Friday, March 21, 2008
People become foreigners all the time. Mostly by pure accident. It happens when you come into a new place and find yourself looking on with absolutely no attachment. Most of the time you think you know places because you remember the events there, but being in those places later you understand that the events were invisible, and you have become the same. Like when you kiss a lover goodbye at the train station, only to find later that returning to the scene over many years that event has been erased completely by the tread of many footprints. Or the exact spot where you were standing when you find out a friend is dead.
Returning, the attachment has dissipated, the emotion is gone. And the place only exists in your mind like it was at the time. The concrete location becomes as intangible and movable as the set on a film. Existing only in a Technicolor recording, including everything but permanence. And so very disposable.
This is how I feel about my days in New Orleans right now. People returning home after the hurricane almost three years ago probably knew this foreignness. It stole upon them while they looked at a lake with a city buried underneath it. And maybe they wished that part of themselves was also underwater, moving around in familiar surroundings, doing what they had always done before their world filled up with water. Because under that water there was still a remnant of reality. Well, maybe.
Maybe years later when the orthorexia fails and I become old and wrinkled out on my goat farm in Wyoming, I'll think back to my time here. Not events maybe. Maybe just news lived as events. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between what happens in a place, and what happened outside of it but was told to you in that place.
I've decided to stop trying to decide if anything's important. Because all I learn is that nothing really is. And if there really is no reality, no one can be faulted for clinging to a dream.