6/01/2017

In a room of strangers

Despite all I do, I still feel so anonymous and unwelcome in the place I have lived for nearly 15 years. There's a certain notion I have that I will always be an outsider in this community, always a stranger. This could be that I am a writer, which means my entire reason for existing is to capture the moments in front of me in a way that makes sense to me, while also realizing this is not a time where words have much weight with most people. Words strung together have no worth unless there's a way to create value. And what is the economic value of a mind trying to calm itself down through ordering thoughts in a linear fashion?

Yet, that's the trick. I am capable of breathing deeply and launching into a trance that allows me to stitch together whatever it is I'm feeling into a narrative that adds worth to my soul, a reason for my existence. I get paid for this ability, and I survive in part because I'm capable of capturing my thoughts and fashioning them into parachutes that can help me journey through the tumultuous atmosphere towards steady and stable ground. 

All of us humans in this 21st century, whatever that means, are struggling with meaning and purpose. But maybe I extrapolate. As I type this I am in a room of happy people who are laughing and cheering and smiling and none of them seem to be doing poorly. A block and a half away is a community that may or may not be transforming into a mixed-income neighborhood. On television, a man whose home was vandalized with racial slurs plays basketball on a large stage. I'm struck by how absurd most of our society is and how strange it is to feel so isolated despite the murmurs and susurrations all around me that indicate there is so much health in the space where I am. 

In a few short minutes I will depart and will walk home and walk back into my life after having worked another 12 hour day, having done my part to move things along. I am proud of the way I walk and proud that I have not shirked my obligations. I wish I could do so much more, wish I could find a way to get some sense that any of this matters. I know intellectually that it does, but I'm also the one typing string after string of words in a crowded bar, anonymous and free despite being neither of those things. All of this is random, and all of this is true. 

Writing is a curse. I feel compelled to say something, but there are so many times when there's nothing to say. There's just the need to push that rock up that hill and hope that the inevitable roll downwards scores a lot of points. I have absolutely no ability to know anymore if I'm being effective or if I'm turning into a robot, a ghost, a specter, a dream that only I am having. 



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