I hadn’t seen the Harbinger of Change in a number of days. I kept thinking he would pop up somewhere. But he didn’t. This was probably part of his plan all along. Get me thinking about Change and then disappear for a length of time. I considered changing everything. How long I sleep, what I eat for breakfast, my job . . . but in the end, I defied him. I will not change, I yelled to the absent specter of change.
To exercise the thoughts I started to do everything exactly the same. Counting the strokes as I brush my teeth, always parking in the same spot (even circling the block numerous times to make sure I get MY spot), kissing my wife good night at precisely 10:27 each night; anything to avoid change.
Then it happened: I decided to skip the curly fries with my Arby’s Roast Beef Max. I don’t know what possessed me to do something so reckless. I guess I was wearing a nice outfit and I didn’t want the grease on my fingers to find it’s way to my slacks. Whatever the reason, I rued my decision the moment I realized it. I knew that was it: Change would be back . . .
I saw the Harbinger of Change at Target today. He was shopping for socks. I found this slightly humorous but when I asked him about it he simply said: You either grow with Change or it grows you, more nonsensical platitudes. He had some really odd colors picked out and I felt it my responsibility to point out that you should match your socks with either your shoes or your belt. He looked at me with a sense of pity.
So much time worried about what others think, he said plainly, worried about your socks, your hair . . . the opinions of others. He stopped for a moment and seemed to be thinking. But Change is coming for you and opinions will be the least of your concerns.
Indeed, here you are. I chuckled and tried to lighten the moment. He stood quietly, not responding. Hey there fellow, I don’t even know what to call you.
I am the Harbinger of Change.
That’s a mouthful, I laughed. I tried to present myself as care free and easy going, but it was probably obvious that I was not at ease. How about if I call you Harold? Again, trying to insert humour into an uncomfortable situation.
Regardless of what you call me, Change is coming.
So you keep saying. You got any details on that Change?
He shook his head. No, not yet. It’s not time. He replied. But Change is coming. He repeated himself. With that he looked at his watch, set down the socks, and walked out of the store. He never looked back, didn’t say another word, just left. I was certain I would be seeing him again.
The Harbinger of Change came to town today. He was all bluster and bother spouting nonsense about the shortage of time and the days growing shorter. Never one to shy away from a conversation, I asked him where he came from and where he was headed. He said he came from my future and my past was his destination. I chuckled and asked him if I should go ahead and continue with my Wednesday. He looked flat and didn’t answer, apparently unable to appreciate the nuance of my joke.
I invited him in for a meal; he seemed rather out of sorts, and quite honestly, out of his mind. I told him to buy anything from the value menu that he wanted. He seemed bemused by me but went ahead and ordered a burger and fries. I asked if he wanted a Coke. He looked at me oddly, stating that stimulates will not stop the stroke of twelve. I nodded and smiled as if I knew what he was talking about; a sad chap, obviously mad. But as my grandmother used to say: There but for the grace of God, go I. Don’t ask, I don’t really know what it means either, but it seemed to apply to this situation.
He finished his meal and I walked him to the door. I bid him adieu as I climbed into my truck. He told me he would be back as Change never stays away. I nodded in agreement (humouring the poor fellow), waved pleasantly, put my tuck into gear, and departed leaving Change behind in the parking lot.