There is a small case on the floor in my office.
I have had it a long time.
I keep things associated with my guitar in it. Spare sets of strings, a tuner, capos, guitar straps and picks, cleaning oils, leads, distortion pedals and so on.
On the top of the case is a thin strip of paper sticky-taped to the lid, and on that strip are the typed words: "The future is unwritten."
I must have put it there in a rare philosophical moment. Probably in my youth when I had philosophical moments.
It seems particularly apt in our current predicament.
I try once again to be philosophical. I say to myself, "live in the moment". I say, "we can only know who we are in the present".
I say out loud, "surrender, every single second of the future is entirely unknowable to me."
"What did you say?" my wife calls out.
I feel good being philosophical and pondering the universe.
It doesn't make me feel like the dalai lama, but I wander back into the kitchen with a slight Leonard Cohen aura.
That's when I start to hear it.
The soft rhythmical thud.
It would be mildly calming if it wasn't so annoying.
I try to be philosophical again. "That sound is not annoying me, it is but the echo of my heart beating."
No, it's not.
It's my teenager throwing jabs, hooks and uppercuts into the big training bag that hangs from the ceiling of the garage.
And I'm telling you. You can't see into the future.
I bought that punching bag years ago, when he asked for one for his birthday.
I swear I never saw him use it. Years passed. So frustrating.
The bag just hung there, forlorn and redundant like some discarded samurai warrior, pensioned off by the emperor.
Now it's thud, thud, thud, day in and day out.
Jab, hook, uppercut, jab, hook, uppercut.
He spins and inflicts a high kick to the chest of the warrior, resets and resumes.
His once soft, video-game body is transforming in front of my eyes.
He is a picture of discipline.
He bows as he enters and leaves his makeshift dojo as a sign of respect for the ancient teachings of karate.
The future is unwritten.