Road Traveled Remorse
Posnanski revisits a poem I know mostly for being on the back of every graduation program that was ever handed to me. Given the graduation context, perhaps it’s telling that I wrongly remember the poem to be titled “The Road Less Traveled”.
Inevitably we only have the path we we are on to compare to a hypothetical. You can do that as Frost indicates he will — rationalizing the choice. Equally, you can regret the choice (Road Traveled Remorse).
Compare Frost with the opening scene of Slacker, when a young man* laments to a cabbie about not taking the other road only minutes after the choice.
I mean, it’s like…uh, you know, in the Wizard of Oz…when Dorothy meets the Scarecrow and they do that little dance at that crossroads…and they think about going all those directions…then they end up going in that one direction. I mean, all those other directions, just because they thought about it…became separate realities. They just went on from there and lived the rest of their life. I mean, entirely different movies, but we’ll never see it…because, you know, we’re kind of trapped in this one reality restriction type of thing.
Another example would be like back there at the bus station. As I got off the bus, the thought crossed my mind…you know, just for a second, about not taking a cab at all. But, you know, like maybe walking, or bummin’ a ride or something like that. I’m kind of broke right now. I should’ve done that probably. But, uh, just ’cause that thought crossed my mind…there now exists at this very second…a whole ‘nother reality where I’m at the bus station…and you’re probably giving someone else a ride, you know?
I mean, and that reality thinks of itself as this – it thinks of itself as the only reality, you know. I mean, at this very second, I’m in that – I’m back at the bus station just hangin’ out, you know…probably thumbin’ through a paper. You know, probably goin’ up to a pay phone. Say this beautiful woman just comes up to me, just starts talking to me, you know? Uh, she ends up offering me a ride, you know. We’re hitting it off. Go play a little pinball. And we go back to her apartment, I mean, she has this great apartment. I move in with her, you know.
Say I have a dream some night…that I’m with some strange woman I’ve never met…or I’m living at some place I’ve never seen before.See, that’s just a momentary glimpse into this other reality…that was all created back there at the bus station. You know, shoot. And then, you know…I could have a dream from that reality into this one…that, like, this is my dream from that reality. Of course, that’s kind of like that dream I just had on the bus, you know. The whole cycle type of thing.
Man, shit. I should’ve stayed at the bus station.
* Richard Linklater in the kickoff leg of his relay ramble of a movie
I found the full scene here.