Reflecting is not my usual engagement. But the voice on the stage seems familiar as I continue to listen. Who can he be? My grandaunt seems to read my thought. She suddenly laughs, “You know, my nephew up there could have been just as famous as Bill or Elon.” What? I almost fall off the chair. Her nephew? She has only one nephew, and that is my dad! But it cannot be because my dad has ventured into the deepest jungle in South America in search of the legendary Spanish treasures and has not been heard of since time immemorial as far as I can remember. What is he doing here giving such a boring nerd talk to a group of polite but rather outdated audience? What is his hidden agenda? Yes, my grandaunt is right. Dad used to be a brilliant math and science scholar and a futurist. He could have become as famous as one of those names. But he has chosen to go for hidden treasures. Alas, I take after him in the passion for treasure hunting bit.
Then I hear him say, “Finally,…” At last he is ending his talk. I sigh with relief. He is given a great round of applause. Dronesville residents love to applaud. Then I hear chairs moving and people are standing to give him a standing ovation. After all he has been their blue-eye boy. This is his homecoming day.
I wonder how he looks in this strange symbiotic time zone where people of different time episodes co-exist together like me in my 20s meeting myself at 7, and with my dad in his perhaps 40s and so on. A hand touches my shoulder, “Ahem, old boy, I hear you are working and trotting round Europe with my old Oxford friend (namely my boss-an English lord), still charging as strong and as aimless as a young un-yoked bull, albeit being encumbered by a comparatively weak mass of grey matters inside your cranium, how have you been treating life’s fabulous adventures?” He likes bombastic long sentences. Before I can answer him he is already engaged with my boss in a lengthy dissertation comparing the nasty weather in Europe and South America.
Someone nudges my leg. A small voice speaks. What, it’s Gracie the faithful Dronesville dog! I know it’s her. She squeaks. “Hi boss, we better get out of here fast!” She urges. “I don’t want to go to Europe! You hear what they say, nasty weather! Here, take my leash and I will pull you out of here!” She knows I cannot see. Soon we are sneaking out of the hall and making our great escape, far from the madding crowd (Sorry, Mr. Hardy, I can’t help but quote your great title), into another adventure, or so I hope.
Being unable to see the physical world has its pros and cons. I have mentioned the pros in my former blog. Now I am facing the cons, the reduction in speed of motion. Despite Gracie’s great effort she is not much good as a novice guide dog for the blind. I bump into so many obstacles all the way as we race down the Dronesville Main Street until I no longer care what or who I happen to knock down. I can hear siren behind me. Are the law after me? But Gracie is adamant that we get out alive. She is pulling me like the great and noble champion husky from Siberia. What a sight we two must be making. I can hear not only siren but footsteps running behind. The street must be full of stuff and angry people we knock down or overturn…but we keep on running, soon followed by a growing crowd of runners some of whom do not even know why they join in. (To be continued)