…The heavenly powers
Cannot do all things. It is the mortals
Who reach sooner into the abyss. So the turn is
With these. Long is
The time, but the true comes into
Cannibalism got me to eat Taco Bell. I was watching the film Ravenous with a friend and something just came over us. We did not eat food from Taco Bell or from any of the other megaliths of fast food eateries, but at that certain moment, in the early stages of life, it was ordained mutually that the Bell was in order.
This was a small moment; minor distraction from the timeline. It could have been just as easy to avoid the digression and continue with the movie, but it struck us as too funny not to indulge.
I’m thinking about this in my mechanic’s lobby. On the way to work my car ran into trouble. This is after some unexpected plumbing issues that required immediate attention. I am thinking about this because, like a craving for Taco Bell interrupting the movie, these are distractions, minor moments that impede the order of things. But, I don’t quite think of them with the same fondness. This is rattling my mind.
Maybe I should. “To some extent, who we are is about who we are-not.”¹ And yet, if you own a car or own a home these hiccups tend to be expected. It’s only the when that is in the air. Cannibalism inciting Taco Bell, on the other hand, is not so predictable.
So, we stopped the film, got in the car and drove.
Our rendezvous was with the drive up lane. There was no interest in staying to eat (no matter the place we wouldn’t have stayed, but this particular establishment ran its risk of all sorts). We felt compelled to return to our film as quickly as possible before the feelings passed. As if we might return to our senses and go home without said guttural experience and in turn lose a moment strictly for us.
I’m not really certain it was the movie that did it. It may have been the cause, but there are too many factors to weigh. Forever since, though, the film has been intertwined with this one moment. Running through my head with certain charisma and connecting me to this universe in a strange absurdity that makes the act of living feel a little lighter.
I still remember driving to get the food. Pulling up, trying to understand what I was going to order and why. Reaching the drive through window and assisting the teller, bridging the gap between us. I don’t remember what I ordered, but I remember eating it.
Back at my friend’s place, with the movie back on, a new world was rollicking the tracks. Nothing was strange. We were who we were supposed to be. But, different.
These moments capture a time and a place. They present a greater power over the significance of existence. I still cannot listen to Beethoven or read Rimbaud without thinking of the other. A lonesome holiday spent walking to the video store near midnight always comes to mind through the films rented. And Park City, UT is Sigur Rós. That is how it is.
“The ever-opening sky, the wheeling stars and even the nightly stream of crows I watch heading to their evening roosts all become poignant mysteries that speak of greater powers than I will ever fully understand. They surround me, whispering that there is more, so much more, to the world than my small concerns.”²
I consider this as I sit in a maintenance shop, wishing things were different. I’m stuck in a not so beautiful moment; one that begs a recall and insists on something more to the point. “In rather odd senses, I am at war with my own history!” ³
But, maybe that is the point. If you are at all interested in the complicated matter of parallel universes (something recently popularized in shows like Fringe) you may see yourself in another way not dealing with this current predicament. You may see yourself off doing what you intended to do and thus absenting yourself from the moment at hand. But, that version of you not dealing with this current predicament may have also not bridged the gap between cannibalism and Taco Bell. And who knows what curiosities lurk in the waiting rooms of your local auto mechanics.
“The strategies for not-being are critical in formulating
our positive characters, lest we remain in the limbo of
not-being many others,
but of being no one in particular.”¹