Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On waiting

I am waiting for the formal 'go' on a couple of work projects. Incidentally, my mother is visiting with us. For the second time in five years. This time around, she is paying more attention to the opportunity that this place presents for relaxation. A change of pace from her otherwise self-imposed, hectic, urbanite lifestyle. So we have been spending the day together in relative silence, she with a book, I with reading the e-mails from you people in response to my challenge from yesterday.

I would like to say that I liked your e-mails even more than the contributions, which by themselves were quite good. Not everybody contributed, but still had some comment or other on melancholy in general, or on how this blog seems to be rooted in it. Regarding the contributions, here is what I have received so far:
  • The hour just kept drawing nearer.
  • Words can be essential. Not then.
  • Losing the we, becoming just I.
  • The bus mindlessly drove her away.
  • We walked through the high grass.
  • Never getting to smell him again.
  • Gift for hope, a romantic readiness.
That last one gave me pause. I was sure I had seen it somewhere before. But it was not until tonight that I finally got it. Gatsby, of course: It was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person, and which is not likely that I shall ever find again. Good one, Flygirl!

I waded through the book. It has been a while since I last read it. All the class rhetoric and the jaded 'old money-new money' discussion aside, I do hope that I will never fall into Gatsby's trap. To strand my life on waiting for something which has already passed by. Maybe I avoid this instinctly, to a fault. Years of reminding myself not to get stuck on a place, a set of ideals, particular interests, etc., has cultivated a disposition with me where such changes are usually brought on quickly and decisively. Even so suddenly and matter-of-factly that it can stun people. To the point where they do not believe it. "What do you mean you don't miss [running the marathon/playing the piano/etc.] You did that for years. It was ingrained in you. It was you! How can you just wake up one day and say that you have just changed?" The short answer is that there is no use crying over spilled milk. That once you lose something, however big a part it was of you or how dear it was to you, the rest of you needs to continue on. The long answer is that I actually don't. Not completely. If it was important to me, it will still tug at me. Possibly for a long time, sometimes forever. And it can hurt. Badly. But my mechanism has no built-in options for wallowing. Or for 'working through it'. Or 'dealing with it'.

My only medicine for unwanted change is time. It may not heal all wounds, but it can numb, and soothe, and give distance. Like a rear-view mirror in a fast-moving car, helping you to see something monumental slowly become smaller and smaller, until you can hardly make it out. Time is my most precious commodity. It is a volatile fountain of life, which you can choose to dive into and drink in and enjoy to its fullest, or you can waste it by doing nothing, or worse, by waiting for something which you will never be blessed with or has already passed.

Gatsby's truly was a life tragically wasted. Not just because he was better than the Buchannans of the world, and he was innocent of what his assailant thought he had done. No. The tragedy lies in the fact that even if his life had not been taken, he still would have waisted it.

On waiting.