Dancin’ Like a Sneaker
The present is a gift. Live for the moment. Be here, be now.
As a semi-professional daydreamer it’s harder done than said. It’s not that I’m escaping the present. It’s that in my daydream world the future can be just oh-so-enticing. There’s so much to look forward to; so much to hope for, to work for, to be distracted by; so many reasons to end prepositions on. The present is wonderful. But sometimes the future is even more intoxicating with its adventurous ambiguity.
Yet lately I find that the present is winning out. Even I am more and more often knocked back from Cloud World to breathe in the scooter smoke and roasting chicken moments that are Now.
And it’s wonderful.
The other day we started reading James and the Giant Peach in class. After the slap-stick comedy of our first class novel, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I wondered how my Vietnamese 9-year-old students would respond to Roald Dahl. Turns out they love him. They love the Centipede’s manic-depressive voice that I’ve based off a crack addict I knew in college. They love Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker’s terrible British accents that sound a lot like Dick Van Dyke. When we got to the Old-Green-Grasshopper one student told me, “Wow, you sound just like him.” I don’t really know who he meant. Point is, when standardized testing and endless grading subside, it’s really fun to read to kids during work hours.
Typhoon season has brought about its fair share of turning-gurning in our ocean fair. Seems there’s rubbish to wash up in high and low tides. But this week Rainy Season gave way to Gorgeous Sun. For a few brief days Vietnam was returned to her sunny glory. Children cheered, markets danced and birds chirped in a Disney-like way. My never-ending list of unimportant things to do was put aside while I submitted to the demand to go out and trot around.
When hunger pains began a-callin’ the other night I was walking once again. Street Food met me for my adventure. Again and again it demanded that I sit and eat -on miniature plastic chairs with what may have been dirty chopsticks. In a Hollywood-like finale I met up with my long time friend, Dirty Chicken. Dirty Chicken (DC) is that perfect combination of fine protein wrapped in copious amounts of MSG. It might kill me in the long run, but for now it’s dang tasty. And all this Scrumptious was encountered before I’d made it past my own street. DC and I spent a good hour bonding and catching up on each other’s hobbies and cholesterol.
And let’s be honest, the root of all this out-of-character optimism is one big but basic fact: I’m going home for Christmas! It might seem that I’m contradicting myself now, but thinking about what lies only one week ahead of me makes me so happy that I love every minute of the Now. My family is 4.3 days away and, in the words of my second grade choir song, I’m dancin’ like a sneaker, heel and toe . The excitement makes every ounce of Vietnam all the more fun. The Future and the Present have blended together into the perfect holiday cocktail.
Fellow Day Dreamers, I know how you feel. In your wild imagination Anthony Bourdain is right on the verge of calling you to join him. National Geographic is just a blog post away. Your own mind is a siren that can’t be out will-powered. But the present is also just so lovely. Come back from your fairy ride and grasp the tangible! Seize the corny day and live for the cliché moment!
Cloud World may be alluring but only this moment right now, right here can feed you Dirty Chicken.