Back to the Zone

When I was first married, we lived in an apartment on the second floor of a building at the end of a long hallway. It was in one of two identical buildings. We lived in apartment 2Q, a corner apartment. It had better ventilation than the apartments in the middle of the building. It was also quieter being farther away from the elevator.


One day, having taken a bus home from downtown, I went in through the front and walked all the way down the corridor to our apartment. As I started to put my key in the door, I realized that there was a nameplate on the door. It said “2Q, Kincaid.”

My name was not then and is not now Kincaid, but the sign on the door said 2Q. It was the correct unit, but apparently I didn’t live there. I took a deep breath, walked back to the elevator then went back to the flat. It still said “Kincaid.”

I immediately realized what had happened. I had slipped through into a parallel universe. I was in another dimension where I didn’t exist. I’d been replaced by someone named Kincaid.

It took me a while, standing there and staring at the door before it occurred to me that I was in the wrong building. The two buildings were the same and I hadn’t been paying attention.

What’s interesting is not that I went into the wrong building but that I immediately assumed I’d slipped into the Twilight Zone. Would most people, finding themselves in that situation, conclude they’d slipped into a parallel universe? Or would think they had maybe walked into the wrong building? Which would you do?

I  suspect off-center thinking is part of creativity and certainly part of being a writer. A little piece of my brain is always busy recording events as future fodder for writing. Often, even in the middle of what could be a serious — even dangerous — situation, I have a little voice reminding me what a terrific story I’ll get out of it.

The problem with seeing everything as a potential story is that there is a tendency to hold oneself a bit apart, to be more concerned with watching than living. For almost ten years, I stopped taking pictures because I thought taking pictures was preventing me from truly seeing. I felt I was missing the party. Eventually, I went back to taking pictures and photography is the way I deal with the visual elements of life. I can’t stop seeing pictures framed into photographs, so I might as well carry a camera.

Nonetheless, I believe I was partially right. When you see life through a lens or are constantly planning how to write this thing that’s happening, you are not fully engaged in whatever is going on. Is that bad? Perhaps it’s just how I am, who I am. I can’t make myself not see pictures, not hear stories. It’s just how I relate to the world.

What about you?

10 thoughts on “Back to the Zone”

  1. Sticking with the Twilight theme I’ve done this with time as well as location. I’m prone to napping and have awakened thinking it was early morning instead of early evening. Only when my morning TV showed me Dianne Sawyer did I realize I was in the wrong time continuum. 🙂


    1. Still spooky music … I’ve got Twilight Zone really stuck there. I think it came out as a series when I was at a very impressionable age and though I’ve watched so many more things since, that has really gotten stuck right up front 🙂


  2. This sort of thing seems to happen to me a lot lately. I go to the refrigerator to get the ground pepper. But then I go to the pantry looking for the mayonaise. And then I wonder how I ended up in the kitchen in the first place….. 🙂


  3. Love this post! ❤ I needed your little clip for my story on Friday! Definitely Twilight Zone material 😆 I had to smile when I read Gregg’s comments…sounds like he lives in my house 😆 And Bob, I agree…there will NEVER be too much Sci-fi!


    1. There are TONS of Twilight zone clips on YouTube in case you need a different clip. They had about 4 or 5 different openings to the show during its run, so you ca pick the one you like best. I went for one that had pretty good audio (some are hard to hear). But there really are dozens of clips of all kinds … I was a serious fan and really, Garry and I still DVR episodes when they run ones we especially like.

      Even rewatching them, they are really good.


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