“There is this theory of the Moebius. A twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop from which there is no escape. So when we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again.”
This was what Worf and Geordi Le Forge in Star Trek, Next Generation said when they encounter a vortex that might have captured the Enterprise and her crew. It was also sampled by Orbital to produce one of my favourite tunes as a student.
But it could very easily have been said about any given day, game or meal that I experience with my 2-and-a-half-year-old son, Mr. T.
The games that he plays always follow the same patterns and everything must be done in exactly the right way or he gets very annoyed.
We go through the same arguments when we ask him to come to the table and eat something, and yet, once he is at the table he eats pretty well.
He wants to read the same books at night, watch the same DVDs and listen to the same music.
His tantrums can be predicted, from the pre-tantrum stage via the vehement, face down, heart-felt crying to the post-tantrum that usually involves giggles while the last few tears make their way down his face.
He says the same things whenever we get into the car, see a bus or a tractor, or meet a dog on a walk.
Everything just happens again and again and again. There is nothing new, no variation on a theme, no single, life changing moment. Just one endless loop, going around and around and around.
We have done the first steps, the first words and the first trip to the potty. What else is there to do except just stare at my smartphone while he crashes his big white car into the small red one for the thousandth time?
Except it isn’t like this. It just seems as if it is.
This is not Captain Pickard being doomed to destroy his ship over and over again because small things are changing all the time.
The games change imperceptibly. The arguments about dinner get fiercer. Over time, certain books, DVDs and music get dropped, to be replaced by others. The tantrums get longer (but they are still followed by a smile). The pronunciation of the words comes closer to the norm bit by bit.
Writing this blog has helped me because I am able to look back and see the amazing changes that have taken place over the last year or so, but which get lost in the day-to-day minutiae of being a dad.
But whatever it takes, I need to remember to put down the smartphone and start paying attention to all the small changes because whatever has happened, will never happen again.
I am now over half way through ‘1977’ by David Peace. It is the follow up to 1974 and just as bleak and violent. This one is also set in the north of England to the backdrop of a hot summer and the jubilee. There are murders, rapes and police brutality a plenty.