Something had to give. Todd had been being Todd for as long as he could remember and probably before that. Todd had read once in a book he couldn’t recall the name of that one’s memory doesn’t develop until one has memories worth making, and that usually began at about 36 years of age and sometimes lasted up to a few months. Todd couldn’t quite recall, as these were side-thoughts occupying only a small sliver of his brain.
The rest was occupied by a wonderful episode of The Snorks and looking forward to the mail. With one eye Todd kept an eye on the screen and with the other the bay window, offering a wide angle of Todd’s suburban street. Outside, he could see what he always saw – George Lazenby tending to his petunias, George Glass working his pumpkin patch, his BFF Fragg fixing his front porch, Wanda Slotterstooth in her front room practicing the viola. If he squinted his ears just so he could make out a few notes of Schubert, but it was difficult to hear over the exquisite Snorks dialogue.
Todd was waiting for a package. Weeks ago, he’d sent away for the Snorks decoder ring he’d seen advertised between episodes. In truth, looking forward to this ring was the only thing sustaining Todd. He’d seen it all – tending petunias and working pumpkin patches and fixing porches and practicing violas – and he’d seen enough. Something has got to give, thought Todd in a way back area of his brain that he could hear only distantly if he squinted his mind just right.
It seemed to Todd that these weeks of waiting had been an infinity. Todd liked to contemplate the infinite every so often during commercials. Infinity, Todd had decided, was a long time, certainly longer by definition than just a few weeks waiting for a decoder ring. And it must be even longer, Todd imagined, than Todd could imagine because it must have started before he began counting and would probably outlast his keeping track. And yet Todd felt intimately a part of the idea, that his soul was connected to and in fact a necessary component of the infinite. He liked that and felt a warm fuzzy feeling embrace his oft-addled brain.
Sitting there half lazily halfway through an episode and half vigilantly watching for the mail, Todd found himself half deep in thought and half letting the time go as if it wasn’t a true entity whose truth had been discovered but a silly and needless invention to occupy our – what else? – time. In that way, later, three weeks later, when his decoder ring would finally arrive, Todd would realize it had only taken half an infinity.
But its instructions would find themselves indecipherable to Todd.