... have trouble staying present?
I find myself ostensibly walking the dog but actually replaying many small defeats and other trifles of the past in my mind. It is an effort not to let myself wander too far. I suppose this is what they mean by absent minded, like when I used to leave the key in the door coming home, or forget to close it going out.
I stop to tell myself: "You don't need to be anywhere but here."
And of course the sun shines and the glass fronts of the buildings around me reflects deep azure trimmed in white clouds and the tree over head has fragrant blossoms and my dog floppy ears curly tail agile limbs and an inquiring look that wants my attention.
"Look what you're missing."
Is it hyper-activity plus attention-deficit? I would like to think so.
But another part of me remembers when it was a common necessity to leave my body behind while my mind goes elsewhere, does whatever, waiting out the time until life resurfaces again to the hard and shiny shell of its normal exterior.
By which I mean the time elapsed between being groped and the end of groping. By which I mean when I was young and a victim of sexual predation and abuse. By which I mean not simply knowing, but internalizing the belief that everything is not what is seems and all that is solid melts into air (yes, that phrase, decontextualized, has stayed with me).
By which I mean going up the escalator this morning I saw a woman running down the way to catch a train, her heavy breasts bouncing with each step. I remembered a time when my uncle took me to the shopping mall and leaned down toward me as we walked, whispering in an moist and urgent voice about women walking briskly past, and how their breasts move in time to their body (though his words were more crude than mine). Then we went to a book store, maybe because he knew that I like books, or maybe because the tall shelves offered good camouflage for him when he closed in and put his hand into my shirt.
This morning going up the escalator I remembered his voice and the way his wet breath seemed to force its way into my ear. Is it just uncontrollable sexual urges, or is it something else that drove him to be who he was? I don't know that I'll ever know.
So it seems I have a two track mind. I would like to turn up the volume on the present: the crispness of autumn and the smells of the city; the cracks in the pavement beneath my feet and the twinge in my shoulder or the weariness of fellow commuters of early morning. But the other track plays a random selection of the greatest hits from the past - skipping between various moments of intensity, good or bad.
Navigating the two, I try not to forget where I stand, or I will miss a trick and leave the key in the door again.