Still Me, I See (The 'Flip-Book' series, No.3)

That was a good stretch, a stretch worthy of Rip van Winkle; now I feel great.

Who am I?  Where is whoever-I-am?  When is this wherever-this-whoever-I-am-is?

I suspect we all go through such a self-interrogation every time we wake up.  At least, I know I do, and it's been a few years since I believed that my mental workings are in any way unique.  The process probably takes about an eighth of a second, and in that time you (usually) arrive at your identity, your location and your timeframe -- although that last one can sometimes be tricksy, eh?

You know the sort of thing.  "Ah, Saturday," you think: "a good yomp over the wolds, lunch and a pint at the Spotty Swineherd, back home in time for another episode of 'Price My Old Tat'* and a takeaway; marvellous," you continue to think -- as Wednesday morning's commuting-window gradually and implacably closes around you.

In the main though, we repossess ourselves without disappointment, and gather our energies for the day ahead.  But what sort of day?  Not until we're at the last page of its flip-book can we know whether it's a day of stoic heroism, boisterous achievement, just marking more time, or some of Pink Floyd's 'hanging on in quiet desperation'.

Imagine for example Rosa Parks, waking up in Montgomery Alabama, on the morning of Thursday 1st December 1955.  She, by all accounts**, didn't intend her day to be as momentous as it turned out to be; she didn't lie abed, thinking "today's the day I strike another blow for Civil Rights".
Or consider United Airlines pilot Al Haynes (one of my personal heroes), in Denver Colorado, on Wednesday 19th July 1989; rising for work with no idea of what he and his crew would achieve in Sioux City Iowa, later that day***.

Then there are the favoured few who shake off sleep in full knowledge of their likely place in history.  Just imagine waking up like this: "Okay, my name's Neil, this is Cape Kennedy, and hmm, I reckon I'm heading for the moon today."
Oh, what I wouldn't give to have felt like that!

Meanwhile, for most of us, it's gratifying enough to have come through another night, and face another day of myriad possibilities.  I think this is one reason why I'd categorise myself as a 'morning person'; I relish the optimism of those possibilities.

So who am I?  Where is whoever-I-am?  When is this wherever-this-whoever-I-am-is?

Okay, my name's Paul, this is an apartment in Stockholm, and today is Wednesday 13th August 1997 (a.k.a. Day Thirteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-One).


* or whatever these antiques-obsessed TV programmes are called.
** my source is the Wikipedia page on Ms Parks.
*** go to either of the following:
     for the astonishing details.

Leave a comment

Add comment