Tuesday, January 30, 2007

or leave tonight and vanish up the shore

As Roonie already pointed out, the end is near- tomorrow, I suppose I shall have to switch to the new version of Blogger. I expect that I will have many gripes. I expect that you will do a lot of squinting and shaking of heads in disapproval. But change is, after all, inevitable. And with folks like me, sometimes it is best to force it upon me, since I will otherwise resist.

That is because I am someone that can talk myself out of annoyance. I can get a bit vexed, and hope something was somewhat better, but I can usually shrug it off and make do. This is probably why I lack creativity and/or an entrepeneurial spirit. But I can stil understand that spirit- because, in those rare instances when I cannot talk myself out of malcontentedness, the relentless annoyance demands change, and I must make something happen.

Which is how I got to where I am right now. Not where I am right now, I suppose, given that I am currently in an office quoting The Legend of Ron Burgundy in work-related emails (though I must tell you that I suspect only one other person is actually catching the reference), but rather where I am poised to go.

And I was thinking about that in regards to All My Little Words by The Magnetic Fields, which you can find on the sidebar this week. I think of it all the time, actually, how a series of gentle turns have placed me in a completely different perspective. I used to listen to this song so wistfully, because I had friends, I had ex's who were the epitome of the object of the song's melancholy. And it was me, back then, it was me struggling to hold onto someone who insisted on floating away. And I wondered, back then, if I was only fascinated by those people specifically because they were so intangible, so impermanent. Did it make them somehow more precious because time with them seemed so scarce?

I would try to write clever letters, try to cut out pieces of my heart for them, in the hopes that they would see how precious they were to me, in the hopes that they would not let the string between us wear so thin that it would sever. But it happened anyway. The thread thinned over time, of course. It dwindled, the tension grew less taut, such that it never really snapped apart. It gave way, but by then, we had learned not to notice.

Hearing this song three years ago made me nostalgic for all those people I lost, who drifted away. And that is how I become acutely aware of how much I have changed. Now the song fills me with a wave of guilt, and a tinge of introspection. I do not mean to sound puffed up- it's not that I imagine anyone feeling so inclined to stay connected to me. But I do feel badly that I have turned into exactly that person, who is something of a ghost, who is just a wave waiting to recede from the shore, who emits all things temporary and inconsistent. There is not much I would do to change who I am, but it still makes me inexplicably sad.

I remember the day W moved away from San Francisco. We had spent the entire week together, because he had sold his wife's car and his wife had left ahead of him. The day before he was to leave, I dropped him to his friend's house in Noe Valley. We pulled into the driveway and he grinned his familiar grin, and kissed me on the cheek. That kiss was uncharacteristic and somehow silly. It seemed particularly absurd because I was supposed to meet him for breakfast before he left the next day.

But he never called the next morning and we have not seen each other since. By then, I had known W for nearly ten years. That he did not call failed to surprise me in the least. He hated farewells, disliked anything that seemed final and concrete. I remember looking out my window into the hills, and thinking, with a sigh, that he was gone.

I suppose it is some mixture of reading The Little Prince too many times and having such close friends who were so ethereal that resulted in me feeling okay with being abandoned. I suppose I refused to think of it as desertion. I thought of it in two ways- either it was a window or a wave. Either we had a time and place that was well and good, and that time and place had passed, or we were forever coming and going and eventually the ocean would meet the shore again, if only for a moment. It does not matter to me, in some ways, which category a friend fell into. I was either grateful that my path intersected at just the right moment with someone else, or I was grateful to have someone somewhere who potentially thought of me, who might just reappear in my life at some point.

So now I am the one going, and I am the one that cannot be pinned down. And I never thought I'd be on that side of the looking glass, but that is where I find myself. It is hard to be sad about that, and I suppose that's why I like All My Little Words so much- it never dips particularly low into melancholy, instead passively describing the dynamic. It can't be changed, and no ultimatums are issued demanding otherwise. And that is how I feel about everything at the moment.

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