Sunday Stories: she
She was somewhat of a number. Like many of her generation she longed for epic disaster as the only way out of her present predicament. Getting hit by a car, for instance, when crossing the road. Unfortunately for her longing, she crossed roads in a prudent manner not just respecting all applicable regulations but building in additional safety. This meant her chances of car injury were vanishingly slim. It was not a matter of avoiding being hit by a car, she was just unable to break rules that made sense to her. And it made a lot of sense to her not to burden an accidental driver by with the guilt of having hit anybody.
Hers is a familiar position to be in: confined without being physically restricted. She realized it and that’s how she came to plan her escape from civilization.‘What if?’, she asked herself. This is how she started going through her options. After many scenario’s and contingencies, it emerged that the most promising ‘What if?’ was this one: ‘What if I became someone of importance?’ That seemed to make sense. She would be able to change the rules. Maybe plan for a road with cars not driven by actual drivers on roads where there were no road-crossing rules. There were better alternatives that came to mind but she liked that at least that was an alternative that seemed feasible. For a moment she felt happy that there was a path to a world where there would be a last resort.
The moment was a short moment. Images of people of importance imposed themselves upon her much like she imagined she would have to impose herself on others if she were to be a person of importance. Images of action and reaction and of starting to separate the means from the end. Depressing as it was, she couldn’t escape the conclusion that metaphorically speaking she would have to cross roads in the absence of road-crossing rules. She shivered at thinking that she would not only risk to be hit by a metaphorical car but also have to blame its driver for it.
Abandoning this ‘What if?’ she could not but move on to the ‘What if?’ of the last resort: “What if I just accepted it?”
She discussed all this with a couple of her friends. Some laughed, some thought it was weird and some found it outright boring, as per usual. Still, somehow it had its effect on all. She didn’t make the link to her story but she felt as if the simple solutions were no longer attractive. She felt less drawn to epic disaster. Many Sundays later she was together with more or less the same group of friends. She sighed and said: “I must really be getting old.” One answered: “Aren’t we all?” She replied: “Still, it could be worse.” As if with one voice everybody completed: “We could have stayed young.”
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