Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On millions

On this day a million years ago, your ancestor, Homo Antecessor, woke up, scratched his leg, and thought a coherent thought as one of the first humanoid species to do so. It might not have been a very impressive or complicated thought; perhaps he was wondering where to go for a dump or whether to eat fruit or leftover raw meat for breakfast. But it was a thought. And just like that, he became a front-runner of what human beings have been doing for a million or so years: thinking. Occasionally thinking too much.

"It was a million years ago," we might say, describing a distant past - be it our youth, our last relationship, or last Thursday. Sometimes things happen so fast - or such amounts of it happens at once - that even short spans of time give the impression of containing decades, centuries, millennia. It was a million years ago, yet it happen yesterday.

Probably we think too much. Thoughts both of the impressive and complicated variety, and of more mundane matters. "My throat hurts," I think. "My heart doesn't, but probably should." One thought is very simple; the other is very complicated. It happened a million years ago, but really - it's only been a few days.

My throat really hurts. I have the flu. I don't often get that; in fact - this might be the first real flu I've ever had. I've had the common cold about a million times - last time was a million years ago way back in January. But the flu? With the muscular ache and fever and all? I can't say I've been diagnosed with that, ever. I haven't been diagnosed this time either, but the symptoms seem coherent. If it isn't the flu, though, it might just be sore muscles from too much dancing this weekend, combined, again, with a common cold. It's entirely possible. I danced, a million years ago, with people I hadn't seen in a million years. I felt like a million dollars.

Sometimes life happens like a million and one - all you can do is to close your eyes and hope you don't fall off.  It's running at the speed of light, and you're lucky to catch a breath of air once in a million blue moons. "Do I miss you yet?" she asks. Yes. No. It's only been a million years. "Do I miss you, then?" she asks again. It hasn't even been a day. She shouldn't miss anyone. She doesn't. She does. My throat hurts. I want soup.

In a million years nothing happens. Then everything takes place in one short week, and you're left wondering what the next million will bring. Probably nothing. Other than a million thoughts.


5 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

I know just what you mean! Like a lot of things, it's either feast or famine. the flu really sucks! i hope it passes soon.

Hart Johnson said...

I love it--a million millions. I hope your flu goes away and then the dancing returns. And I hope it doesn't take a million years.

nonamedufus said...

You made me think of A Million Little Pieces the "semi"-fictional memoir by James Frey. And the song If I Had A Million Dollars. Good book. Good post. Good song. Wish I had a million dollars. A million thanks.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

For some reason, I was drawn to this post by the title and the thought that you had decided to give a million dollars to a random commenter. Ah well...maybe it will happen in the next million years.

Kelly said...

Sorry to hear you're sick. Perhaps it will pass quickly.

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