A Rose By Any Other Etc.

I was sitting in the airport when an announcement came over the speaker system, asking for Jack Cross to go to some gate or another. I heard it and thought, Jack Cross, what sort of a name is that? That’s not a real person, that’s a spy in a really bad thriller, and then I suddenly had this wave of empathy that was entirely unexpected.

Imagine, for a second, that your name was Jack Cross. Can you imagine the pressure you’d feel to live up to the images such a name conjures up? You’d feel as if it was your responsibility to at least have some kind of adventure on a regular basis, and preferably one that involved at least one person bleeding or at least sweating heavily at the end of it.

I’m only slightly exaggerating. “Jack Cross,” or a name like it, has a weird set of preconceptions built into it when you hear it. You hear it, or read it, and your brain starts to fill in blanks in a manner that very likely has nothing to do with whoever actually has that name. It’s not a bad thing, we all do it — but imagine being Jack Cross (or whoever), and knowing that. How would you feel if even you felt disappointed by the person you were, knowing that your name left everyone expecting more than you could deliver?

Is How I Feel Right Now

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few days about the fact that life is time-delayed these days. Last week, I got notice that I had been paid but that the money wouldn’t be available to me for days because of how long direct deposits take. Today, I got notice that my divorce was finalized, and had been for more than a week, but I hadn’t known because the information hadn’t been passed through the system just yet.

Things happen, and then they happen again, days after the fact.

It feels like a lesson in contemporary physics. Instead of thinking that actions and reactions are particularly instantaneous, we learn that’s only true when it comes to events between natural or physical objects. The more abstract the area gets, the longer the delay, perhaps. If I push you, you’ll either steady yourself or fall over immediately. If I push at the edges of an idea, there’ll be the delay where however I push at that idea has to be received by an audience, which then has to translate my new concept into something they understand, and then apply that to the idea in question, and so on.

(To make that last matter more meta; I’m writing this on March 4, 2019, but it won’t be published on this site for some weeks afterwards. See? More delay. Things happen, and then they happen again.)

It’s very strange, and not a little disconcerting, to go through such life-changing events and experience everything that comes with them — all the emotions, all the feelings and thoughts and questions and everything — only to then have a moment of, Wait, this actually happened awhile back and I didn’t realize it at the time. Or, the opposite; to pre-feel everything and panic and stress and know that it’s almost ridiculous because that isn’t actually happening just yet.

I know how I feel right now, but I also know that’s not necessarily based on all the facts at hand.