Right outside the window was Billy's own Cadillac El Dorado Coupe de Ville. He read the stickers on the bumper. "Visit Ausable Chasm," said one. "Support Your Police Department," said another. There was a third, "Impeach Earl Warren," it said. The stickers about the police and Earl Warren were gifts from Billy's father-in-law, a member of the John Birch Society. The date on the license plate was 1967, which would make Billy Pilgrim forty-four years old. He asked himself this: "Where have all the years gone?"
Billy Pilgrim wondering about the passage of time, how he came to be a forty-four-year-old eye doctor in a suburban shopping center. I had a similar moment this morning as I was waiting for my medical procedure. I was sitting in a line of chairs by myself, waiting for the nurse to come collect me. The receptionist had handed me a demographic sheet detailing my contact information, family physician, and insurance, etc. She asked me to review it for accuracy.
Everything was going fine until I came to the box where my age was printed. I actually did a double-take, thinking, "No, that's not right." And then, after it sank in, I thought, "Holy shit, that's right!" It was not a good moment.
Of course, the fact that I was in a hospital, waiting to have an endoscopy procedure because of gastric reflux, is evidence that I am the age that was printed on the paper. Then I started getting a little reflective, about my life, family, accomplishments, failures. I don't want to say that my life flashed in front of my eyes. That is a little melodramatic. I wasn't concerned about dying. I was concerned about my life choices, or, as Billy says, "Where have all the years gone?"
The medical procedure went well. A twenty-minute nap, and I was on my way. The doctor found nothing unusual. Some inflammation in my esophagus and stomach. He took some biopsies, and I will hear about the results in about a week. Not worried. I do not have an alien baby gestating in my chest or abdomen.
I just woke up from a very long nap. I'm feeling good, for a guy my age. It is the beginning of spring break for the university. I have no engagements this weekend, aside from the normal chaos. It is going to be a good weekend.
Saint Marty is thankful this afternoon for being healthy.
|It looks like a flower . . . or an alien mouth|