Do you ever have that feeling- the one where you can be in the middle of a completely familiar situation (dinner with your family or friends, say) and suddenly, and without warning, you have no idea where you are? You don’t recognize the people around you, you don’t recognize your surroundings. Or, you do, but they don’t feel familiar at all.
That happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe it’s my ADD, maybe I’m just innately self-centered, maybe I’m just flighty, but it happens. At least once a month. It’s the opposite of deja-vu. It’s the opposite of recognition.
I haven’t been traveling as much this year. Maybe with same frequency, but certainly not with the same kind of duration. Day trips. Single nighters. Here and there and everywhere. Familiar places for the most part.
The other morning, I was standing in the security line at the airport, a place I visit as frequently as the barber shop, and I had one of those moments. I couldn’t recognize where I was, couldn’t remember how I had gotten there.
Then again, standing in the kitchen with my wife, talking about the kids’ schedule. I looked at her and it was like I was seeing her for the first time. The woman I have loved with every ounce of me for twenty years and it was like discovering her all over again.
I suffer from these moments, these instances of what Vonnegut might call being “unstuck in time.” I suffer then, but also look forward to them, relish them. Why? Because as uncomfortable as the moment is, it also creates an opportunity to see the familiar in a whole new way- to realize how lucky I am to see the way my wife’s face with fresh eyes; how lucky I am to be able to move throughout the world as often as I do.
I don’t wish the instantaneous feeling of disconnectedness these little time leaps entail on anyone, but I do think it’s easy to get stuck in looking without seeing, in being with someone or in a place without experiencing them. And I’m glad for those little out of life experiences, just for shaking things up.
I won’t be overly dramatic and say that I fell in love all over again with my wife the other day, but for a second the way I feel, which gets a little blurry and indistinct with time and familiarity was freshened up and given a fresh edge.
I loved that.
So if we are ever together and it seems like I’m a million miles away, if I shake my head slightly and widen my eyes, please understand, I’m seeing you in a whole new way and am still glad to be with you.