Monday, July 17, 2017

Is That All There Is?

For the last several years, I'd toss off a hasty e-mail or so to Hopkins while I was at camp; I pulled myself up short of doing so this year. Part of my route back to my sister's house in the city passes a now-empty call center facility at which he once worked, many years ago. Twice a day, I reminded myself that I'm only someone with whom he occasionally hangs out. I sent no e-mails this year. 

It's forced me to realize that although I thought that we were friends in high school, I was more of a thing he couldn't readily shed. I didn't matter, I was just there. I was part of the furniture; not worth really knowing, not worth remembering. 

We all lose our innocence about certain things as time passes. You never know what will kill it, or when it will die. When it happens, though, there's this hollow feeling that is physically painful. 

Since the conversation with my aunt, clarifying my insignificance to Hopkins, I have sent the lone e-mail explaining that I had done so. 

He won't miss me. He never has. I knew it would go down this way, but I was determined to try one more time. 

It will never make a difference.

I woke up this morning with all four cats in the bed. Tomorrow there will be cats, and the dogs are coming home this afternoon.

That's as good as it gets. I just need to accept it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Existing versus Living, Summer Vacation Edition

It just occurred to me that I haven't been on a vacation in eighteen years, not a real one where there wasn't some other event in conjunction with it. Sometimes it's because I stay with my best friend and her husband- which is more of a visit. Sometimes it's because I'm actually traveling for my fact, the most traveling I ever did in a single year was seventeen years ago, when I was interviewing for new jobs around the Southeast and Midwest. There was a visit/vacation many years ago when a friend and I decided to go to Biltmore during our spring break (we were faculty, and believe me, we need spring break as much as students do) and that culminated in our visiting, you guessed it, my best friend and her husband, a little further out in North Carolina.

People who take annual vacations seem to have so much fun, but usually they're folks who have partners and/or families. One of my library buddies has started going on trips by herself; this year's iteration was a road trip of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historical sites. Maybe I should take a similar trip, but I figure I can be just as lonely in one place, where I don't have to pay to board my dogs or sleep in strange hotel rooms. 

We're kind of back to the concept that I don't like being a burden to others, and I always feel that I'm underfoot. I also have this weird thing about 'I should be doing something productive' when I travel; there's supposed to be some sort of 'mission goal' involved. I guess that staves off some of the emptiness.

What it boils down to in the end is that I don't live, I exist. In many ways, that stems from a lifetime of being dismissed as burdensome or boring or unattractive or...(insert depressing adjective here). I wouldn't know joy if it jumped up and bit me on the butt, because I've been estranged from it so completely my entire life. 

Seeing all the photos and cheerful social media posts this time of year just drives the point home. I don't begrudge anyone their happiness or their vacations, mind you. I just wish I deserved a little slice of that, or had a clue to finding it.