Monday, September 08, 2008

when I woke up from that sleep, I was happier than I've ever been

So I suppose I ought to update, since cobwebs are starting to develop 'round here. Clearly, I was not in a good place. I say clearly, because only in dire circumstances would I view going home to EBF as a form of relaxation.

Actually, it's not EBF that's relaxing. It's that as soon as I stepped off the plane, as I stood by a conveyor belt waiting for my suitcase to appear, I turned to look out the window and the panes were being pelted by rain. The storm was a bad one by EBF standards, but I stood there feeling so comforted at that moment.

I was, it turns out, so entirely tired of the sunshine. I was tired of the unrelenting heat, and the forced cheeriness that endless sunshine engenders. I was tired of preparing a face to meet the faces that you meet. It really didn't matter where I went, I just needed to get out of the entire state of California, it turns out.

Running to San Francisco, my usual salve in such situations, is fraught with difficulty. Running there winds up making me wistful. It's not a relief these days, because I know I have to go back, back to the heat and the smoke and the wasteland. Weirdly, I have to get as far from San Francisco as possible to truly appreciate all that it did for me and meant for me. When I am there of late, the same, distracting thought keeps pummeling me: you don't live here anymore.

I did get a break from both the rain and EBF today by going to Boston for the day. The weather was unusually perfect, and it was sort of a stunning experience. Things I once held dear had lost meaning, weird nowhere-seeming places smacked me squarely with bittersweet memories, and I was mostly entertained by all of it. It used to be jarring, seeing my memory's snapshots transformed and obliterated over time. But I guess that's the good thing about time- you get used to it. In some ways, you even take comfort of it, of the dynamic nature of cities, of how you can very nearly be sure that a city will never, ever be the same.

But in Boston, I can breathe a quiet sigh and think to myself: you don't live here anymore. And while I did not hate living in the city (quite the opposite in many ways), I can see how, just like the city itself, I'm not the girl I was when I lived here. It's neither sad nor inspiring. It's just sort of wondrous, the constant impermanence of it all.

I'm thinking of all of this more than usual because a friend of mine had his sense of reality shattered. And while I have been feeling horribly sad for him, I also realize that he had the luxury of having a very static notion of reality. He sort of created a reality for himself, checked it with those around him, got buy-in, and then just decided that was the deal for the rest of his life. In a particularly low mood the other day, he remarked, "Honestly I just want to take the blue pill and go back to what I used to believe." At first, I thought I was in no position to remark on that statement, as I'd never lived in The Matrix, didn't live with the belief that I was set or settled, didn't think I was on a constant trajectory or path. But then I realized all of this has happened and will happen again. I had done all of those things, had felt all of those things, but I had chosen to wake up and open my eyes, and be aware of the dreary, yet sometimes miraculously beautiful world of reality.

It's the only way, after all, to appreciate the rain.

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