Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
My high school class will have a milestone reunion next year, which I hope to attend. I went to the 20th reunion and while delighted to see some people, found no need to stay in touch with people then. I was still at a stage in life where drifting and the unattached life were necessary and I hadn’t yet yearned for connection to my home town and those who stayed behind. For some reason I was still angry at it, at my childhood, at myself. I wasn’t sure why – actually, I suspect I did know – it had to do with bemoaning my fate, not having answers as to why I was who I was, and not being in possession of the courage to be authentic. I was exploring the Adult Children of Alcoholics concept, which I found valuable, but not invaluable. My two stints at a commercial bank ended with my boss, a man whom I thought a friend, permanently blocking my advancement. Not knowing what to do, what I wanted, what I wanted to do, how to resolve my issues – I was a confused person who saw no way to resolve the issues and conflicts. Drugs were not an option for me. While others were into speed or coke or weed or juice as companions, I had myself and a stream of therapists and counselors.
Yesterday I was with H, whom D wanted me to meet. H was sick, she thought perhaps food-related, so our visit was brief, but in the course of conversation the topic of men came up, and they mentioned any number of men in San Miguel of our generation whom they described as “children” and I thought how apt a word as it applies to our generation. Children. It was our generation that turned the t-shirt and jeans from youthful commodities to “adult” status symbols, with appropriate prices. A generation that found rebellion in discarding bras and ties and believing jeans were appropriate attire for all of life’s events.
As I look at friend’s online posts, especially on Mother’s and Father’s days and when the friends are celebrating their parents’ birthdays by posting photos of their parents, I see a generation that grew into adulthood having to fight a horrific war alongside and against some of history’s nastiest tyrants then just a few years later go into a “police action” in Korea that foreshadowed wars of the future. As John Prine wrote “we lost Davy in the Korean War, still don’t know what for.” They had known right from wrong and had fought to preserve what they thought right, then watched as their children, my generation, developed “situational ethics.” Many had been deprived of much of life by the depression and sought to give their children a life of bounty. Their children would see the bountiful life bound by great leaps into the hands of fewer and fewer.
I suspect that if it were not for the internet I would have little or no information about the class reunion. As it is, I am on Facebook, I have this blog, I am on LinkedIn. People can find me although my name is not the same as it was then, and I can find them, I have located the organizers and the folks on various committees and through this tool I would be able to help from a distance, from another country, should they wish my assistance. I have connected with lost classmates, have seen pictures of them and their families, and can compare those images to the memories I have of their parents and siblings and can now see family resemblances where once I could not. It is all quite remarkable. I’ve wanted to write about what social media means, but it seems much too big a topic for me to handle, and then today serendipitously someone sent me a link to a wonderful and touching piece written by Frida Ghitis for CNN: When a Facebook friend dies. She writes about something that did not exist half a generation ago.
E has invited me to his place for dinner. Several people have expressed an interest in doing things together, something that I’ve yearned for and yet I find the attention unnerving. It is only what friends do, I know, but it raises a desire to move on, to go to yet one more town, a need to flee. Now that I’ve moved into the casita and nothing remains to be done (I don’t need to buy furniture, dishes, glassware, cleaning tools, or any of the stuff of householding), I feel a need to seek the next place to be. With nothing to be done, there is simply the task of being, of being me, of being aware. One acquaintance from long ago now lives in a trailer she tows behind her pickup truck; I wonder if I lived as she, how would I escape that? There are days I don’t go out, stay in my pjs, don’t draw the curtains wide. Yet through the internet I am connected to strangers with whom I am more comfortable than my connections to some flesh-and-blood individuals, and I have connections to flesh-and-blood individuals who are no longer as they were years ago, yet those old images have persistence despite my knowledge to the contrary.
There are always thoughts of some future place. Ecuador and the Galapagos. Morocco. Turkey. Uruguay. Places where I haven’t lived or even visited and where I know I would repeat my experience of every place I’ve lived. Six months. It is the newness of the stimuli that fills me and helps me avoid, and when the newness evaporates I feel an emptiness, I notice the dried grounds at the cup’s bottom.
Another foolish song, #4 in the series
Continuing the theme of 1) innocent men in trouble (likely with the law) seeking refuge in Mexico and 2) Mexico exists for those seeking a) paradise, b) beer/tequila/rum, c) life on the beach with toes in the water, d) young beautiful compliant Mexican women to satisfy whims OR e) a young beautiful compliant Mexican woman who is in actuality a thieving, conniving bruja stealing innocent American men’s money.