Underthecurrent


I am ready for a fall
May 7, 2010, 4:34 am
Filed under: nomadisms, voyageur

The slow process of winding things up is ultimately satisfying. It gets easier every time, learning to avoid contracts for service, starting to empty cupboards and fridges that much sooner, considering ahead of time what will go where and how to get it there.

(At the same time, there is no pretending everything is peaceful or ordered. There are a number of things that will make life infinitely easier if done before and seems inevitable one or two will be missed.)

I really liked this.

I work with a girl who travels to a place, let’s pretend it’s Atlantic City, though it’s not, several times a year. She came from a small town and was newly pregnant at her high school graduation. She could have done a lot of things, but instead she decided to immediately get an education and improve her life. By the time her child was entering school, she had two university degrees and professional employment. A year later, she had a down payment for a house.

You have to respect that she didn’t let her age as a mom, or that she has essentially always been a solo parent, define her. She doesn’t complain or justify, she just does. On meeting her, she has a coldness and a distinct edge, but over time it softens and it seems to result from having to grow up fast without the luxury of a lot of mistakes.

It’s made me greatful for my own experiences and careful in broaching them, so different from normal conversations with people my age where a resume is implied early in conversation to establish the social rank. What do you do, where have you been, who loves you. That flash through the hardness is always right there when travel or boyfriends or random experiences come up. Curiousity. We’re not so different, not really, and I know my life, in capitalizing on risks and opportunities, represents the open question of what if.

I’ve figured out those trips to Atlantic City are brief times where she can test who she might have been over the past seven years, if allowed a little more irresponsibility and frivolity. It would be easy to write off her destination choice, it’s not exotic and not really even authentic, hardly the sophisticated voyage the rest of my cohort seek for the scorecards.

But isn’t the point of breaking new horizons to chip cracks into our formed designs and to reshape them?

In some respects, I’ve come to regard these trips as sort of magical and fascinating and I find myself drawn to Atlantic City to see if I could see what she sees. I flip through pictures of acquaintances in Machu Picchu and Prague with disinterest, the digital evidence of ordinary presence at the footbed of history may as well be a statement about what you had for lunch today. Because of this girl, I am willing to accept: a mecca may come lit in neon.

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