We spend our childhoods preparing for a world that is already burning away.
We learn how to make telephone calls and insert floppy disks, how to make plans to meet in specific places at specific times, how to get a job: work hard, apply.
Then, when we finally we stumble out into the blaze of adulthood, half of the skills we hoarded -from our schooling, from our parents' explicit or implicit teaching- are nonsensical. Even our dreams no longer compute. You wanted to be a musician? Those jobs don't exist anymore.
(They do, of course, but they are unrecognizable. I am a musician. Sometimes I play music. Most of the rest of the time, I hustle: marketing emails, social media campaigns, direct solicitation, grant proposals, accounting, schmoozing.)
It's like walking into the fairy tale you've heard every day of your life, only to discover that the dwarves have grown up like weeds, the old woman is living in a handbag, and the dragon and the maiden in distress are having tea in the morning room, and would you like to join them?
You picture babies; you get colic.
You're ready for romance; you get marriage.
You imagine competence, savvy, an iron-clad adultness- and you get your same old self, wrinklier.
Which is why, when you're bumbling along and suddenly, for the span of only breath or two or three, the moment you're inhabiting slips sideways to overlay, precisely, the moment you imagined as a child, a moon moving to darken the sun-
well, it knifes you in the gut.
Early evening; dancing in the kitchen with my son.