to my disbelieving friends, a vision from the future
| "I'm time-traveling again," I tell my disbelieving friends.
"What does the future look like?" they predictably ask me.
Well, I wouldn't know. It is not as if I am looking through a window into the future. Rather, a future version of me is looking through the window to the present. My back is to this window, yet through it I can hear a nervous cacophony of background voices, and I feel a desperate breeze escaping from there. Mostly through this portal pours a miasma of longing, regret, and astonishment.
I channel the emotions of my future self, apparently undiluted by any trace of snarkiness or self-concern. With these eyes I look around me and see vistas surrealized by a foggy fuchsia corona. As if lightning has lit up the darkness, I have an unnatural afterimage vision of the objects and events existing before me, though filtered now by a grim knowledge I do not yet possess. Instantly I have a sense of missing the ordinary-seeming things sitting benignly in front of me. Unwary people pass each other within striking distance without a second thought, cautious salute, or glance back. Clear roads amaze me only half as much as coordinated traffic. Shops do business with unconcerned customers who casually wave magic cards in the air, and the shopkeepers pretend the swiped plastic rectangles have actual value. Everyone goes home; no one stays to protect the goods. There is a scarcity of scarcity despite the gluttony of consumption. Idiocy is met with mirth, corruption hailed by helplessness, and common sense greeted with derision.
I look back at my present as if seeing New Orleans a week before Katrina. We had warning, did we not? But we did nothing to prepare. Two days before the hurricane struck: with disaster impending, we largely froze in incredulity. Just hours before the storm, we imagined we still had time amidst the chaos. And then things got crazy - and I mean reality started coloring itself insistently outside our neatly drawn lines of normality and expectation. I weep for lacking follow-through on suspicion, courage of a dawning conviction, for even two hours' more warning.
But then these extraneous hues fade from the edges of my sight, and here I am in my daily life, stuck with memories and feelings I dismiss as fancy.