Journal: Balancing the Philosophies of Homer and Bobby McFerrin

Photo by Cristian Dina on

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I miss my friend. It’s like I’m in mourning, but I’ve no right to be. It’s not like he’s dead or anything, nor even sick. He’s just far away. And for most of the time that we’ve known each other we’ve not been any nearer. But for a little while, we were in the same place at the same time. We could write together and talk and walk and eat. I grew accustomed to it. And it was nice.

And we still talk or text most days. We send each other links to interesting articles, songs and stories and discuss them, recommend tv shows or movies and laugh about them or dissect them.

But distance changes things. You can’t read the nuances in a person’s face, or distinguish a catch in the voice from the static on the line. Bags under the eyes are blurred or invisible, as is a slump to the shoulders or a weariness in walking. These issues apply to both parties — I can’t  see them in him, nor he in me. There is no way to know when or how to offer comfort, barring an explicit request. What felt like a nearly psychic connection no longer works over wifi.

I seem to have been “cursed” with an uncomfortable mixture of intelligence and incurable pessimism. My Cassandric prophecies of doom nearly always come true. (Blame it on the law of attraction if you like, but, in my mind at least, it seems to apply to larger world events as well as to my own life.)

So it seems inevitable to me that the closeness will fade and thin, that we will grow apart. That is what often happens in these situations. Technology allows us to cling to a small piece of each other long after the plane has left the ground and landed again, a tiny thread of intertwined souls stretched halfway around the world. But the thread can only remain intact for so long. We must eventually look up from our phones, to live in the worlds we are in, see the real people standing in front of us, ignore and perhaps even forget the pale ghost on the screen.

Probably, I should not begin the mourning process so early. I should enjoy our interactions while they last. And maybe Cassandra should have ignored her visions of disaster and just tried to be fully present in the moment. She undoubtedly would have been happier. But she would not have been a very interesting or relatable character in that case. In fact, there would have been little reason for her presence in the story of Troy at all. 

Don’t mistake me. I try to be happy when I can, to laugh and enjoy life. But the sadness exists, even preemptively. To deny it is to deny a part of myself, and my value as a character in the book of my own life.

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