Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time Travelling with a Toyota and Baba O' Riley:2.2

No one had a time machine (that we know of), or even a cell phone in 1974.

But now that I have a time machine, a trusty but tattered 2000 Toyota (I used it for time travelling only once before...see this journal entry..stardate 2008); and a cell phone camera to capture proof of my visit..

Let me say I am glad to be back.
I have expected Christopher Lloyd to be in the passenger seat, and the numbers to fall off the clockface.

I just found out, and post here photographic evidence from my Toyota Time Machine odometer,
that I grew up 2.2 miles from my current home.

It has been a tricky trajectory that has brought me to  live in Fresno again, but here I am.

Okay, I have some explaining to do.

I had an hour to prayer walk...better yet, "long-wandering-prayer-walk" (Tip of the hat to David Hansen).
So I hopped in my time mach..uh, Toyota...and drove the 2.2 miles from my current home
to my old home. I parked and walked my old haunt for an bour or so, and then returned home.

Now I have some disorganized, long-wandering, crappy, slappy-happy-first-draft, scribbled post-it notes to somehow transform into a timely blog about me revisiting my past. (I am tempted to throw them out, but maybe John Titor has need of them..

I am not Donald Miller, Anne Lammott...and am not even myself.
But I feel the notes are designed for a rambling and messy memoir (the only kind there are) about a few years of life, forty years odd or so.

I will not even blog a final draft...Anne Lammott would never do that, do you know what she calls her first draft?

The random memories that were evoked as I passed points on my pilgrimage and places of my past, were randomly (uh, sovereignly) soundtracked by the songs on my cellphone player. Somehow, the songs I heard in the earpiece juxtaposed and choreographed me.

Best music video I have ever seen, and I got to be in it, to boot.

Of course many of the songs on my "shuffle mode" were by artists who weren't even born when I suddenly moved from Fresno to New York in 1974. But oddly, the last one, "Baba O'Riley" (commonly known as "Teenage Wasteland," from 1971, was indeed. That album was my lifeline back then.

The song is a five minute song that has lasted my whole life.

So I found that the lyrics were leaping points to memories.

How boring it would be for you to hear me retell them, and how arrogant I would be to think you should care....but I once learned (Thanks, Andy) that the more particular and personal the memory, the more universal and relateable others will find it.

"Out here in the fields..":

Yeah, there is the field I walked across to school...of course, now it is an office complex (They pave paradise, you know). The one where, on one very foggy day, some older kids condescendingly tried to convince me the school, as it was invisible ahead due to fog, was no longer there. I thought they'd attempt to beat me up..obviously no one could see us...but they left me alone. And here I was, decades later, realizing all I..and anyone..is called to do is brave the fog, illusion, and bullies...and do the Psalm 119:105 thing.

The Sunday morning when our first child was born, and we were told he might not make it, I preached (to myself) to the congregation from that Psalm: "Turn off the high beams and relax!" (You can laways tell newcomers and visitors to Fresno as they turn on the high beams in the fog, not knowing it makes viewing harder, not easier."  God made the world round, so we don't see too far down the road.

Then the next lyrics!:

I don't need to fight To prove I'm right

Nah, just go to school. Don't return foggy evil for evil; don't fight...even though sometimes the school isn't there. Fight is flight.

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland:

Here is the spot where I cried, 1974. No historical marker. But in that same field, the spot where I dropped to me knees and couldn't not cry; as my dad informed us hours earlier we would be moving.

My blood still cries from the ground...

You get the idea. But who told The Who about my time travel? Way too bizarre.

There's the KFC where I had my first cigarette....when the building was still under construction, and my across-the-street-neighbor (who shall not be named or incriminated) found it a safe place to hide.

I didn't smoke again for a few years.
But the cross-continental move moved me into a spiral and disorientation that saw me smoke more than tobacco to medicate me:

Put out the fire
And don't look past my shoulder.

Then the sidewalk..where is it now, where is that spot where we all wrote our name in the cement? Surely this weathered sidewalk hadn't been recast in all these years? And hey, wouldn't the fact that I was here by time-travel take care of that... Nah, no luck.
But I did find this...proof the sidewalk was original...and just maybe a message from the past for me; "I love you -P.M. -6/26/69."

Not much doubt I walked this sidewalk on the way home from school in 1969..but June 26, that would be summer; no school. Maybe that was the day I got caught stealing Hostess Sno-Balls from Gong's Market the store adjacent to the sidewalk. You know, I was such a conscientious kid; the lecture Mr. Gong gave me likely saved me from a life of crime...(:
..though I have stolen a lot since then: time from God, hope from loved ones, tithes from the storehouse, sermons from Andy...

Oh my, I see the sign in the next store that Mr. Gong is still around, and owns the whole complex. I thought how wild it would be to find him and thank him for saving my life, but a voice intervened. I recognized it. It was God, and/or Roger Daltrey:

I don't need to be forgiven. yeah,yeah,yeah,yeah,yeah

This was way too much holy hyper-linking to my past. Though it was holy, it was humorous.
Healing, even. But I felt the tug to turn it practical..I hadn't expected this "Ghost of Christmas Past" guided tour...and the movie unfolding before me..

But first, one more object lesson, very current to what I have been learning back here in the 21C:

Porous boundaries. Liminal space. Thin places. Centered and Fuzzy sets.

That is...

Here was my childhood home; the slightly jagged cement cut-and paste job where we added a room to our house still visible. I wandered if I tried to walk through it, it would be the Pevensies' wardrobe, or a time-machine back to my own zone and time and place (Don't worry, I didn't really consider that possibility...but Donald Miller might say something like that, and much more eloquently).

And Miller's new book, I remembered, was

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life.

That's exactly what I found myself doing this day; this hour...2.2 miles in an bour.

Then I was reminded of the (pen)ultimate reason for this pilgrimage and privilege:


Names came to mind, as I passed the place of my first kiss (nah, I won't tell that name), homes of my school friends, my neighbors and enemies.

I'll even list some of you here, maybe some of you will Google this and reconnect. You were on my heart and in my prayers

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older.
Just a few...at random:

Denise Heimerdinger England.
Cheryl Beinhorn.
Alan Dale Horde.
Nicky Smalldino.
Melissa Proudian.
Don "Butch" Able (RIP)
Scott Walkingstick.
Steve Malde.
Kathy Back.
Keith Moser...

Incredible, there is still a sign in front of The Mascarenas' home proclaiming they still lived in the same house 39 years after they moved in.

But so do I.
That's my problem.
That's my joy.

Sally, take my hand
We'll travel south cross land
Put out the fire
And don't look past my shoulder.

Its only teenage wasteland

But it's only holy, as well.

Nothing wasted in the economy of God, as John Wimber used to say.

So I'm done blogging for today. This will not be very polished pesher; I don't have time to perfect this post, and make it more prophetic or prophetic.

As if time travel itself wasn't prophetic enough...
And by the way, for you skeptics, I brought back a couple artifacts from the past. I was able to snag a KYNO playlist from 1972 (click to enlarge..as Keltic Ken will do)...the station I first heard "Baba O'Riley" on, about that time.

And yes, an elementary school class photo. I'll post it here, and on Facebook, and tag my former self, when I finally return to the present.
(yes, I am in the blue striped shirt and sweater, in front row)

And I likely won't have time to time travel for awhile...though if I need to, I've got Google Earth to visit my old land and life.

Besides, I have heard about "The Problem With the Follow-up Memoirs:
and I intend to blog mostly about the future...if not from it.
some of those names are in this phoo
I have read in the Scriptures that's the only sane way to live in the present.

See you in 1969, P. W., whoever (and whenever) you are.
Thanks for the note on the sidewalk along my timewalk.

I get my back into my living.

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