Enjoying the journey

Doing readings for folks has always been a side-line of my talents, but never my main focus. This is primarily because my focus has always been trying to unravel the mysteries of our world on a more global level. While these mysteries do involve individuals, they also go beyond the individual—beyond you and me—and touch on this world, the next, and all the other possible realities that (I believe) exist.

So, while the majority of my readings tend to be more esoteric, more globally, universally, and pandimensionally based—such as how the rules of balance (sometimes called karma) work, about why certain situations in our world exist or present themselves, how choosing a path of fear over a path of love can create such havoc for the chooser and those around them, or how alternate realities are created and why—every once in a while someone I know (a friend, an acquaintance, or a friend of a someone I know) will ask me to do a reading for them. Usually their life is in turmoil and they don’t know what to do, what choices to make, or what paths to follow. Because I find that I learn something from every reading I do, I will usually give in and do one or more readings for this person.

Sometimes when I give someone a reading I have done for them they become embarrassed at having their lives laid so bare and their ‘mistakes’ observed by someone else. However, if any of them were to ask me, I would try to explain that in my mind there are no mistakes. Every choice is a good choice because they all add to the life and they all make you who you are. But, as I said, most people don’t ask; in fact, most people don’t comment, because they tend to find the readings too personal and too intimate.

But whether the recipients use the information I provide or not, makes little difference to me, because I almost always learn something about people, their motivations, their reasons, and the way they react to situations. Some want their hands held while being led down the path of their life. They don’t wish to take responsibility for anything that might occur in their lives. Others want to lead, at least until something they don’t’ like happens; then they’re quite happy to dodge behind someone else allowing others to ‘slay the monsters’. Still others just head down any path that they happen across, paying little to no heed where they are going but merely enjoying the journey.

It is those in the final group that I admire and want to emulate. After all, it seems to me that no matter what path you choose, each person still reaches their goal, eventually. So, why not just enjoy the moment? Why not just amble along admiring the journey, spending time with those you meet along the way, and taking a moment to watch the clouds and listen to the birds sing?

Even if the bridge happens to be out when you get to it, what does it matter? After all, what is the hurry? Life is the journey, not the destination. So, if the bridge is out, then find another way across or around the obstacle, but enjoy the effort of searching for that new route, and enjoy the different people you’ll meet during your search.

There are so many possible obstacles in life, and a person’s attitude is just one more. So, rather than letting my attitude or anyone else’s become a stumbling block in my path, I’m going to simply enjoy where I’m at, and what I’m doing, and worry about where I’m going when I get there.

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub

9:50. Shoot. I had a 10 o’clock meeting in tower 4, all the way across the courtyard. I dashed down the stairs to get to the main floor. (I had found early on that it was faster to take the stairs—both up and down—than to wait on the elevators). As I rounded the landing for the third floor, I again felt the ache in my upper back trying to make itself noticed, and I rolled my shoulders as I continued down.

I rushed through the lobby door of tower 1 to the outside, and then paused to let my eyes adjust to the sunlight. As I paused, I rolled my shoulders again. The silly persistent ache that had begun about an hour ago was still there. I hated when my back spasmed out. I kept hoping that it would ease off; after all, I had a chiropractic appointment the next day.

Having quickly crossed the parking lot, I now waited for traffic to clear so I could cross the street. I then made my way across the sculpture garden and into the lobby of tower 4.

Through the next two meetings I continued to flex, role, and relax my shoulders and my back as I tried to ease the tension there. However, the mild ache under my left shoulder blade increased and was now working its way up to my shoulders. I considered taking part of a muscle relaxant—an over-the-counter combination analgesic and muscle relaxer—but even a half of one of those usually made me so sleepy that I’d be lucky to make it through the rest of the day.

We finally broke for lunch, and I was out of the conference room and headed for the outside to warm up—they always set the A/C way too cold as far as I was concerned.

I had hoped to go for a walk around the lake during my lunch break, but I felt tired, fatigued, and with my back acting up, I didn’t really want to risk it. Instead, I retreated to my car.

Once in the car, I realized I had no appetite, which was odd, considering I hadn’t really eaten breakfast either. Well, I thought, it wasn’t as if I couldn’t afford to lose a few pounds. I tried to read my book, but found myself dozing; it was probably just because of the heat. The day was sultry, and even parked in the shade, the car felt warm and comfy.

As it came time to go back inside, I finally broke down and took half of one of my over-the-counter pills. I’d deal with the drowsiness if it would just stave off the backache. As much as I would’ve loved to just go home early, I had several more meetings this afternoon.

The afternoon crawled by, but finally it was time to go home. Although I had taken half a pill, by the time I got to my car to leave for the day, the pain in my back now extended from just below the shoulder blade to the top of my shoulder and was moving down my left arm.

Once home, I decided to take a full pill and forego my usual two- to three-mile walk. Instead, I sagged into my lounge chair out on the deck and enjoyed the warmth of the late afternoon.

Just before dinner, I took another pill, because the pain, though, dulled, wasn’t easing off. In fact, I noticed that it was now hurting up under my jaw. I had no appetite for dinner; in fact, all I really wanted to do was go to bed.

I was angry with myself for not calling the chiro and making an emergency appointment for today. I knew that by tomorrow I’d be in so much pain I’d barely be able to drive. With a sigh, I moved away from the table and into the family room to try to watch TV with my husband.

He tried to rub my shoulders hoping that would ease the back ache, but after about 45 minutes, I gave up and decided to go to bed. Although, fatigued, I couldn’t sleep. The pain kept throbbing and I was finding it hard to get my breath. Frustrated, I got up and took another pill and a half. I thought if nothing else, the pills might knock me out enough to get some sleep.

I felt myself start to drift off, and a moment later I was drifting above myself looking down. As I gazed down on my body I wondered if this was what it was like to have a heart attack. Was that was this was? Was I having a heart attack? If so, I decided, it wasn’t so bad.

I awoke the next morning about four hours later than normal, but feeling absolutely fine. No back ache; no jaw ache; nothing. Again I wondered if it had been more than just a “normal” back ache.

Closer to noon, I decided to go for a walk and after less than ten minutes I was exhausted. I could barely breathe and my pace, well, my pace was slower than a snail’s. I returned to the house, and began to do some research. What I found surprised me.

The symptoms for heart attacks in women were all right there, along with the signs of an impending hearth attack:

• The need for larger shoes because my feet had become swollen over the past six to eight months.

• The inability to wear any of my rings because my fingers had become swollen over the past two years.

• Pains in shoulder or chest when exercising had been occurring for about a year; but I had put it down to tension in the muscles.

As for the heart attack itself, well, I had all the classic symptoms: pains in the back under the left shoulder blade, extending to the left arm, shoulder, and up the neck to the jaw. And luckily for me, the OTC back pills I take contain both acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and magnesium, both of which seem to help with blood flow.

But I have to wonder how many other women don’t realize what the symptoms are? How many others out there think they’re having indigestion or back problems? So, learn the symptoms; it’s important. Because even someone who exercises regularly, tries to eat well (I rarely eat meat), can still be at risk.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Healthy Heart Handbook for Women

Women and Heart Attacks

Traffic Monsters

Have you ever noticed how traffic congestion is so excellent at bringing out the worst in everyone? Just think about it—it has all the stress factors necessary to cause each driver’s Achilles heel to rear its ugly head and take over their attitudes and emotions, turning them into insane monsters.

If you reach out with your senses (all of them, physical and non-physical) you can watch the drivers around you. As you watch, you begin to notice the changes that come over them, until soon you can recognize who’s in the thrall of their Achilles heel and who isn’t. (It’s a great way to overcome the stress and avoid your own transformation into Traffic Monster.;-)

Look, over there –in the black Mustang. See how’s he’s pounding on the steering wheel and drumming his fingers (and not the type of drumming that people do when they’re enjoying some song on the radio)? Now he’s revving the engine and casting evil looks at the driver in front of him, as if it’s that fella’s fault that we’re stuck in this mess. Ahhh, we’re moving again, and here comes Mr. Mustang, jumping into our lane so he can go ten feet further than the guy that was in front of him.

Now I would guess that Mr. Mustang’s chief feature is probably impatience, wouldn’t you—finger drumming, hand pounding, racing to get ahead. Yeah, impatience is probably a good guess for him.

There’s another driver, this one is in a beige Camry. See how she’s letting everyone in ahead of her even though the light has changed and is green for her? I can almost read her mind: “…well, their drive is probably longer than mine…”, or “…they’re probably more important than I am…”. Self-deprecation if ever I saw it. It doesn’t matter that she’s been on the road nearly as long as I have, she simply can’t believe she’s worthy of getting home any sooner than anyone else. (And just look how frustrated she’s making Mr. Mustang.)

Oh, now here comes a good one. See how he’s trying to hog the entire road; slowing down and speeding up so that no one can pass or get in front of him? Talk about greedy. You can just see how much he believes he owns the entire road and he refuses to share it with anyone else.

And what about that gal behind you? See the way she’s clutching the wheel, and the determination etched into her face? She’s got the stubborns all right. She’s not going to change routes or lanes or anything else, no matter how much traffic congestion the world throws at her.

Here comes Mr. Self-destruction; weaving through traffic like a skier cutting through a black diamond slope. It doesn’t matter that the traffic is crawling, he’s still going to zip around the road doing 50 or 60mph. And when he can’t get through the traffic in the regular way, he’ll…yep, there he goes, racing up the shoulder. I guess he’ll stop when he either hits another car or that bridge abutment up ahead. But then that’s self-destruction for you—it never does let you believe in your own mortality, does it?

Then there’s Mr. Arrogant, driving down the road in his huge, extravagant (and probably over-priced) vehicle. See him preening and trying to look oh-so impressive? Yep, definitely bought that car to make up for something 😉 He just has to try and impress people with his what? Good taste? Expensive taste? Flash? Size? Doesn’t matter, really, does it, when you’re stuck in the grip of arrogance?

And finally, there’s Ms. Martyr. Just look at her face; it’s written all over her. You can feel the “oh, woe is me” emotion just rolling off of her. Listen to her: “Poor me. No one cares that I’m going to be late. No one cares that I’m having a bad day.”

“Sure just cut me off; what do you care that I might have a heart attack from all the stress you’re causing me. It’s not like anyone cares about me.” Yep, that’s the wailing call of the martyr if ever I heard one.

It’s interesting, though, watching the 7 different major fears grab hold and lead everyone along without them even realizing what’s happening. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a bit better about myself. After all, now I know that no one reacts well to traffic stress; that we’re all prone to give into our Achilles heels when the stress gets too high.

So what’s your Achilles heel—what traffic monster do you become when traffic congestion gets to you? Are you impatient, greedy, self-destructive, stubborn, self-deprecating, arrogant, or feeling like a martyr?

Karma and the Essence Twin

Imagine jumping out of a plane with no parachute; or riding on a runaway roller coaster; or swimming in the ocean in the middle of a hurricane, and you’re still not even close to what it’s like to do a karmic debt with your essence twin. (An essence twin is someone who is a mirror image of yourself at the soul level. Physically and personality-wise, you can be as different as night and day, but at the energy level, the soul level, you’re yin and yang.)

As I got drawn into my essence twin’s life, the objectivity with which I usually approached most of my life, faded away. I became inextricably drawn into his dramas until the web of his life encased me like a cocoon.

Like a swimmer caught in an undertow, I lost all sense of direction—I couldn’t tell if I were swimming up or down, right or left. The few times I managed to get to the surface, I was almost immediately sucked right back into the maelstrom.

The task itself was rather simplistic—stop him from committing suicide—something I had failed to do in two previous encounters. Oh, how simple it seemed; yet oh how complicated it became.

As my essence twin and I grew closer, his love for drama began to overtake me, until I became completely lost. First there was the growing neediness for attention, then the demands that I prove myself to him—prove my loyalty, my friendship, my “devotion”. These continued to increase until eventually I could no longer meet his demands and his expectations—no one would be able to.

Throughout this entire ordeal, my husband stood firm and tireless, always ready with a shoulder for me to cry on, or advice on how to cope with my wayward and frustrating twin. Never did he chide me for getting involved in this whole crazy dance, because he knew the importance of this encounter, and he understood that we all just had to see it through—to whatever the conclusion turned out to be.

The drama intensified, pushed by the same person who had egged my essence twin on in both previous lives. This time he was again manipulating the circumstances toward disaster, while I struggled to maintain a semblance of balance.

As my essence twin’s “best buddy”, this young man delighted in twisting the cords of friendship and watching my essence twin spin out of control. He was an expert in the subtle art of misdirection, and excelled in planting the seeds of doubt, mistrust and fear.

I knew that nothing I said would convince my essence twin of this man’s duplicity and scheming. The best I could do was try to disrupt this man’s efforts. For a while this worked, but then my twin and his buddy went away for a “guy’s weekend” and I found myself the object of my twin’s suspicions.

Having lost that edge, I began to work with my essence twin’s girlfriend. She had also expressed her distrust and dislike of his “friend”, so it became a strong alliance. My essence twin’s buddy, sensing the danger, decided to break up the romance. By using his smooth tongue and lying ways, he convinced my essence twin that his girlfriend was untrue.

I thought my essence twin would see right through this, but I underestimated his “buddy”. Manipulating people was his specialty, and his glib tongue proved more damaging than I thought.

All of this was brought home to me when, in the middle of the night, my internal alarms went off. Unable to sleep, I got up and followed my instincts to the computer and my email. There in my In Box was a suicide note from my essence twin. Thoroughly lost in the drama of the play now, I freaked. Hysterical, I woke up my husband. When I finally managed to explain to him what was happening he helped me to calm down, then decide what to do.

The decision was to call the police. After reading them the note, they rushed to my essence twin’s apartment, but he wasn’t there. Having kept me on the phone, they then asked if I knew where he worked. I did, so I told them. They hurried over there and finding my essence twin there, they hustled him into the squad car.

Embarrassed—oh, yes. Furious—you bet. He said he would hate me forever for doing what I did, and I thought my heart was breaking with every epithet he spewed at me while I filled out the police report which would commit him to the psyche ward of the local hospital for at least 5 days.

Several days after my essence twin was released from the hospital where he had been held for observation, I made myself go to his apartment and face him.

I knocked on the door not sure what to expect—no response, a slammed door in my face, more screaming? When he first answered, I thought he would simply close the door and leave me standing there in the hallway. His face was a mixture of storm clouds and resignation. Finally, the anger slid away, leaving just the resignation.

I told him I was sorry, but I had been so worried after reading that note, that I had to do something. He stared at the floor and the silence stretched like taffy. Finally, when he spoke it was in a hushed and quiet voice. He admitted that he had come close that night to killing himself—closer than he really meant to. Close enough that he had frightened himself, too. He raised his eyes to meet mine, and again the silence lingered between us. Then he simply said, Thank you.

Suddenly a small tug pulled at my soul and at the same time I heard a small, clear chime-like sound resound within me, and I knew—it was done. We had found balance between us. I had succeeded in stopping him, and he had acknowledged what I had done. Now we could both move on with our lives.

We talked a few more times after that, and he recognized what a negative influence his “buddy” had always been. So to make a fresh start, he headed out to California where he started his own dot com, got married, and is doing quite well for himself.

That whole episode took nearly 3 years. Three years of the most intense emotional rollercoaster that I have ever been on. It was 3 years of overwhelming, emotional turmoil that sucked me in, tumbled me around and spit me back out. I was drained and glad; bewildered and sad (at his leaving); lost and in need of a nice calm life.

I had repaid one other karmic debt earlier in my life, and I had experienced none of the emotional turmoil that I had just gone through with my essence twin. Then I remembered what Michael had said regarding the difficulty of completing monads and karma with an essence twin: “Karma is very compelling, and karma between essence twins even more so…” and I thought to myself, “What an understatement.”

It is the most intensely emotional experience you can imagine. You lose all sense of self. Nothing is as important as the “play”. The drama becomes all-consuming. There is no world outside or beyond you and your essence twin and those “bit players” who are part of your drama. Rational thought and objectivity become impossible and when it’s all over, you wonder who that crazy person was. Because you would never act that way or say those thing—and yet you did.

It’s as if you became someone else for a while, but now you’re back. Shell-shocked and little worse for wear, but you are back.

So, if you feel your threads are leading you to a karmic reunion with your essence twin, put on a parachute, fasten your seatbelt, and grab a life vest, ‘cause you’re in for a hell of a ride.

The Light of Joy

Light suddenly filled the bedroom and I groaned. It couldn’t possibly be time to get up yet. I could’ve sworn I had just gone to bed a couple of hours ago.

I rolled toward the light and tried to open my eyes. It was so bright that I had to squinch my eyes as I peered toward the doorway. A dozen or so people stood just beyond the bedroom doorway in the hall, and as they saw me looking, the glow they were emanating receded until just the white shirt, pants, and shoes that they all wore, like some bizarre uniform, were the only parts left glowing, and those only as much as some glow-in-the-dark painted objects.

I barely acknowledged their presence, before drifting back to sleep. After all, I knew who they were, and since I wasn’t on call I wasn’t about to lose sleep over them. The light flared again, and when I opened my eyes, they were all standing in the doorway, which was impossible, because it was…well, a doorway. Again, the light receded and I saw them motion me to follow them.

I rolled over, my back now to them, and tried once again to go back to sleep. This time the room was so lit up, I felt as if I were in the sun itself. With a huge sigh, I pushed myself upright and tried to glare at the group that now surrounded the bed.

If you wake up my husband… I started to think, and huge smiles covered all of their faces as I turned toward my husband. He was sleeping more soundly than a baby, something I wished I was doing. A smile curved his lips, and his mild snores filled the room.

I turned back to my nighttime interrupters, who had now regathered near the door to my bedroom, and I shrugged at them. After all, I had been on duty now for five nights, I was due for a night off, and I was tired.

Planing takes a toll, because although your body is sleeping, it isn’t always a restful sleep because the real you, the essence you, the soul, is off doing other things. For me, those other things are usually guiding people across; guiding them from the transitional plane to Earth where they are born into new bodies, or guiding them from Earth to the transitional plane where they spend some time after death and before moving on to either another life on Earth or somewhere else.

I’m a planer, that’s what I do, and the crowd in my bedroom, well, they’re planers, too. They are part of my “team”, I guess you could call them. We cover the time zone between 4 to 5, which extends from Thule, past Frobisher Bay, the eastern seaboard of the US, and includes part of the Falklands and all of Chile. Of course, we also cover other areas during emergencies such as large earthquakes or tsunamis, but the areas between zone 4 and 5 is our primary concern.

Anyway, before the whining had become a full-fledged thought, let alone a vocalization, they all smiled and urged me to hurry. There was something special tonight, that was the thought that flooded through me; there was something I didn’t want to miss. Their smiles were contagious, as was their urgency, so I let go and stepped out of my body, which sprawled back onto the mattress of the bed.

Dressed identically to the rest of the group, we were standing in the gray, foggy nothingness of the transitional plane. With the entire group surrounding me, the glow from our combined spirit form was almost too bright to endure, yet I always found the glow reassuring, calming, and uplifting. Still, it did nothing to change our reality.

I started to ask, but C, one of the elder planers in my group, one who admitted to doing this for at least 100 years, though I suspected the truth was even longer than that, signaled me to be patient.

A moment later the gray mist swirled and began to shift. Mist whirled around my feet, then a column of mist rose before my face and became a solid column of white stone. All around me rose other columns, and then a ceiling appeared filled with stars, and soon we were standing in a huge coliseum-like structure.

I saw other groups of planers gathered, too. Some dressed like us, others in white robes, and others in toga-like apparel. Within moments the huge edifice was crowded as more and more planers appeared.

A moment later, I felt more than heard a low thrumming hum. It seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. This was followed by a growing golden glow that began to appear in the center of this room full of white light. The golden light continued to emerge and the planers fell back, creating a circle two and three layers deep as the golden light intensified and grew larger.

The thrum grew more noticeable, growing in intensity until my entire being vibrated with it. It flowed through me like a chorus of heavenly voices, yet it seemed also to be filled with bells, but was also an orchestration played with such beauty and passion that I felt myself weeping.

Without even realizing it, we had all begun to hold hands, and now we were all connected, one with the other. The golden glow filled the building overpowering our simple white light, and I saw the rapture on the faces around me.

Joy and love surrounded us, and I couldn’t stop smiling. The moment seemed to last for hours, yet when it was over, it felt as if it had ended too soon. I looked around as the music faded, and saw smiles and tears everywhere.

The message was joy; the message was love. And I reached out to hug the planer next to me.

I awoke the next morning ecstatic over my experience, yet also sad. I was sad that not everyone could see, hear, and experience what I had last night, even though I know in my heart that not everyone is ready for such an experience. I know that once they are, though, they, too, will receive the message of love and joy.

Meanwhile, I will cherish the memory of the experience and try to spread the exquisiteness of it with as many people as I can.

Memories and Fairy Tales…

When I was 2, I wrote my name, or a form of my name, for the first time. Proud of myself, I carried the paper into the living room to show my parents. Because I had never printed anything before, let alone written something with connected letters, they believed that one of my older brothers must have done it. Determined to show them, I placed the paper on the floor. I then positioned myself on the floor by the paper, and with pencil in hand, I scrunched my eyes, stuck my tongue between my teeth and proceeded to write my name. Not print, but actually write my name.

This little gambit earned me the right to start accompanying my mother to the local library. At first, my mother and the librarian selected the most juvenile of books for me (you know the type—all about Dick, Jane and a dog named Spot). By the age of 3, I had grown beyond these basic word books and eagerly began seeking out every fairy tale book that I could find. I read Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, Golden Books, Tales from Sweden, and a compilation of English and Irish fairy tales. However, none of them was exactly “right”. I wasn’t articulate enough to be able to explain why they were unsatisfactory; I just knew that somehow, in some way, they weren’t the fairy tales I was looking for.

I became “obsessed” with finding the correct version of fairy tales. All of these that I had read so far were close, but somehow they had always lacked that familiarity, that feeling of completeness or rightness. The settings were always close, but not quite right, just as the characters were there but the names were wrong. Many times, it was simply that the cadence of the words in the story were wrong, and I would become frustrated and angry because I lacked the capacity to explain to anyone just why I was so frustrated.

The day before my 4th birthday, my mother and aunt took me to the BIG city. We were going to eat lunch in a fancy restaurant (my aunt worked there, which was why we could afford to go there), and then we were going to see a stage version of Cinderella. As we walked from the train station toward the restaurant, we passed a huge bookstore. I had never seen so many books—not even in our local library. You see, we lived in a small town and, consequently, our library was small, therefore the space allotted to the children’s section was tiny. But this building was several stories tall and at least a block square, and each window was just overflowing with books.

After fussing and whining about it being my birthday, my mother and aunt finally gave in and we went inside. It took several moments for my eyes to adjust to the low light inside, but when they did, I continued to stand in the middle of the doorway, too stunned to move. The store was even larger than I thought, and there were books everywhere. Just ahead of us was a row of very large tables on which were stacked piles of books. Beyond that were rows and rows of floor to ceiling bookcases whose shelves were loaded with colorful books.

I was overwhelmed. My mother tugged at my hand and we stepped into this wonderland of books. We wandered through the maze of shelves until we found a place where the bookcases were shorter and the furniture not so majestic. Here I gazed at the myriad of titles spread before me until my eyes found one very thick volume. Something about that book called to me—my mother always insisted it was simply the colorful cover, but I think it was more than that.

When my eyes found that book, they never left it. I walked as if in a trance, heading straight for the bookcase with that thick tome. Standing on tip-toe, I reached up to the top shelf where the book stood and, using both hands, I pulled that book to me. Carefully I placed that book on one of the small tables and, hands trembling and breath held, I opened it to the first story. I scanned that story, then the next, and the next. Then eyes bright, I clutched the book to my chest and refused to give it up. This was the book I had been looking for. Each story was just as I “remembered” it—where the princes had names like Ivan and Igor, and the princesses were named Nadia and Natasha; the castles all had onion-shaped domes on their towers, and the winter scenes were described as mystical and magical with ice-draped trees and beautiful flowing fields of white.

What I had been missing with all those other books of fairy tales was the familiarity, and I had finally found it. These were the fairy tales of my past—a past spent in the Ukraine. What I had finally found in this huge book store wasn’t just a compilation of every Russian fable and fairy tale, but more, it was a link to a past life memory.

As a child of 3 and 4, I didn’t fully understand the need, the compulsion to find the “right” fairy tales. However, as I grew older and looked at or leafed through my Russian book of fables, I came to understand that I had been looking for something based on a past life memory; a memory that surfaces and seeks validation. However, unlike most children who are not allowed to believe in past lives or other non-Western beliefs, I was able to validate my memories by finding that book and getting my aunt to buy it for me. Most Western children learn to repress these memories because they are told that what they think is a memory is nothing more than an over-active imagination. It’s too bad that so many in our society are so frightened by what they don’t understand, or don’t want to understand.

I know (at least intellectually, if not emotionally) that it’s part of the cycle of life, that people need to forget about their pasts or they can’t live the life they’re in currently (or at least not as fully as they chose to). However, I still empathize with those children who are only seeking to validate something that they feel or sense about themselves, because it’s hard enough to be a child. But being a child unable to validate something inside of yourself, is doubly tough.

Tas and the Time Warp

I was reading a scifi book the other day, an old favorite from my childhood. (You know the type, space ships, fantastic inventions, and worlds full of strange and bizarre creatures and life forms.)

Halfway through, I had to put it down and run some errands (not my favorite chore). I drove to the dry cleaner, then to the gas station, and finally to the discount store where I bought a dozen or so items. Then while I was waiting in line to pay for these items, I actually took notice of the people around me with their hands glued to their ears, heads bopping to some unheard music, and the beeping of the scanner as the clerk checked the items for payment. Suddenly I realized that my book was no longer science fiction.

While we may not be planet hopping as easily as the characters in my book, we were at least technologically equal. I looked at the large display of televisions, and there, blaring away, was a mirrored, flat-screen TV that matched almost exactly the book’s description of a “…mirror able to convey news and relay messages…”. As I continued to stare around me, I saw hundreds of different hand-held computers and communication devices. There were pens that shot laser beams (though not deadly ones), books and magazines that could read or listened to on hand-held devices, and reflective discs that could “talk” (or at least communicate by showing data on our TVs or computers).

Looking through the window of the store toward the parking lot, I realized that even our autos had become extremely hi-tech. They may not fly or skim over the surface of the ground using magnetics, but they do practically everything else.

That started me thinking about just how far our society has come technologically since my scifi book had been published in 1964. Back then, we’d never heard of personal computers. The only places that had any type of computers were the military and huge corporations. After all, computers were huge—they covered miles, they took large masses of energy to run, and they didn’t do much more than compile large volumes of statistics; volumes of data that would otherwise take years to compile.

Stores didn’t have computers (or scanners), and every clerk knew how to do math, usually right in their heads. That’s because they were the ones who had to tote up your purchases and calculate how much you owed, and then figure out how much change to give you once you paid. And plastic cards that you could use to pay for your purchases–oh puhhhhleeeze. The only places that offered them were the gas stations, and they weren’t universal—if you got one from Mobil, then it only worked at Mobil.

As for communicating long distances with hand-held devices, well, there was the cowbell that Mrs. Phelps used to call Billy home with, or the whistle that Mrs. Mazowicz used. Of course, the most common method was the yell—it was especially effective when the child’s full name was invoked.

Oh sure, we had telephones; they were big, bulky things that sat on table tops or counters, or we had something called the Princess phone that was a little sleeker and hung on the wall. The handheld part was connected to the base with a long curly cord, and you’d get a crick in your neck if you tried to work and talk on the phone at the same time.

And cars, well they were as basic as you can get. No FM radio (it didn’t exist), no tape players (it was hard to put a reel-to-reel tape deck in a car), and no such thing as a CD or MP3. In fact, there was nothing computerized about cars at all. Anyone with basic mechanical skills could work on one, at least enough to change the oil and other fluids, and filters. As for safety features, sure, they had some. Every car came with brakes, turn signals, and headlights, and it was up to the driver to use them.

Let us not forget that basic of entertainments, TV. There were no VCRs, no DVRs, no type of recording devices for TVs at all. You either stayed home and awake to watch your show, or you missed it. And color, sure, there was color, if your parents could afford a color TV. Our neighborhood was primarily a black and white TV neighborhood, at least until I was into my teens.

“Yep,” I thought as I looked around at the people, their hands glued to their ears, or heads bopping to the music they were plugged into, and I listened to the scanner beeping its rhythmic melody, “we are definitely living in a science fiction world.”