Vacation Anxiety

aXm1770xjUIt should be clear by now that I’m back from the vacation, and one of the things I scribbled about before leaving was about the odd anxiety I felt.

It wasn’t fear of travel, hodophobia. It wasn’t anything cultural from working so long in the U.S., and it wasn’t that I’m afraid of change. I revel in chaos and imposing my own order on things, even if it’s not imposed publicly – I love making sense of things that no one can make sense of.

I have a short list of phobias – very short. I’ve had things blow up next to me, I’ve been shot at, I’ve been poked at with sharp pointy things, I’ve been in car accidents, I’ve seen people close to me and not close to me die.

I thought about it for some time, whittling away hours to get to the root of the anxiety and it struck me: I planned to do nothing.

That’s the root of it – for so long, I have planned to do this or that or yes, the other, but to force myself not to plan had created an anxiety.

Go figure.

Our Modern Intimacy

Modern intimacy. #tech #people #intimacyI’m guilty of going somewhere and interrogating my phone – who isn’t in this day and age? – yet it seems you see people going out together only to stop and get coffee somewhere so that they can sit closely, a faux intimacy, checking up on things and not interacting at all.

Worse, they may be using the infrastructure to share information with each other – bouncing off of servers, perhaps even internationally, so that they can share information.

Have we forgotten how to make eye contact, to talk?

And these are typically the same people who do not respond to messages in a timely manner. It makes one think they are studying articles on how not to communicate.

Yet I myself am guilty at times, when things have run their course and the person with me no longer holds interest for me. This is why I’m usually alone – people generally bore me quickly – but when I’m present, I am completely present.

Toilet Seat Exchanges?

Well, I feel better...Pictures hint at stories sometimes – such as this one.

Who on Earth would think that they could somehow return a toilet seat, or underwear, or other things that would share space with the waste areas of the human body?

And consider – it happens enough where people actually put signs up related to it.

Clearly, as much as we have dealt with literacy, we as a society are failing somehow.

Beach Healing

Beach bandaidThroughout my life, I have been fortunate to have almost always been near a beach – where the water meets the land, where the wind blows across water and sand, where your toes are caressed by thousands of years of erosion.

So many people I know go there too late for my taste, when there are large crowds at the beach that clamor for attention. It was only in two places where I found like minds early in the morning – Hawai’i and, oddly enough, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Oddly enough, they were decades older than I, finding peace from troubled lives with the casual everyday sunrise.

The light plays across the waves as the sun makes it’s way across the horizon; the refractive indices of the clouds casts different colors across the water, reflected, bouncing, even as some is blocked. Some silently cheer for the sun; I cheer for the clouds, the unspoken heroes of a sunrise that make it different every day.

I make time to change band-aids on my soul during troubling times and air out the wounds during the good times, knee-deep in water, physically feeling the ebb and flow of a universe that greets like a puppy, playful, and yet like the wolf, serious at a moment’s notice.

Deadly and playful, as the world is.

A Note From Nowhere

nowhere HDR

There is a peculiar joy to being nowhere, where nobody expects you to be someone you may not be. We all wear our masks, different ones for different occasions, and after years of wearing masks it’s difficult to know who one really is anymore.

My first day in the new place was what some would call, ‘wasted’ – I slept the entire day and the following night, waking only for food that, as luck would have it in this quiet nook of the world, is superb. There was some pressure here and there to go and do things afterward, to go see this, to go see that, to run amok like… a tourist.

I’m not a tourist. This is my planet. I’m not quite sure what the rest of you are doing here, and right now I’m fairly sure I don’t care what you’re doing here as long as it doesn’t interfere with me.

I explore. A man walks up to me, speaking in his own language, his own dialect, slowly – the uncertain manner in which different cultures and languages greet each other. I am offered an array of products, quietly, and am told that he can get anything I want. I listen keenly, staring downward as if in deep concentration. He is shocked when I raise my head, look him in the eye and respond in the same language and dialect, quickly, that I thank him for the offer and that I already have everything I need.

Shocked, he walks off quickly. He doesn’t know where I’ve been, what I’ve done, but he’s certain at this point that I’ve been here before.

Slowly, over the course of the next few days, having been spoken to – politely, if not insistently – about what products and services are available, they fade into the background. Each one gets a slightly different story from me of who I am, where I’m from, what I do… It doesn’t matter. I’m not here to impress anyone. I’d likely fail anyway.

Now and then a new face shows up and does the same, only to find the same response… Slowly, I expect by the time I leave, they will find that all I really wanted was to be left alone and that I was simply being polite instead of perhaps how I might feel in the moment, if only because I understand that they are making a living here in this quiet place, and that I am staying in a place where tourists frequent.

A person looks at my camera – almost ancient in terms of Moore’s Law – and the lense I’m using. He’s quick to point out that he does photography, that he has a better lense, that he knows how to buy photography equipment. Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. I listen to him and politely tell him I know what I’m doing.

This, of course, is not true – but it’s as true as him knowing what he’s doing. The photography gear challenge is a money-pit. Learn to use what you have better.

I’m not a tourist anywhere on this planet. If we were to have a gift shop for the planet, I would like to be the curator because I’ve been offered so many things over the years from all over the world. Perhaps the authentic Egyptian hookah will be to my liking, boxed with a better image of the hookah on the box than what lays within? Perhaps something put together with coconuts, somewhat imaginatively? Or how about a drink that is mixed within a fruit? The infatigable t-shirts that allow you to prove that you have been to wherever you are, maybe a small replica of a building – the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building? My personal favorite: the shot glass.

And yet, tourists travel the planet and pick up these items to put them on shelves.

The experience is why I go to places – not the frantic schedule of the tourist who simply must do everything so that they can tell their friends that they did it, but absorbing what a place actually is, absorbing the environment, watching how people do things and learning – and when asked, maybe giving them some ideas from somewhere else.

Being nowhere can be difficult. And yet, ultimately, it’s rewarding.

Thanks to those who sent me missives, received here in Nowhere, regarding the anniversary of my escape from my mother.