My Honking Lament

imgThe 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.

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6 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Depression, Desire, Doubt, Essays, Facebook, Friendship, Identity, Jeremiads, Laments, life, Meditations, Modern Life, Opinion, Solitude, Sturm und Drang, Thoreau, Thoughts, Voice, Worry, Writing

6 responses to “My Honking Lament

  1. i liked the picture in the post.

    • dmarshall58

      I liked it too (obviously) but can’t take credit for it. It’s by Gal Bernstein. If you click on the picture, it will lead you to the original source. Thanks for visiting. —D

  2. I hate that texting, emailing, blogging and Facebooking are so much easier and more comfortable for me than making the effort for face to face lunch, coffee, whatever. I complain about the impersonality, but I take refuge in it too. The funny thing is that lately people I only know on Facebook have started inviting me to lunch, coffee, whatever. What has the world come to?!

    • dmarshall58

      I like the idea that every technological change is “this and that” rather than “either or,” but that doesn’t stop me from obsessing over what’s lost instead of noticing what’s gained. Thinking about living in another time is one of my abiding fantasies, which is probably unhealthy. Maybe we’d be just the same whenever we lived.

      In any case, it seems a good thing your FB friends want to be actual friends. Isn’t that what we all want, whether we say it or not?

      Please comment again. Hearing others’ thoughts is really what this blog is about… despite my tardiness. –D

  3. I definitely have these same feelings. It is so hard to connect in a genuine way even face to face when we are moving so fast. I am slow at feeling and knowing how to say it in a way that others can relate to, and so am often left standing having said nothing. I have grown tired of being glib and clever, Twittering and adding two cents. I appreciate your thoughts, but have no answers. I haven’t given up hope of finding a way of being in the world that is genuine and sustainable emotionally, mostly I it just wears me out.

    • dmarshall58

      It’s a life struggle, I figure. I console myself by saying being aware is the first step. Sometimes I wonder whether the world, or the person the world has made me, will accommodate the transformation I desire. Thanks so much for your comment. –D

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