"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

04 March 2012

Small World

To the gregarious and those addicted to social media sites or going to their high school reunions, I realize my the way I sometimes react to my past might come across as more than a little queer. Basically, that past is past. A quirk of wiring leads me to believe that if I've lost touch with someone or something from back in the day there's probably some kind of reason. Namely, personal evolution; be it my own or someone else's. Despite interests in history and archeology, those are bones I'm not particularly anxious to excavate.

Given how I am about time, considering it a dubious abstract, I can see how one might perceive this peculiar. Perhaps even hypocritical. I have no problem admitting my hypocrisy knows no bounds. Maybe something some of those who know me; Sabina, my daughter, my father, Jezebel, would use as bases for their argument of me being plain contrary, if not just a little paradoxical, but I repeat myself.

I wonder if this idiosyncrasy of mine is nature or nurture. Being bullied a lot growing up and learning to mistrust the half-bald primates who called themselves Man, even going as far as to have once said I gave up on the species when I was eight, the idea of putting temporal distance between myself and those who hurt me seems quite sane. Putting myself anywhere near their company, even as a where-are-they-now-did-they-get-their-comeuppance? does not. There's also the fact I am rather solitary, even though I do so enjoy watching those half-bald primates, but I like to watch. The one paradox I'll not only own up to, but brag about, is that of my misanthropy. I once told someone my daughter and Sabina were the only two hominids I could be around constantly and not entertain murder thoughts at one point.

Once, a week before the ten year reunion, I told someone I graduated with that I left high school with express purpose of never, ever, setting foot there again. Someone I went to school with was certain they recognized me, but, sociopathic as it was, I really had no problem telling him he was mistaken, never mind what his sister and I did on his bed. Those were my last encounters from the high school phantasms, and I cannot be convinced to feel bad about it. 

This has made occasions I perceive as going back rather awkward for me. I become uncomfortable in my own skin, getting agitated, and perhaps a little too willing over-imbibe in something intoxicating. I seek escape routes and the excuses to leave come quickly. Past is past, after all.

In our Sahel the unwritten and dubious rule seems to be that you and yours have lived here since the halcyon antiquity of the mining days or you're a drop-out from the world, coming to this pocket of nowhere to forge a life in the in-between. Whilst I've yet to run into a direct ghost of my past, I've recently had a few moments that remind me just how small a world it is in which we all live.

The first time involved a retired magistrate of my acquaintance. Somehow, my maternal grandparents, and the fact they were county commissioners of some note, came up in conversation. It was quite the surprise when, upon mentioning their names, he told me how he knew and respected them. I wonder how that affected his perception of me; this tall, lanky thing with big eyes and long hair being related to someone with a park posthumously named for him.

But then it happened twice in one day...

It started in an artifacts boutique, after discussing the selling and purchasing of artifacts, conversation and ketchup ensued. The proprietress mentioned a particular name, the same as that of our family's vet before we moved from Colorado to North Carolina. Sure enough, it was that cat. In fact, the proprietress, probably ten years older than me, at most, grew up only a few miles of where I lived from ages four to thirteen. The names she mentioned were ones I was familiar with, if only by overheard conversations of my parents and grandmother.

Not but a bit later, I was visiting with Miguel Loco. Seeing as he and the proprietress of the artifacts boutique are rather good friends, I was asked to deliver hellos, and mentioned how I discovered what a small world it was when it came to her. When I asked why, I mentioned how we apparently grew up practically next door to one another.

"Where did you grow up?" Miguel Loco inquired and I told him. His dark eyes widened. "Holy shit!"

That's when I found out Miguel Loco, someone else ten years my senior, grew up maybe a mile from that place I lived from four until thirteen. We apparently went to the same elementary school, and I did my seventh grade year at the junior high he finished out at.

"My brother from another mother!" Miguel Loco proclaimed, giving me a high-five.

"Holy shit," I whispered to myself, perversely fascinated, but also a little rattled.

A few years back, I might have been inclined to go in the general direction of away from these individuals under that rationalization of past is past. But I see no reason to do that now. Perhaps that means something I've yet to fully realize. Although, none of them phantasms from my past lives. It could be the moments of small world and past is past are horses of different colors. Be that as it may, it does get me to wonder what I might do were I run into one of my ghost here and now. Would I stay or would I go? I can own up I am in no hurry to answer that question.      


  1. I understand what you mean about letting the past be. I've tried to never take steps backwards in my life, if I move on from a place, I'm not going back there again.
    Growing up I was always the youngest in the group, and since I lived usually an hour away from everyone else I knew, I was usually on the fringes. I was uneasy and a little socially inept, being an only child used to just playing in the woods by myself or conversing with stuffed animals and G.I. Joes.
    Now, even though I've developed a few more social skills, when I'm around anyone from those times I feel those same feelings coming back, undoing all my progress.
    As you said, the past is the past. I think it's better to just leave it alone.

    1. A friend of mine once professed to being a time traveler; the kicker was he could only travel forward. I always liked that metaphor.

  2. It's uncomfortable and slightly weird when I bump into my past. It doesn't happen often since I'm so far removed, logistically, though look what happened to you! Two people in one day?

    I like tripping the past in my mind, not in person.

    1. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I'm kind of with you about inspecting aspects of the past from the mental standpoint. In person, it seems everyone involved is looking at things through a prism of rose-tint.

  3. I went to my twenty year reunion. It wasn't exactly a waste of time. While I did not create any new bonds, did not renew any old bonds, I was reminded why I was in such a hurry to get out of high school to begin with.
    Moving forward...

    1. I've heard of such things happening.

      You and I graduated the same year. I'd completely forgotten that I'd been out of high school twenty years-I just knew it was over ten-until I read your posts about your reunion. It was a bit of shock to realize how long it had been.