The geese in Lincoln Park are residents. They don’t migrate, or, if their flight can be called migration, only consists of travel to the western suburbs, announcing their exercise with loud exaltation, arresting pedestrians’ attention.
I wish I were so proud. My own diffidence says little more than, “Hi, I’ve arrived” or “I’m back” or “I’ve been thinking…” or “I’m still here.”
Travel isn’t something I relish, yet I know I have to leave here sometimes. I must meet the world to be part of it—no pretending musing online is being public—and life is supposed to be about greeting folks, about expanding myself through contact with genuine others.
The electronic reality I occupy suggests otherwise. The “friends” I create through Facebook and other “social” media don’t seem to seek intimacy. They appear to desire the electronic equivalent of a honking sortie through fall or spring skies, affection without heart. Noise over communication.
I’m sorry if that’s insulting, better to be sincere even when wrong. I’m guilty too.
And no wonder I’m lonely. Maybe my inability to express my feelings is my limitation. True character would insist on recognition, demanding—seeing as normal—the spouting I lid and re-lid daily. But I don’t know what to think or whether feeling is really looked-for from me. Most men live lives of quiet desperation, but what if quiet oppresses? I hesitate to say more… except to confess obsessing over all I hide, withhold, and swallow.
It’s not anger. I’m not mad as hell and can’t take it anymore. I want company, would like to be starkly myself.
Do people sense how convincingly “acceptable” overthrows “sincere”? Do others long to meet, long to talk instead of text, long to release feeling and speak rather than perform? The niceties aren’t nice, the insults more brutal by being couched.
Taking risks sounds good in abstract. Really, it’s embarrassing, showing emotion you know others—discretely or indulgently—ignore. You imagine people laughing. Derision is the modern default. The Eliot of “J. Alfred Prufrock” knew that, the Arthur Miller of “Death of a Salesman” knew that, but we’ve learned little. We devise new modes of communication to say less, in fewer characters.
Real life still awaits us—by that I mean, of course, real life awaits me—and I travel further and further from authenticity by circling, circling, circling.