no reason to ever leave the house

now playing: dan fogelberg, “in the passage”

favorite quote from the oscars:

“my grandmothers’ gone now, but she still talks to me in my dreams….

…and i can’t wait to go to sleep tonight, because we’ve got a lot to talk about.”

(jamie foxx, accepting his best actor award for his portrayal of ray charles in the movie ray)

got an instant message today from an old navy buddy – apparently, there’s a pretty solid movement afoot to stage a reunion this coming labor day weekend for our old crew from one of my duty stations in the navy…we’d tried this once before, a few years ago, and it petered out – but this time, there’s apparently a little more organization behind it.

i’m not sure i want to get too deeply into some of the things that happened there just now – it’d take longer than i really have at the moment. i’m trying to finish the work to get the amos guitars site ready to go live, and i’m probably gonna be leaving a little earlier than i probably would under normal circumstances, too.

i think i might’ve found keith a buyer for his antique ford, too…if that pans out, i know he’ll be a happy camper.

i had a conversation last week with a guy who works here – good guy, very curious about computers…married with a son from a previous marriage at home and two small children with his second wife. i’m not sure how it even came up, but i had told him that wendy and i were splitting up, and he confided in me that he’s been having thoughts about going the same route…he said that he doesn’t feel as though his wife has a great deal in common with him anymore, that they don’t really make any kind of effort to stay connected, and that he feels like he lives with two families – the one he shares with his son and the one he shares with his wife. the thing that struck me most about our conversation, though, was this one particular thing that he said….

…he said that it’s not even so much that he doesn’t want to be married anymore, but that sometimes he feels like packing up his shit and moving out and finding his own place. in his mind, it’s not really so much about his marriage deteriorating as it is about needing his own space. he feels like he needs a place to hide, to get away from his family when their issues get to be too much.

the conversation struck a nerve with me on a couple of different levels – on one hand, i can certainly relate to his situation, since i’m in a very similar place…as much as i know i’ll miss having wendy around once the changing of the guard has taken place, i’m already in the frame of mind that has me looking around the house and making plans – mentally moving this there and that over here and tossing this if it doesn’t make the move…things of that nature. so the thought of craving a space of your own isn’t foreign to me…but the more striking aspect of his position was that he wasn’t so much unhappy with his wife, or the prospect of being married, but his craving for solitude was claiming a bigger portion of his thoughts than any desire to contemplate the problems of his relationship.

it made me wonder – have we, as a species, started to lose a grip on our ability to co-exist with one another?

you see certain aspects of it all the time – whether in one’s own family, in their relationships with co-workers, with schoolmates, with whomever we might have an opportunity to deal with within the routine of our daily lives. we just don’t have the “face time” with other people that we used to be required to have in order to get through our lives. conversation (whether face to face or over the telephone) has gradually given way to email and instant messages, which give us time to contemplate responses and simultaneously robs us of any semblance of nuanced communication…some of us have the ability to hammer out an email that actually communicates – but communication via the internet has done more harm than good to our collective ability to connect with one another. the circuit may be open, but the path along the wires doesn’t foster a real sense of connection very often.

instead of going out, instead of doing things with our family, instead of calling people on their birthday or holidays, instead of sitting down to dinner at the same time with the whole family present, we all eat individually when we feel like it…we order take out instead of eating together…we send “e-cards” to say things that we either can’t or won’t…and we tend to avoid contact with our own families, because we see things in them that we don’t like and we’d prefer not to deal with them – so we want to run away from them.

some of us make that choice – we decide that there’s really no way that we’re going to find anything resembling acceptance among these people, or we decide with no real evidence that things have just got to be better elsewhere, and we run away.

because running away is always….always…easier than staying put and examining our circumstances.

i feel like i should point out that i’m not advocating staying in an unhealthy situation out of some twisted sense of loyalty, or because it’s what someone else thinks you should do or anything of that nature…what i’m trying to say is that a lot of times, we simply don’t know how bad things are (or aren’t) until the final box is in the back of the truck and you’re on your way to the next place, the next quiet place, the next place that you can call your own and no one elses’ – until such time as you bring someone else into it, once you’ve conveniently forgotten why it was that you craved this solitude in the first place.

“do you realize, janet, that in modern day society, there’s practically no reason to ever leave the house – AT ALL?”

(steve dunn (campbell scott) in singles)

it really does seem sometimes as though it’s collectively much easier for us to hide from each other than to contend with the challenges that we pose to one another. “easy” really is the word, too…it takes no effort whatsoever to hide in an apartment by ourselves and clutch the remote in one hand and order takeout over the internet and check our email and screen our phone calls and avoid contact with anyone whom we might deem the least bit unpleasant. it might require some work on our behalf to figure out how to deal with the person who just doesn’t fit into our personal grand scheme of things – a difficult boss or a whiny co-worker or a child who craves more attention than we’re willing to muster or, dare i say it, a partner who doesn’t fit our preconceived notion of what it was that we expected of them.

“people need people, steve. and it’s not just about sex. well, maybe sixty percent.”

(janet livermore (bridget fonda) to steve dunn during the same conversation in singles)

i can’t speak for anyone else but myself, where this situation is concerned…and the only thing i seem to be sure of is that i don’t know what it is that i need right now.

which probably means that a little solitude is in order.

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