Arrivals/Departures

This is an experimental piece. Writing in the present tense is a challenge for me. Sometimes, even great writers will succumb to the urge to do stuff like this. Tanazaki wrote a wonderful 900-page novel, “The Makioka Sisters”, using almost no adjectives. It’s a masterpiece of minimalism. Carlos Fuentes wrote also wrote a tome, “Where the Air is Clear” entirely in the second person future imperfect tense. Somewhere, there is a translator deserving a medal. I don’t see anything like that in my future I hope.

Compulsively, he disconnects the seatbelt as soon as the plane lands and begins to taxi towards a terminal.

He is not alone in this. Petulant seatbelt disconnect clicks compete with a relentlessly cheerful flight attendant for sound space. They have reluctantly shared space in the aluminum tube for several hours, and are tired of each other.

She welcomes them to a city and admonishes them not to disconnect their seatbelts. A pilot parks the plane at an elevated tunnel and the ritual is completed.

The man traverses the elevated tunnel into a second elevated tunnel and enters a room. Incompetent, insecure, and overly armed guards relentlessly glare at him as he crosses the room. They do not welcome him to a city as he crosses the Rubicon gate into a terminal filled with like-minded people.

The man does not wish to be seen as inconsiderate, so he routinely checks his luggage (for which he is fined $25.00 per bag). He now walks an absurd distance from the plane to collect his baggage, relentlessly not wondering where his mate is.

Some luggage items may resemble others and he is careful to collect the correct item. A woman 20 feet away, briefly thinks he is stealing her luggage item but spots her correct item before she ignites an incident. The man will never be aware of this.

The man walks to a display board that offers an array of options and a telephone. Using the telephone, he contracts for a driver and a car to deliver him to a building he nominally owns.

2 weeks into the future, the man is not able to remember any of this.

Arriving at his destination, the man settles his contract for the driver and car, unlocks his front door, and steps into the building he nominally owns.

His mate is in a different location. His furniture, cookware, dog, and most of his entertainment equipment are also in a different location. He finds his old pickup truck, a TV set, lawn furniture, and a note from his mate.

The man drives his old pickup truck to a Walmart. He purchases cheap cookware, food, alcohol, bed linens, pillows, and an un-assembled chest of drawers. An old man in the store sees this and laughs inside himself. The man will never be aware of that.

Three hours later, the man is drunk, wracked by terror and tears, and wonders how to present this information to his employer as he sits in lawn furniture watching a basketball game.