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Rant about 'Q: If you could go back and do it all again, would you change anything?'
The White Out - a short something like a story
Q: If you could go back and do it all again, would you change anything?
A: Defiantly, all of it, everything.
Firstly, it is most important to know whether or not you retain the memory of your last time. If you were able to start life again knowing everything you would do, it would defiantly impact this decision. In the answer above, it would secure it.
There would be no reason to repeat all the events of your life, they have done their job and established core values; right and wrong, safety and danger, love and loss, tolerance levels for pain, fear, danger, violence, everything you are now, is because of what you have done. If you could remember these lessons it would be unwise to simply learn them/live them in the same manner.
Instead, carry this information forward into a completely new life. Put this precious knowledge to use. Think how much more you could live knowing the joy and pain and risk of love. Think how much easier relationships would be if you were less fearless in them. Having loved and the loss and having dealt with the joy and the pain the comfort we feel knowing that it is going to get easier and that time does heal all wounds. To not know that there is someone out there for you is by far better than to know that there is, and who she is, and what she will look like every day for the rest of her life, and to know every word she will speak, to know every time you will have sex, or fight. This is how high the price of knowledge could be. If you did choose to re-live your life the same way over again, for whom would you be living it for??? If you are the only one in your life who knows what is going to happen, because you have chosen to do it all again (without changing a thing) then you may be selfish and foolish. You could not, by the definition of ‘not changing a thing’ change a thing. However, you know it is going to happen, you are going to take action in events or have previous knowledge and not take action. You are going to know beforehand that you're about to break a heart or be broken, or to have an accident or that a terrible accident is going to occur to someone you love and will never forget. How could you re-live some of the happiest times of your life with a best friend knowing that they are going to die in a ski accident, and not be able to act? This compiled with the knowledge of every good thing that will happen to you ‘takes the wind right out of the sails’. It makes the question a no brainer.
Now, if you did not have any memories of your past life and you were able to ‘do it all again and not change a thing’ then it makes the question most interesting. Firstly if you did not know you were ‘doing it all again’ would you be? Of course not. Without the memories of a past life any life is a new life. So there is nothing to change. All of the events are first time, real time and a surprise. Each event triggers genuine reaction that will accumulate over time to create…you.
So there you have it, the answer to the question, to do it all again…or not? The same or differently? If you cant remember the first time it is the first time and if you can, then make the first time last, buy taking it with you to the second, third, fourth…
For clarity and since this parameter is not implied to be one way or the other, I will choose to answer change. Do it all differently ensures that if you retain the memories of your past life you carry them forward into your new life and keep things new. If you don’t keep the memories and still answer change, who knows, it may just be the same anyway, how would you even know.
THE WHITE OUT
A SHORT STORY?
The snow fell while we slept. The snow fell while we ate breakfast. The snow fell, and continued to fall until there was naught but white to be seen. It seemed to me that the very ocean itself was being covered in a light fluffy layer of snow. We could only sit, Scarlet, my lovely new bride and I, and watch. Earlier, we had tried to make a trip to the corner store, before it shut down due to snow fall, for the essentials, booze and cigarettes. We never made it out of site of our quiet little 2 bedroom rancher located 38 seconds from the Pacific Ocean on the picturesque Vancouver Island. The snow was already too much for our car, and this was only day one. I, nay, we, both had immediate feelings of disgust for this beautiful offering from Gaia. A quick return trip and it was and our inventory was bleak, 7 cigarettes. Though there was a bottle of Crown Royal and a large, full, bottle of Peach Schnapps, that we had inherited from a get together the previous weekend, this was a rather poor, and very short, list. Wait there are a few Cuban cigars, Romeo and Juliet’s given to us at that same gathering the Schnapps came from, I remember them being disgusting then but I am already convinced that by the time I need to smoke one of them, they will be delicious. The night before we had made a Ham, slow baked with pineapple and brown sugar, it was so good, so we had food, firewood was low but even if we lost power I think we could make it 2 days before I had to do some landscaping. All in all, we were set up pretty good for what looked like a lengthy stay at home.
The Cats, of course I would forget about them, they are already starting to meow. Should have got them some food the other day, but that was something that we had planned in for today. Get it cheaper at Walmart, no wait her mother had a bag of food for them, that’s not going to happen. Scarlet will think of something to feed them, she is good that way. Black cats in a snow scape, Scarlet won’t let me throw them gently out into it. I think they will like it, they will look like the dot on an Etch A Sketch moving around.
All of the trees are heavily burdened with snow and it is really only a matter of time before power, cable, maybe even phones go down. This is when we will really get to know our neighbours and they, can really get to know us. Isolation can really bring out the best in some people, but for others, who may be living far from people for good reason, isolation, may be the very thing that they fear, and desire the most. It may be that this white out, is the green light they have been waiting for to really shine.
If you have never been in this situation let me share a few things with you that may help. The first rule is of course, don`t panic. I mean really we are in the modern age and unless there was some big news of the ice age arriving today you missed all will return to normal again. The second rule is, and it may be too late already to implement this rule but, be trapped with people you like. Everything else that you may experience is just going to be simple little problems that are easy to deal with or easier to sleep away. In fact sleep, is hands down, the best way to get thru such occasions. Personally, a combination of sleep and sex occurring at semi regular intervals has been and will continue to be my favourite way of riding out a storm. As a freshly married man it made the start of this snow storm quite enjoyable. A tip to cooking on open flame,,, don’t do it. Wait for the wood to burn and start a second fire and use only hot coals for cooking. I should not have to tell you but your microwave will not work when there is no power no matter what plug in you try. Believe me when I tell you that if the power is out in your house it is out in the whole house, the garage… is part of the house.
The quiet and the calm of being far away from a city is so nice, and at night without the city lights you can see so many more stars in the heavens above. We have one street light in our little cove, it does not seem to be very bright but tonight we can really notice just how much light it did give off. On what should have been a full-ish moon the heavy clouds and heavy snow have removed all hope of light coming from above and it is in fact so dark that without the flashlight in my hand I cannot even see the snow itself still falling, its fluffiness and frequency still rampant. The car now a mogul in the front yard as is the shrubbery. The quiet though, it is almost too much. The crashing of the ocean waves against the shoreline is gone, there is nothing, I think that perhaps I can hear the snow land, piling flake on top of flake to create this white world. Slowly it seems to be turning from snowman stuffing to Styrofoam packing and we are becoming the fragile contents, and we seem to be mostly ready to ship. Of course there is no reason to worry all will be fine, rule one is rule one for a reason, and having been its author I best heed it as well. Sleep will let it pass, this feeling of enclosure, this isolation is still far from that.
In the third morning, there seems to be a break in the snow. I can hear what sounds like some of the neighbours talking. Their homes are a lot closer to each other than ours is to theirs. The snow is up to the windows and I started to clear a little area out toward the car but stopped. The snow is still too cold to be played with. In fact that is the only problem I have with snow, it’s just too damn cold, pretty, made of water which I need to live, but cold, cold, cold. Tell you what you take the cold factor from it and snow would be the best thing ever.
The Cuban Cigar. To inhale or not to inhale that is the question. For me, at this point, it is no question at all. It has been 52 hours since I had a drag from a cigarette. 4 hours and 22 minutes since I smoked a cigarette butt joint and if not for these cigars I would now be turning to the spice rack for something leafy green to combust. I have had some experience in the past with smoking cigars, it seemed a easy way to wean myself of cigarettes. Of course the contents of cigars are less poisoned by man but in no way less harmful to my system, as predicted, these cigars are pretty much heaven. Harsh and powerful they make me feel my lungs and though I find myself nauseated by them slightly they do hit the spot. The phallic imagery is easily overcome by transference. Forgetting what it may look or feel like for me I watch Scarlet put this cigar in her mouth and am instantly aroused, thanks to Mr. Clinton, I find myself wishing there was a blue dress around. Of course with every pull from this giant cancer stick I realize that we near the end of inhalants. The thought of quitting is only now entering into my head, how hard can it be right. Let’s hope it does not come to that, I have never been much of a quitter.
There is no booze left. I took my time to write about this one cause really I can deal with this one. I really like the drink, a lot, but it never been anything I could not do without. There was a time I worried that if I got too much blood in my alcohol system I would start to fail. In fact I spent a lot of years thinking that .08 was a baseline, the score I could receive first thing in the morning. I was rarely sick and I always said that cold and flu bugs could not survive in an alcohol rich environment and my good health in times of outbreak was testament to this truth. However, sleep has always been a distant friend of mine, I have battled it since 13 and though my relationship with insomnia was a close one we never really dated. This was why sweet sexy booze and I got along so well. It took over as bedtime companion, kicking insomnia out of the bed and letting sleep and myself to unite. A tool for me, one used, abused, loved and liked. Now it is gone, I have begun to shake hands with my old friend insomnia, and by the start of our third night as a French fry in this order of Amsterdam fries with Mayo, I know, we will be making out in the bathroom. Sleep will not come to me and the years I have spent training my mind to relax will be tested once more. This quiet and calm is getting louder and louder and if not for the odd cracking and crash of breaking branches as they are taken off the tree by the weight of the snow I fear that I may become deaf. Ok that was a little much, I still have lots to keep me from that, several guitars, percussion instruments, wind instruments. They all make noise and I can use all of them to a simple degree, in fact they are great company to keep, the only problem is they all seem so loud. I am sure the neighbours can hear me playing them, but more importantly, when I am playing them I cannot hear them, my neighbours, for some reason now I feel like I need to constantly keep an ear out so I can hear everything they are doing over there. I thought about tunnelling over and getting myself in the loop, but I am not sure that I want to be in theirs. And that’s the problem with a tunnel… it has to be two way.
Did you hear that? The second rule; being trapped with people you like. As I said it is not always a rule you get to implement, and I may have just heard it, as a rule, be broken. Scarlet and I have only just recently moved into this little cove. Many, all but one, of our neighbourhood households are mostly unknown to us. On our first day here we met our only real next door neighbour, a nice couple, older and seemingly very nice. The lady of the house brought us home baked cranberry cookies on the first day and her husband came by a few days later with a bag of frozen prawns and a business card for a friend of his whom is in need of help in the construction field, a field that I am quite well versed in. I admit that I do not have a strong desire to return to the construction industry however; it was a very nice gesture and one that I am sure I will explore some time in the future. I rather enjoy the type of work that I do at the Journeyman level and the pay is very nice, I would just rather do something else. This night however, there seems to be some sort of commotion over there. The quiet makes it rather easy to hear but the actual words are a bit blurry. It seems that there has been an accident of some kind and several of the neighbours are involved. I can hear the conversations moving along the far row of houses. These people have, I believe, lived beside each other for several years. All are retired and have an average age of 70-ish. It is very much a retirement community. They have regular dinners together and though we have not been invited to one we have also been widely unavailable for such events should they have tried. But now it seems there is something going on and not really being one for all that good neighbour stuff, I mean I would of course help out with something should I be asked or would try to attend a dinner, Scarlet and I are content living in our house and our corner lot away from the rest of them keeps us a certain distance from the gossip. Now it seems that the complete and total lack of outside world happenings has dragged me into a level of interest in what may be occurring. Not to mention that the lack of sleeping and constant quiet has done little to entertain me in the last few day. Bottom line is I am curious, and intrigued by what is causing such a stir. My mind has been set afire with possibilities and I can’t help myself but listen intently trying to discover what has this little cove in such a state.
Wow, there is a lot of snow out there. I went out to see if there was going to be an easy way for me to get down the street to where I could have a little look but it is not going to be easy, the snow is up over my waist, about a meter worth of the cold powder and though it is easy to walk through it is impossible to see what it is your walking on. I am not so familiar with the landscape that I know just where the drops and ditches are. And the snow has made the landscape very flat. I know where the driveway is and I know it leads to the road and I know the road goes to their houses so, I should just be able to walk down and over just like I would if I were a car. OK wholly crap, I am almost certain I hear the word dead! I was outside getting ready to try this and I heard, in a woman’s voice scream out or cry out ‘he’s dead’. And now I am sure there is a second woman’s voice yelling back ‘I never killed him’. There was a bit of a commotion and a few murmurs from deeper voices and now it is quiet. But not altogether quiet, there is defiantly talking going on but it is certainly a whisper now. OK, OK, I know I am tired, I know it’s late at night, I know I can’t really be sure of anything I hear but fuck me, things just got a whole lot more interesting around here!
Scarlet thinks I’m crazy, but then she probably always did but now I am hooked. I have formulated a plan. I am going to take the road over just like I planned, I have the red color gel over the end of my Mag light, that way it is really a lot harder for anyone to see the light the flashlight shines, you can see the source so you have to just remember to always keep the flashlight shining down, oh and keep it in a wide throw beam, tight and bright can be noticed. I am just going to go on over and see what I can see, it seems to be quiet over there now so I don’t really expect much but it’s only been a couple hours since I heard all that ruckus so you never know. I am kinda tripping, this is a bit exciting, even if it is all in my head, woo hoo! good times.
First let me start by telling you that I have discovered a whole new form of cold. It was not as hard as I thought it would be moving thru the snow it was a bit like walking in a pool, well a lot like it really but freaking cold! I bundled up nice and snugly and by the time I was half way down the street I was sweating like mad, so hot but you can’t really do much about that cause snow as we all know is cold and well, you can figure it out. Open the jacket in goes the snow. What I did find out though is it seems that a couple of the neighbours combined households. There was only one that had a fire going and it looked like most of the people were in that one room. There was a lot going in for 3am I don’t think they have ever been up that late since we moved in here. The whole place was closed up tight and I could not hear what they were talking about but at one point a couple of the older guys came out and were talking about how they should take care of this before the snow melts and if they could all agree to a story it would be just fine. I tried to stay longer but just sitting there in all that snow was not the warm. I am telling you something is up over there.
Stupid Stupid Stupid! I can’t believe it, I got to sleep last night and when I woke up this morning I started telling Scarlet what I had witnessed last night. We had some coffee over the fire and while we tried to come up with something creative to eat I looked outside. What an dumdass I was. There I was thinking I would be so sneaky going out at night with the red light and all and this morning there is a path in the snow that leads from their backyard right to my front door. How could I miss this. Of course there would be a path in the snow, idiot! This is bad real bad, there is no way for them not to see that, they see that and they know I was over there. They know that I know. Wait, they don’t know when I was there so they know that I was there but can’t know what I saw or heard, ok that’s not so bad. Not so bad!, my god I’m losing it. What does it matter what they think I know they think I know something and if there is something bad to know over there they have to believe that I now know it. Shit! We’re fucked! They will be coming for us for sure. Shit shit SHIT!
I love Scarlet, she just calmed me right the hell down. She is probably right that I am making all this up and getting caught up in my own little world. It’s not like it doesn’t happen all the time, I mean I am a writer, that’s what I do I make shit up. Plus I have to calm down cause done is done. I should have, looking back now, when I was out there made a whole bunch of paths, run around, make it look like I was playing in the snow, like we, were playing in the snow. That way there wouldn’t have just been one path there would have been many. Oh well one for the memory banks, won’t be making that mistake again, ha ha! Plus come on, lets be real I am just getting a little stir crazy right? Even Scarlet is getting a little crazy though she does seem to be getting quite a laugh out of my behaviour. I guess looking at it a certain way it does seem a little crazy. SHIT…SHIT.. there are a couple of the older guys from next door standing up on something looking and pointing right at the path, SHIT, they are pointing right to the house. Oh fuck! Crap crap crap now there is another guy, and a girl, they are all coming to have a look at this big fucking arrow I left in the snow with the words ‘I WAS SPYING ON YOU” practically written alongside it. If I am making this all up or not even Scarlet agrees, there are quite a few people taking a look and talking about that fucking path I left in the snow, and now I have to try to keep her calm.
OK so this is what we know. If they never knew we were home before they know we are now, and of course they knew they saw smoke from our fires, or must have. If they were going to invite us over into their little commune they would have by now, and they know that some time, during the last who knows how long, someone from here went over there. We don’t know when they think we were over there, but if shit happened over there they have to think we know something. On this me and Scarlet agree. So we have decided to just let it go, pretend like nothing is going on, stay inside except to get firewood and hope this fucking snow melts soon. Cause hey, so what if something crazy went on right, shit, they can be drawing straws to see which one they eat next for all I care. They stay over there we stay over here, when the real world returns life will continue as it had. We will wave as they drive by and so will they.
I have accumulated all the weapons. We have moved everything into the living room we need and placed coverings over the windows. I have creatively booby trapped all the other ways into the house. I have packed all the firewood we have left into the living room as well. This morning when I went out for wood there were paths in the snow all around the house. I must have fallen asleep last night, won’t be doing that again, I never heard a thing. I am a bit freaked but Scarlet is keeping me cool, no matter what else I will keep her safe. I mean come on what am I up against here, 5 old men, I will fuck their shit up, just try me.
It was just a week, a week that was more like ten days but lasted a month. The roads are clear and people are driving by and we are rearranging the furniture, back to a home. A nice hot meal cooked on the stove and the sound of water running down the drain. That was one hell of a snow storm. The TV reports only a few minor traffic accidents and for most of the people in the larger cities there were only a few days of discomfort. We had a few more than that but sure enough the world is once more at our front door. We are off to the grocery store to get some much needed everything. A couple of our neighbours were out there moving snow around we just smile and wave when we see them. They wave back. The little cove is back to normal. We are back to normal. I woke up this morning and saw a couple deer in the yard, they are still burrowing threw the snow to get to something to eat, must have been tuff on them. Wish I knew what to feed them. Soon there will be no traces of the biggest ever single falling of snow on record; soon there will be nothing left to remind us of the event at all. One thing for sure is I am glad to live in such a remote isolated area. I like the peaceful nature of it, the calming effect it has on me. I like that me and my wife can just snuggle down on a cold day and sit by the fire and talk, play cards and dice, enjoy a glass of wine and if we want to, we can get in the car and drive away from here. I like sense of feeling like you are in the great outdoors even though the rest of the world is just 6 minutes away. And I like knowing that the 6 minutes, is just that, 6 minutes, and not a 4 day date with crazy. I like neighbours who wave as they drive by without the feeling that they should talk to you, and I like knowing that even if one of them was killed and buried under the largest single snowfall in history, I will never know.