So you reach a certain age and you cross a certain threshold of experience and it becomes impossible to piece it all together.
I’m sitting in a dark room on the leather couch that was ordered from Ikea and delivered to a Queens apartment by some buff guys in do-rags years ago and here it sits now in Provo beside a dirty 60 gallon aquarium and I’ve got two kids and a completely different Volvo and I haven’t been attracted to another person in absolutely ages and I haven’t taught a class in ages, either.
I just finished replacing the timing belt on my Volvo on jack stands in a carport off the kitchen. “My” kitchen, in a way, not in another way. In another seven or eight ways.
Where am I going? Interesting question. I have no idea. That’s a “together” sort of question to answer. In some ways I’m more “together” than ever; I have a very good job with a very reasonable title and income and I’ve worked it for longer than any other single job I’ve ever held. The bills are paid. I mostly do the right, responsible things.
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Is it strange to say that I wish I’d been in love once? To say that I am envious of that longing in other people? All those things they talk about… pining away for the one that got away… remembering first loves… being heartbroken after a divorce. It all sounds lovely and meaningful and deep.
I am still looking for someone to inspire all of that in me, realizing that at my age, it is unlikely ever to happen.
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I had a phone call with my committee chair the other day and we talked academics and I was both in it and out of it, a weird kind of ambivalence, or maybe more a weird kind of living in two universes at once.
© Aron Hsiao / 2007
Now here I sit listening to the White Stripes being both too old to listen to the White Stripes and too young at heart to grow up, all at once.
I went to the library today and checked out two books on Taoism that I won’t read. I’ll return them in three weeks, probably slightly late, and pay the fine like I always do. When I was young, the public library was a place of learning; then, I was an elitist and a scholar and the public library was embarrassing in its povery of resources; now, the public library is once again punching above my grade.
Things don’t just change, they swing wildly.
I don’t talk a lot. The older I get, the more I think there’s nothing to say. Or rather, I always thought that, but I used to try to cover it up, to exceed myself somehow, to respond to norms and mores &c. Now it just seems pointless; you get older, you are what you are.
You are what you are. But what is that, exactly?
Can other people answer this question? I was always the person that could answer it without a second thought. Now suddenly I’m as bewildered as anyone.