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May 9th, 2005

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11:20 pm
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about escape.

Deeply romantic notion, I know, which makes it terrifically out-of-character for me. But something about leaving for work one day, only to take the left onto the highway instead of the right to the office, just driving, settling where I am when my cash for gas and food runs out…it’s alluring.

There are vast, vast portions of this country—this planet—I’ve never seen. Even the parts I’ve seen, well, I haven’t seen much of them. So, then, the desire for escape. “Sorry, boss, but I won’t be in for the rest of my life” from a truckstop or an airport somewhere between where you’re leaving and where you’re headed.

I’m not saying this out of dissatisfaction with my job. I get a week’s vacation time after July 1, but it’s not the same—vacations end, and eventually you’re back at home, back doing whatever it was you needed to get away from. That’s…smaller than what I’m talking about. This is more just about walking away.

The other part of escape that holds an appeal is the ability to recreate oneself. In a place where no one knows you, all the identity you have is what you proclaim. An opportunity to do it over again, an opportunity to maybe, this time, get it right—or at least mess it up in a wholly new way.

If I left tomorrow, would you look for me?

(12 points | Discuss)


[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
Yes, on my doorstep.

[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC)
This bird you cannot chain.
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)
You are right, it is quite seductive to think about.

But to answer your question, we would look.
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
Yes! With my dog! Grrrrr. :)
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
I would look. But if you did too good a job of vanishing, I would respect your desire for privacy, because I have often had that urge myself (usually when struggling through a major Winter Depression episode).

Although I should warn you, as gently as I can, that I attempted to recreate myself once. Perhaps not as thoroughly as I could have, admittedly, but I left the town I knew, the people who loved me, the people who hated me, and everything with which I was familiar, and I traveled 700 miles to a place where I knew no one.

Turned out I couldn't shake the past, because I came with me.

(I will admit to being happier, but it wasn't disappearing that did it.)
Date:May 10th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
I would certainly look for you! Keep in mind, I tried escaping and recreating myself, moved a thousand miles away, but when I got there, I found myself had followed. We are who we are for a reason. We can be happy, sad, or numb, but environment is only part of our disposition.
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)

If I left tomorrow, would you look for me?

I assume if you left, that when you were ready to be seen, you would appear, and until then I would just listen to the wind for your voice.

I also say, go for it.
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
I'd look, but I'd also respect your privacy, and if I found you I'd be content with the knowledge that you were safe and I'd leave you there if that's where you wished to remain. Or maybe I'd travel along for a bit (if you'd take me that is!).
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
In a place where no one knows you, all the identity you have is what you proclaim.

True in a place where no one knows you.

The big secret, though?

True in a place where everyone knows you as well.

That is, to say:

"All the identity you have is what you proclaim."

[User Picture]
Date:May 11th, 2005 05:07 am (UTC)
I am afraid I must respectfully disagree. I offer a parable.

A man stood on the front porch of his house with his son. From their vantage point, they could survey all the man's landholdings.

"Son," said the man, "look about you. Look at this fine house, which has been your home for all the years of your life. I built this house myself, with nothing but my hands and the talents God gave me. And yet, when I meet someone from town, am I Thomas the housebuilder? I am not."

The man extended his hand out over his land. "Son, I have earned the money to own all this land, on which we grow the crops you eat, and the fruits of my labor fetch an excellent price at the market in the town. But when I am selling, am I Thomas the farmer? I am not."

The man turned to his son. "Son, when I went off to war, I saved the lives for 27 men, and ambushed the enemy's general in his tent. Am I hailed as Thomas the war hero? I am not."

At this point, the mailman arrived, bringing the day's consignment of correspondence. Upon reaching the front porch, the mailman said, "Hey! Thomas the Mulefucker! How's it going?"

My point is that with those who know you, your mutual past will always be in mind--there is always built-up history and context to everything, and a blank slate is impossible.
[User Picture]
Date:May 11th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
True, but that can work for you as well as against you.
[User Picture]
Date:May 11th, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
Funny! : )

In sociology, they taught us that most people think this way:

"I am what I think other people think I am."

That bugs the hoary individualist in me. I think it's true in a number of cases, but I also think it, like your parable, points to the past. True, there is no changing what has happened. Also true that there is nothing but changing the blank slate of everything that has yet to be.

Our only power is creation. Fortunately, it's the only one that matters.

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