping ahead one day and behind us the next.

I don't mind the time change. In October, it delays getting up in the cold just a bit. In April, it means the delighful surprise of sun still in the sky at the end of a workday. It's an expected but pleasant accident twice a year.

But it happens in Spring. And Kentucky isn't having Spring yet. They may think they are, but they're not. We on the other side of the mountain have stolen their warm weather, and their trees aren't even waking up yet.

It's nice to be on the right side of the mountain. To hoard the coastal warmth. To have Spring on time, at the end of March, the vernal equinox, right when it's meant to be. I missed my weather everywhere we went on the other side of the mountain. I wore a coat, knowing it was warm enough for just a sweater at home.

This is why people head south on vacations. And because time moves more slowly.

I dreamt the other night I was an alternate me, one of thousands made by different decisions. And this alternate me's life oddly intersected mine. If things really break off like that, many thousands of each of us, of all the little spinning whirling things that make each bit up, this is a crowded universe. Everything bumping against everything else.

I said, at some time in what we'll call the past, that a need to see connections between things (people) and a tendency to attribute emotions to objects might be some sort of distinguishing characteristic of online diarists (or bloggers, who really need to shut up and accept we're the same). It was a smart suggestion, but I was wrong.

Seeking connections (both human and logical) is simply human.

I dreamt of my selves intersecting while I was away. It made sense. If those two selves were, there was a certain line they'd both follow. A line that could lead over mountains and into theatres.

I was, by chance, in a play. A short little play where people from the audience were chosen and their biofeedback and faces projected onto white. They made me touch a boy and gave me a white balloon. The play was done over and over again, each pair of people given white balloons. All night I watched for other white balloon people, as if they were my people, as if I knew them.

Names of people float out of my head. I can hold undialed phone numbers for years, but names, even repeated, hardly last a day. I remember names of people I met, though: the boy in the play, the gay couple, the spry West Virginia woman who called them the "hiney brothers", a man in the hall with a nametag, the liberal youngest daughter. I've kept them for days.

I kept my white balloon, too.

Kept them because they seemed like some sort of connection. Because people want to imagine a conjuction, at least, between them and everything else.

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