Friday, August 08, 2008

the hazards of living on borrowed time [repost]

[i decided to repost this because i'm standing at a crossroads as i think many of us are...perhaps a catalyst is in order...]

*originally posted 5.2006*

we interrupt our regularly scheduled 'roots' programming to bring you a slice of reality...

death has struck upon my family's door once again. yet again, no one saw it lurking outside in the driveway, standing in its charcoal cloaking with its scythe in its hands. when the doorbell rang, i thought it was a friend stopping by for a visit. i was wrong. or was i?

either way, we had no way to prepare for it.

one of my best friends lost her father yesterday morning after a violent attack left him incapacitated following a stroke brought on by the attack. the reasoning behind the attack? inconsequential, cuz nobody deserves to go out like that.

our families were really like one big family. the kids grew up together and for a while, her father was like another father for me. i didn't see him much after her parents divorced but i still thought of him as a father figure. when i found out he died, i was in shock. i still am, really.

this will be the fourth funeral i attend this year. the fourth. in the previous four years i've only attended ONE funeral.

you ever feel like the more funerals you attend, the closer death is creeping towards YOU? i can't help but feel this way. i think it's because death has never really been all that far away from my family. my dad was killed when i was three. my mom was diagnosed with lupus when i was nine. i've always felt a sense of impending loss, like my life and the lives of those around me was really on borrowed time.

like every day at dawn i had to renew the loan of the seconds making up the span of my lifetime.

"hello! welcome to the the time bank. how can we help you?"

"i would like to borrow some time, please."

"time? what kind of time?"

"uh, the kind that will allow me to live longer. DUH."

"don't take that tone of voice with me, miss. you're a RISK. we might never see the repayment of our time before you kick the bucket. after all,

1. you're black, which means you're more prone to hypertension and other ailments that can cut your time short.
2. you're female, which means you're more likely to have your time stolen by heart disease than a man.
3. you're a bon bon away from being a fat cow, which means you're more likely to get diabetes. you know...that one there steals more time from our bank than people realize."

"hold up! i am NOT a fat cow"

"ma'am, i wouldn't finish that if i were you...YOU are here requesting a loan for time from US, remember?"

"yes, yes. just give me the damn time and i'll be on my way."

"before my bank is comfortable with loaning you this time, we need to learn a few things about you first."

"this is a black thing, isn't it? you're gonna turn me down cuz i'm black. you racist motha..."

"of course this is a black thing, ms. indigo! being a black female places you at a higher risk for all of the things mentioned previously as well as HIV. we could very well be wasting our time by loaning it to you. "

"whatever, dude. i won't even get into the discussion about how inherent socioeconomic inequality as established by a history of racism in america has contributed to my higher risk status. i don't have time for that. just tell me what you need so i can get my time and get out of here. as you can see by the hourglass right here, i'm down to a few granules..."

"ahhh yes. okay, let us get on with it then, shall we? what is it you plan to do with this time?"

"what do you need to know that for?? as long as its legal, which it is by the way, you don't need to know what i'm using it for."

"madam, it is our right to ask because it is our time you are seeking to borrow from us."

"uh...then can i get back to you on that one? i haven't really thought it out. right now i figure i'll just use it to stay alive for another day or so."

"but what do you plan on DOING with this 'day or so'? you cannot simply WASTE it! that would not be a good investment for us..."

"wait! i don't plan on WASTING it per se...more like just using the time to uh, figure out what i wanna do with the time i'll be requesting from you in the future."

"let me see if i understand you are telling me you desire this time to contemplate what you plan on doing with the time you think you shall be getting from my bank in the future? what kind of bull-cocky is that??"

"bull-cocky? this an american bank? what american says bull-cocky???"

"do not insult me, miss indigo. as i have said previously, you have need of us more than we have need of you."

"not necessarily...if not for folk like me, your bank wouldn't even exist."

"this conversation is going off on a tangent and i have not got all day."


"i find no humor in your demeanor. let us are going to use the time we loan you to figure out what you are going to do with future time. time that you are not even promised to have. that sounds like a wasteful endeavor to me, miss indigo."

"look...i'm almost OUT of time. if you don't hurry up and give me the damn loan i'm gonna die, therefore making the loan totally unnecessary!"

"hmmm...just one more question..."

"WHAT?!? what do you need to know??? am i a good risk? NO. i eat junk food and don't work out as much as i should. i'm a nico-nut and i don't get enough sleep at night. emotionally, i'm a wreck and have contemplated suicide on numerous occasions. i drive like a maniac and will dive into the deep end of a pool despite the fact i only know how to doggie paddle. i drive like a lunatic and work in an office building with asbestos in it. i have no clue on how to protect my heart from being broken and i'm always leaving my emotions out for people to trample upon. i have an addictive personality which means i'm a bottle of thunderbird away from being an alcoholic. i'm a braves fan, which guarantees i'm gonna get fucked up the ass without protection every damn year. now...ARE YOU SATISFIED???"

"just one more question, miss indigo."


"do you want to live?"

"what kind of question is that you silly bank...GUY! of COURSE i want to live. that's kinda why i'm HERE BEGGING YOU FOR MORE TIME!"

"what you speak of is not necessarily living. what you want is to borrow time for the purpose of thinking about living. why ask for more time when you waste it on thinking about what you're going to do instead of using it to go out in the world and actually do it? what is the point of having more time when you spend it so carelessly? obviously it is not valuable enough to you for you to even make a request for additional time. am i concluding correctly?"

"that was more than one question, sir."

"ms. indigo, stop avoiding the issue. this is a matter of the utmost importance."

"whatever. isn't planning important, though? i mean, i can't act if i don't have a plan."

"yes, but how much time do you spend planning, miss indigo?"

"mister bank...whoever the hell you are...all i want is more time. that's all. my request is simple. why are you making this so difficult???"

"because, ms. indigo, our time is the rarest resource on the planet. it cannot be reproduced so we cannot expect to have it returned to us in its original form. we loan out time because it is what we do, but there is little, if any profit from it."

"what do you mean by that? you're a BANK. what kind of bank would exist without profit??"

"i said we make very little profit from it, miss indigo. time does no good in the world if it is not spent with great care and it is only when it is spent with care that we see the benefits from it. unfortunately, out of all of the time we loan out, only a small percentage of people actually use time to their advantage and the world's benefit. we have had to find a way to stay afloat with the efforts of this group of people, but i fear we will reach a point where we will no longer be able to loan out time and will instead be forced to loan out furniture."

"in other words, you need me, too."

"yes, miss indigo...we need you."

"I TOLD YOU! alright, alright! i'll spend it wisely. i'll eat healthier. i'll be more productive with my time. i won't waste it with people who don't value it. i'll try harder to protect myself from hurt. now GIVE ME THE DAMN TIME!"

"ms. indigo, please control your temper. here is the agreement. please read it carefully and sign and initial at the bottom."

i, _________________, do hereby promise to pay back the amount of 86400 seconds in quality time with my family and/or volunteer work with a worthy charitable organization. i can also pay back this time in the act of taking care of myself and using each moment to help me reach my goals. if i fail to honor the terms of this agreement, i will burn in the fires of hell forever.

"don't you think that last part is just a bit harsh, mister bank dude?"

"i do not make the rules, miss. i just enforce them."

every morning i meet with that cat. every morning i sit with pen in hand, pondering whether or not i will commit myself to honoring my time by spending it wisely. i'm hard-headed. sometimes i have a sense of entitlement that has me believing i got plenty of time while at other times i have a sense of impending doom that has me believing i'll meet death with my next breath. or maybe it's that i know i don't have much time but i care too little about it to do anything about it. either way, death is out there in the shadows and i won't be able to elude him forever and he ain't delaying his introduction to me as i continue to waste time sleeping through life, dreaming about what i'm gonna do.

death is creeping closer still. i gotta stop taking these sleeping pills.