…if I’m coming or going.

So it is the end of a long day at work and I am making the familiar drive homeward when I notice a vehicle identical to mine pass by, heading the opposite direction back toward the offices of the Henderson Daily News.

“Whoa,” I think to myself, “I can’t tell if I’m coming or going.”

It appears the make and model of my car is a common one, because I see its “relatives” quite often.

One time my daughter noticed this, remarked to me about it, saying apparently we had already gone to the grocery store and are on our way home.

I quipped in response that I didn’t think the “Einstein-Rosen Bridge” was located in Rusk County. I’m pretty sure the reference was lost on her. In fact, I’m not sure I understand it myself.

Sometimes I indulge in this absurd premise and imagine I am peering into the fabric of space-time, that I am actually given a glimpse into the many paths I travel in the course of a typical day.

Naturally it makes sense that I should pass by myself during these travels, though direct eye-contact might be a trifle awkward.

But life is funny and you never can tell just what is around the next bend.

Someone you have not seen or even thought about in ten years can suddenly pop out of nowhere, while close friends can sometimes grow apart or even lose touch in a span of minutes. Couples fall in and out of love with the passing of the seasons. A seeming small trifle of one day may become a turning point that changes your life forever.

Things seldom work out the way you think they do, at least they didn’t for me.

A surly and headstrong boy, who swore he would leave the “one-horse town” he grew up in, finds that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder…  and, eventually, he finds his way back home.

Even though a person might have a vision for what their future holds, to quote John Lennon: “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

One of the most predictable aspects of life is its unpredictability, despite the tendency toward patterns and habits.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote that the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.

I certainly hope not. I feel like I have spent the better part of my nascent maturity gradually breaking myself of the many hindrances which hindered me in my youth. While the wise old Russian certainly has “crime and punishment” pegged, I would like to think I’m capable of surprising even myself by improving with age.

Or, at least, that has been the pattern I’ve observed thus far.

In the course of my vocation, I find there are many of the same appointments to keep week in and week out, but there are an equal amount of surprises and new people to meet.

One day is seldom like the next.

But something tells me that, as I wind around Loop 571 this afternoon and head out for home, I’m liable to see a familiar white Chevy keening back into town.

And I’ll probably wonder, even if only for an instant, if I’m coming or going.


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