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For 49 of the 53 years I have existed on this planet I have lived within the same five mile radius (from my birth to 4 years of age I lived a mere ten miles away.) I have not been afraid to travel, indeed I have visited plenty of states in the U.S. and countries in Europe and even now work in quite a few. I neither offer up this bio as a defense or to illicit sympathy, it is simply a ‘this is how it is’ situation. I love the slightly upper middle class suburban N.J. environs I will always consider home, adore my family, friends and neighbors and take comfort in the familiarity of what I see around me every day.
Given the above set of circumstances I experience plenty of moments of time travel. I only have to walk down a tree-lined expanse a few blocks from the brick-faced Tudor I grew up in, or a trek to the park at the dead end of my parent’s street and I can mentally travel back to any number of moments, good, bad, indifferent that happened to me in the exact spots. I’m not sure if I have been blessed with a good memory per say, as much as it is tickled to consistent use living where I live. Quite often the recall comes upon me when I least expect it, as if a constant movie trailer of ‘Ralph, This is Your Life’ plays in my head; I don’t as much go looking for the memory, they spark-up as I pass a place or spy a neighbor.
Facebook and to lesser extent, LinkedIn, and other social networking protocol are our modern day time machines. I merely step out my front door or drive over to the Quick Check and have memories rolled up on me, but too many of us are purposely delving deep across the net to find ex -grammar school class mates, family or worse, an ex-lover. And very much like stepping off that path to crush Mr. Bradbury’s butterfly (and if you don’t understand this reference might I refer you to Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound Of Thunder” in fact, might I refer you to every damn one of Ray Bradbury’s stories) we run a huge risk when we purposely step into our times machines for a journey back.
I can’t count the many people I know who are on Facebook for the sole purpose of looking for an ex. The dangers in this are too countless to name: Our ex doesn’t want to become friends, our ex doesn’t even remember who we are or our ex remembers all too well and begins a plot revenge of decade-old wounds, or the worst case scenario where we actually start a friendship with our ex, meet off line and begin again a romance that has no way of surviving beyond two people desperately trying to build on that which they had decades ago but is no longer alive since the two people have grown well beyond who they were two decades ago or what’s worse, the two people will themselves into believing that a new romance has to survive since you the two people haven’t grown in the past decades and have never put the long-ago break-up behind them.
We all want to go home again, but usually they have moved the furniture or sold the land for condo development. Not in my case of course, because I never really left home, but you know what I mean. Careful where you tread when stepping out of the time machine; butterflies are too easily crushed.