I'm already mining archives of old blog posts. Strangely my expedition resulted in my finding this entry which is especially enlightening to me for various reasons. I'll explain in a moment. First, the entry, dated December 11, 2003. I was 27 at the time.
i don't wanna make it rain, i just wanna make it simple
the rigorous testing process at my job-to-be (maybe) has ended and it is now my duty to...wait.
there is a cold rain in the city today that i simply don't mind in the least.
i picked up tim o'brien's the things they carried again for the first time in years and so far i have wept openly three times. if you want to be left alone in new york city, start crying on a crosstown bus, or anywhere full of people with not a lot of room to move. people are afraid of solitary criers. me personally? i am afraid of solitary laughers (despite the fact that i have been one on more than one occasion). laughter can turn quite maniacal at the drop of a hat... but tears are usually melancholy, or angry. today mine were empathetic, as they always are with mr. o'brien.
maybe i'm feeling a bit sissy-fied today. it is one of those days, unique to this life i'm living, where i don't actually feel i know anyone. perhaps i spent too much time walking around midtown this morning. i feel anonymous. i feel solitary. wholly without connection to another person.
i am lacking and wanting connection, physical and otherwise to one other person.
of course this is all a product of reading about war. cold isolation is the partner of knowing about what can and did happen, i suppose. but it has to be told and it has to be read, doesn't it?
you know what i need right now? i need some ice cream.
The title of that post comes from Rufus Wainwright song "Want" which was new at the time. I loved that album something fierce, still do.
I don't know what job-to-be was at that time. Maybe my indexer job? Maybe a job I had interviewed for and didn't get? It is difficult to say since I was doing a lot of interviewing back then, fresh out of library school and in the midst of a swirling, bustling economy. Remember those days, when they would give out jobs offers free with proof of purchase. Yeah, me neither.
I remember rereading Tim O'Brien's book. I was very, very big into Tim O'Brien at the time. I had recently read "In the Lake of the Woods" which tore my brain and heart open. That reminds me, I should reread that book. I loaned my copy to someone and never got it back; someone should buy it for me. I also remember crying on the bus and I'm still very suspicious of solitary laughers...laughter can cross over to mental instability without much warning.
In that post, I chalk up my feelings of isolation to "reading about war". But I know now that I was wrong. What I never remember, what I should remember, is that sense of isolation and loneliness I felt and that I felt it even living in NYC. I usually romanticize that time in my life into a perfect circle, something whole and formed solidly all the way through when in reality, it was an amorphous blob. My brain still worked the same way as it does now. I still want everything at the same time. I still gobble up time with going and doing and planning and getting, wondering why nothing is quite sticking. I also still turn to ice cream in confounding moments.
I think many people who know me well are confounded by my ability to do a lot of things and still be bored, to be around a lot of people and still feel alone. This is a chronic condition I have, regardless of where I'm hanging my hat. It may serve me well to remember that when my solution to everything is "move somewhere new". I think my own version of nirvana will be calm contentment as opposed to blissful, ecstatic happiness. What can I say? I"m a whirligig.
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