Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me feel welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch.
And of course, the final line, that I used to hold most dearly: Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.
Strangeness does make sense when you are a stranger in a strange land. And even though D.C. is not really that strange or foreign, it is, for the moment. Though the work drudgery has been mostly mind-numbing, there was one chunk of gold in a pan filled with silt, a quote tacked onto the end of a presentation (though, notably, woefully paraphrased):
"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it."
Compliments of your favorite depressive and mine, Abraham Lincoln. As soon as I heard it, I seized upon it, since it was a one-way ticket to daydreaming away from the meaningless prattle that became a distant hum.
Removing myself from the familiarity and habit of home makes for a good opportunity to really question where I know where I am, and where I am headed. Sometimes, I am not sure where I am, in a state of suspended animation or somehow invisible, even to myself. Last night, my boss cheerfully dragged me to dinner with three family members of hers. As I sat at the table at dinner, smiling politely and making small talk, I really wondered if I had started to disintegrate. Maybe I was a carefully constructed shell, and when the shell cracked, it betrayed an empty center. That seemed possible last night, when so much time had passed without having time to myself.
I gingerly declined invitations for dinner tonight, and walked to Cosi. I knew none of the other corporate drones would be there. When there is a per diem at your disposal, it is apparently a moral imperative to go to overpriced, swanktastic restaurants. The wind whipped through my jacket in the two block walk; it was my first taste of the true east coast winter in the past five days. As I sat down, watching a group of techies chatting while typing away on their computers, I felt slightly less hollow. I started to remember who I am. But I still haven't worked out where I am headed.
As we were walking out of Zaytinya on Sunday evening, I mentioned to Anna that I have been in a bit of a funk of late. Later, it occurred to me that I had told my cousin M the same thing. Upon that realization, I got a little disgusted with myself. Maybe I was hoping that Cher would appear out of nowhere, slap me and bark, "Snap out of it!" But it is a bit like having a bleeding finger while holding a cannister of band-aids. Sooner of later, it is time to grow up, or at the very least, realize you have one healthy hand that can tend to the other. I see now that I have a good bit of sucking it up ahead of me, that it will involve shaking off pangs of guilt and summiting mountains of inertia. But that is not to say that it cannot be done. For, as many a wise man are wont to say, "Don't tell me what I can't do!"
Quite by accident, as I was correcting the lecturer's Lincoln misquote, I came across another one by the former president:
Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.
And those who blog like me sometimes have very little of either!