I am a Cancerian gay man with a very strong propensity for nostalgia. I am like a walking and talking sepia photo album with a memory like an elephant (somewhat romantically inclined). Sometimes I walk into furniture and lampposts because I’m so engrossed in reliving one of my favourite memories.
My first snog, the dressing rooms at the swimming pool back in boarding school, “Sigh!” My home is a shrine to keepsakes and memorabilia and it is difficult, at times, to be in the present when there are so many wonderful things from the past to lose myself in. But let’s face it. It’s not very practical and eventually I start sounding like Sophia from the classic TV series The Golden Girls, “Picture it! Sicily, 1963…” No one seems to compare to my first true Love and often in my life things don’t feel half as good as they did the first time I did them. (Except for sex of course, that just improves with age like a merlot or certain types of cheese.)
I’m a freelance actor in South Africa who has scraped by on the odd international commercial for antacids and by directing children’s puppet shows on stranger danger, so I think I qualify as someone who is allowed the occasional flight of fancy and escape from reality. But, I have been introduced to a new philosophy of living in the present and finding the value in it, which I wish to try.
I can understand the value of this as I don’t really want to look back on my life as a series of reruns. So, now as I stand in a longish queue in a shopping centre to buy my deodorant I resist the desire to dwell in the past and revisit my speedo laden youth and instead, I focus on the interesting dye job on the head of the woman in the line in front of me. I can see that she probably did it herself and that parts of her neck and ears are still stained red.
I congratulate myself on noticing her and these aspects of her hair because I’ve been told that God is in the details.
I can be present in the moment and suddenly the world opens up and I am flooded by a torrent of interesting information as it is happening. The couple in the queue next to me are arguing under their breath about who is going to pay as one has cash and the other only credit. The cashier has a diamond in her tooth and one of the roaming managers seems to have a slight facial twitch that occurs every few minutes. This is fun!
I notice that the tiled floors are sticky and grey from what I’m guessing was a burst can of cola and that someone didn’t want their frozen chicken wings and has just abandoned them amongst the Snickers bars at the checkout. I pay for my deodorant and the man behind me is humming Nina Simone and as I put the deodorant into my bag the sticky tiles pull at the soles of my shoes. Someone named Joshua is requested to report to the manager’s office over the system and a toddler in a trolley tries to stick a Fizzer up his nose. I feel like I’m watching Discovery channel!
All the way through the mall and into the parking lot my adventure continues: An elderly couple sharing a joke, a man with red hair and piercings blowing his coffee after burning his tongue and a woman holding a large handbag fishing for her keys. Where have I been? It’s such a relief to not have to think about myself for a while. Wondering where my next gig is coming from and whether or not the guy with the “pecs” is going to accept my friend request on Facebook. There is nothing I can do to change or bring back the past and there is so much cool stuff happening right now I am tempted to text everyone I know and tell them to try living in the moment for sheer entertainment value.
Then there’s living in the future. Will I be famous? Will I be rich? Will I become engaged to Patrick Dempsey? That is also something I can only try to plan for, but if my ultimate goal is to be happy then it doesn’t get much better than enjoying the moment. I might not yet be on the cover of a magazine or interviewed by Oprah but witnessing a woman close half her skirt outside the door of her car and relish the way it ripples in the wind as she obliviously drives away is nothing short of sheer bliss.
by Bruce, from The Naked Drag Queen