the joys of obliviousness
(first appeared at http://www.section8magazine.com/ 6/12/2015)
One day while driving, I noticed that I hadn’t hit a red light the entire trip. Miles and miles of road and dozens of traffic lights and not one red. As soon as I noticed it, the next light was red. It was then I realized the power of obliviousness.
I wanted to develop my ability to be unaware of things but was unsure how to begin. Just by beginning, wasn’t I acknowledging it and thereby defeating the whole purpose? Like a pitcher who is in the seventh inning and suddenly realizes nobody has gotten on base yet. From that point on, the pressure mounts. Ideally he would have preferred to hear from a reporter in the dressing room “Did you know you threw a no-hitter?”
I imagine floating through a world of difficulties by being completely oblivious to them. The kind of casual ignorance that allows a child to skip unharmed through a minefield or a writer to believe there is such a thing as non-fiction.
What was I thinking as I drove through all the greens? Does it matter? Would perfect obliviousness have us laying on our deathbeds, having never been delayed at a traffic light but completely unaware of anything we ever thought or didn’t think? Would we breathe our last breath without knowing it?
There were once sick individuals that would torture animals because they believed all the yelps and anguished cries were just the outward manifestations of a clockwork piece pretending to feel pain. How could they be so oblivious?
Because it suited their purpose. They were blowing through green lights all the way.
Let’s say that for a period of time you buy into the fact that there is someone for everyone. A special person that completes you. It’s a great thing to think that there is someone that you just can’t live without until there comes a time where you have to live without them. Circumstance can be a bitch like that.
You can choose to have to stop at every red light or you can speed up and catch a few yellows until such a time that you’re back on the road again. If at some point you sat down and started an autobiography, there is no way in the world you could call it anything but fiction. Try as you might, obliviousness will be sitting next to you and filling in all the gaps you put in the story in the first place.
What’s so great about green lights anyway? I think everyone has had moments during long drives where they suddenly snap back into reality and realize that they don’t remember the last hour of a trip. An hour closer to their destination but an hour of the journey gone forever. Is life about the destination or the journey?
Does it matter if you are the driver or the passenger if you’re not looking at anything but the road in front of you? Just imagine all the stuff you’re missing along the way.
Does it matter…?
Maybe we are just clockwork. Playing a role and registering the appropriate emotions but longing for the obliviousness of sleep or death. Waiting to crawl into bed or the grave and away from the red lights and green lights and minefields and strikeouts and lost loves and bitchy circumstances that make up our days.
That make up our fictional lives.
True story: one day while driving, I noticed that I hadn’t hit a red light the entire trip. Miles and miles of road and dozens of traffic lights and not one red. It was then I realized for that space in time I might as well have been dead.
Luckily I am oblivious to the fact that this makes very little sense to anyone but you.