Barasti and being 23

Peter, Luke and Mark* (* actual names) met each other in a buzzling upmarket beach bar in the middle of the desert.  An oasis of televisions, live music and beer.  Paul, Matthew and John and the other six apostles were nowhere to be found.  Probably fishing.

We were young

We were young

The three met in the Bruce Willis section of the bar.  Where pecs, biceps, twelve hour stubble and weird hair were trying to impress high heels and plunging necklines.  The obvious problem being that the ratio was totally skew.  With 7 testosterone fuelled young men for every one girl.  The poor ladies all seemed like a deer caught in headlights.  Well not all of them.  Other were enjoying the free drinks, but had this weird it’s-you-and-your-hand-tonight sparkle in their eye.

Peter, Luke and Mark were observing this mad scramble for attention from a distance, for two reasons: (1) Marriage and (2) Maturity.

Eventually observing the ridiculousness became boring and the woman screeching through a melody to the monotonous beat of a loud drum a bit overwhelming.  It was rowdy and very loud.  Conversation was basically impossible.

They moved one level up to the James Bond section of the bar and sighed with relief.  The vibe was chilled with tables and couches scattered throughout.  Mature people were drinking whisky and settling comfortably listening to the live band.  Mellowness took over.  There was a few girls dancing on a small dance-floor surrounded by more desperate men.  They submitted more proof to the well-known fact that (1) White men can’t dance and (2) Desperation is never a good move.

Peter, Luke and Mark continued their discussion on the ignorance of youth and how it’s wasted on the young.  The guys on the dance floor were totally oblivious to the fact that their dance moves resembled a man taking a piss against an electric fence.  Way too much gyration of the lower half of the body.  And flinging your arms around like a windmill in heat should never be considered cool.  One must never consume that much alcohol.  Ever.

What Peter, Mark and Luke didn’t realise whilst sharing their endless wisdom, was the copious amounts of beer waiters were carrying to their table.  And the well known fact that beer causes people to grow younger.

Luke showed the first signs.  He stood up unannounced, hands in pocket, and had this very unnatural swing in his hips.  Mark and Peter should have realised immediately what was happening, but it was too much fun watching other people making asses of themselves.  Maybe they didn’t really want to.  But the evidence was clear.  The three friends were growing younger.  Yes, it didn’t lighten the dark spots on their hands or filled the crevices around their eyes but it was happening…

Mark was next to go.  He sat back in his chair and lifted his arms high, moving them like anemones on the sea bed.  In his mind he was matching the beat of the music.  It seemed more like a deaf-mute musical number.  Peter was laughing hysterically, until the band started playing that awesome eighties hit…  And he was lost too.

The next moment all three prophets were standing, growling like a pack of hungry wolves, focused on the dance floor, and the promise of release.

All restrictions held together by their grey hair and perceived wisdom; fell off like melting snow in the spring sun.  Landing on the ground with a loud POOF.  It didn’t matter whether they could dance or not.  It only matter that they had too.  They were turning younger by the minute.

Yes they were...

Yes they were…

To cut a very long story short, Peter, Mark and Luke ended up as 23 year olds in the Bruce Willis section of the bar.  Standing on a beach, jarring their fists at the DJ who was pumping beats into the Middle Eastern sky.  They were celebrating.  The night for being dark.  The music for having a beat.  The air for being invisible.  They celebrated being 23.  Being alive.  Letting loose.  And they had more beer.

Finally it ended.  It was time to go home and they parted with enthusiastic high five’s and brotherly embraces.  Never to  meet again.

***

Peter woke up two hours later to catch a flight back to his actual home, but stayed in bed for a moment after the wake-up call came.  Running through the nostalgia of the night before, trying to crack a smile.  But Peter could only manage a silent curse as he swung his legs off the bed.

The problem was that the mind of the 23 year old was still stuck in the body of someone slightly older.  And the body wasn’t impressed about the abuse he had to endure a few hours before.  So it was going to be a very long flight.

An open letter to Father Time

Dearest Father Time

Guardian of moments, Provider of anguish, Governor of opportunity, Healer.  I would have liked to mail this letter to you, but as you’re always on the move and have a habit of never leaving a forwarding address, I had to revert to the only mode of communication I think you might end up taking a glimpse of.  Here’s hoping, anyhow.

It is important for you to browse the words, meticulously crafted together in one marvellous apology.  An apology on behalf of the human race.  I have to admit that I didn’t get permission or a proxy to represent mankind in this endeavour, but I’m sure they’ll thank me later.  This apology has been overdue for a very long… well, time.

From that very first moment when our naked bodies are plucked or squeezed from our mother’s womb, you become an integral part of our existence.  Right up there with oxygen and breast milk.  As crying, wriggling infants we might not be aware of that fact, but our parents are.  They’re already thinking of the day when we won’t wake up eight times in the night, poo ourselves and cry, just because we can.  They’re going through the motions and wait anxiously for time to pass so that we can turn into bigger versions of ourselves.  Upgrades who can sit, shit, talk and walk, by ourselves.  Please forgive them, as every parent has done it at some point, but it’s a normal reaction as a result of little or no sleep, limited knowledge and heaps of frustration.  Every parent in those early years of our kids existence are just happy they made it through another day.

Point is we’ve been on your case to move.  We’ve been urging you along.  Maybe even sitting on a horse, threatening you with the long, rolled up whip in our holster.  Encouraging you to run a little faster.

And it continued for a few years.  Just when we think the next era of raising children would be better than the previous, we sit anxiously discussing the risks/challenges of the next phase.  What would they be like as teenagers?  Will they make good friends?  Will they find love?  Will they be happy?  Instead of taking the time to exhale and enjoy the moment.  And I’m sorry.

But one day we wake up, and it’s a seemingly normal day.  The sun shines brightly in the clear, cobalt blue sky.  Birds chirp happily, greeting each other enthusiastically as they watch the butterflies partying on flower petals.  And man knows instinctively that something changed.  There is a shift in the cosmos.  Man feels it brewing deep in his soul, and his body tenses in anticipation of the event.  Then the kid walks into the room and it hits him.  A ton of bricks crashes through the ceiling.  An eruption, the likes last seen by the citizens of Pompeii.

The children have grown up!  Little adults has taken over the bodies of the toddlers that was living in the house the day before.  And it hurts, not like being punched in the gut by Dwayne Johnson, No, it hurts like when your heart is suddenly withering away, and the agony spreads through your limbs.  For in that instance man knows that his lost something he didn’t realise he had in the first place.

And we blame you.  Again.  This time we’ll be throwing insults and emotions at you, like an African hippo spreading his shit in the water. Futile and senseless.  For those moments are gone forever.  The sand has flowed through the opening and is now laying on the bottom section of the hour glass.  Moments will rush into memory, moments connected to all those missing years, the lost opportunities and the countless times when we should have cherished time.

We will blame you for following our wishes; for speeding up time.  And I’m sorry.

And then there is the blasphemy, the biggest sin we commit against you; when we pray for our weekends to arrive.  I’m sorry that we are ignoring the fundamental gift of a day, for taking that opportunity and throwing it carelessly over our shoulders.  A spoiled brat who doesn’t like the Christmas gift he received from his uncle.  We all sit in a heap of wrapping paper and a wide array of toys, but we’re unappreciative.  Just race past the five days we have to get to another weekend.  In so doing wishing away more than three-quarters of our life.

We want you to be Usain Bolt for five days and then sit on the pavement like a homeless person for the next two.  I’m truly sorry that we can’t make up our minds.

The ironic thing about this apology is that there are no guarentees that mankind will stop our behaviour and take a moment to truly appreciate the awesomeness of life and the opportunities you provide daily.  And you might ask what is the value of an apology if the behaviour is not going to change. For that I do not have an answer, but know this: I might be the only person who wrote you an apology but many other great humans have commented on the value of your existence and acknowledged your body of work.

People like Abraham Lincoln who said:  “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” or

CS Lewis who wrote: “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an  hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

(Many more snippets of wisdom have been sprinkled across centuries, and the Internet was kind enough to collect most of them.  Just ask Google or Firefox for access.)

Mankind may never fully understand how important time is.  We most probably will continue throwing wishes and insults at you for being too quick or too slow.  However there is one fundamental truth:

At the end of our journey you hand the baton of life over to the Grim Reaper who’s waiting for every human on this planet, or any other planet for that matter.  Here’s hoping that for every baton you hand over, you’ll be doing it with a smile, for that would imply that the person you’re representing in those final moments, understood the concept of time at least once in a crucial moment of his life.

Yours sincerely

Ah dad…

PS – I know I’ll make you smile.  At least once.  And it was today.