Archive for June, 2016

No Greater Purpose

Posted in Prose, Rant/ Rave, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 20, 2016 by sethdellinger


Everything Is the Same Everywhere

Posted in Prose, Uncategorized with tags on June 10, 2016 by sethdellinger

Every few years I seem to move. Not some massive distance jumping continents, but far enough away that you leave the old people behind and find new ones, with new regional slang and different football allegiances. This kind of move is always jarring. For brief moments during and then shortly after the move, tiny realities of life pop into focus, then fizzle away like fireworks. These aren’t life truths that can really be communicated through language—these aren’t things I can necessarily tell you now, although you’ve probably seen them, too, at some point in your life. Realities about people and place, and the general size and scope of the damned universe. So many things feel the same everywhere. Certain barometric qualities of certain mornings remind you of moments from your childhood, but very specific moments, maybe times that happened only for a two week stretch when you were eight years old—you can’t really remember anything that happened on those mornings, what you did or said of course, but more a general sense of people and place, your mother on the side patio in early summer husking corn and everything felt green and dewy—and no matter where you go to live, there are those mornings and times of the year that take you there. It’s in that damn barometric pressure, but in other things, too. It’s the way the light comes through the shade when the Earth is tilted to that exact degree, and the way the hairs stand up on your arms even though you are only barely cold, just the hint of chilly, that very pleasing kind of cold like hotel air conditioning. It’s the way the outside world interacts with your cocoon, your husk—this body that houses you. There’s a universality to this interaction. The light and the dew and the pressure and your clothes just ever-so-lightly rubbing your skin. How old are you now? Now you are twentyfive, now you are eight, now you are sixty. Innumerable things change within you during this process of the body aging but the way these things feel to you doesn’t change. The world is insufferably static. Even the particulars of place have a way of replicating themselves. Say you spend a few years living in an area that feels quite unique. Say this area has a one-of-a-kind geologic feature, a vibrant arts scene, quirky culinary traditions. This area also has a storied local college, a claim to fame as the home of a major manufacturer of some kind of goods, and a very vital part of early history took place there. You bask in the perfectly unique quality of this area you live in. Then suddenly you find yourself moving again, maybe a few hours away, maybe across a continent. You are sad to say goodbye to your unique home but you will love it always, and now you look forward to getting to know the stunningly fresh attributes of your new home. At first things seem dazzlingly new (aside from the barometric pressure) but soon enough an uneasy feeling comes over you. A feeling of looking into a mirror pointed at a mirror, or hearing a constant hum underneath everything that you can’t quite identify. You are pondering this hum and mirror feeling when you are enjoying an introspective moment at the one-of-a-kind geologic feature your new home boasts. It is very one of a kind! You are pondering what this odd feeling is as you tour the world famous factory at your new home—you are so proud to now live in a place that builds such famous products! You wonder about this gnawing sensation as you drive past historical markers, as you chow down on the quirky local fare. You can never, ever put your finger on what exactly it is you are trying to think, what revelation has always bubbled just underneath the surface of your consciousness. But there it is, right in front of you for the taking, all the time. Things are the same everywhere. They have different faces. They sing vastly different alma maters but beneath their masks the world is all one school, one geologic feature, one colossal historical site. You don’t want to feel it. It is an uneasy reality. More uneasy still is the truth about people, which is the same truth of the world just shrunk down to more appropriate size. Every time I make one of these moves, I will be walking down a street somewhere, about to enter some quaint coffee shop or boutique, when, as I reach for the door handle, I freeze because the person coming out the door is my boss—but the boss from the area I just moved away from, 400 miles away. It can’t be! I tell myself, He couldn’t be here! And then a moment later I realize of course it was not them, it couldn’t have been them. But as I walk further into the coffee shop, I am still haunted by the humming sound, the double-mirror feeling. The thought I have trouble forming? What difference does it make, anyway? A boss is a stranger is an uncle is a judge. One big world with tons of masks.

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