Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bon Voyage to Me

My cousin saw photos of the pieces I have in the art show, found out I was leaving for Ireland in two days, and said, "It must be so satisfying to be you!!!"

It's so odd to see your life from someone else's perspective. In my mind's eye, people look at me like I'm mildly mentally handicapped. I imagine they expect little out of me because they don't think I'm capable of much. This isn't the truth. I know this isn't the truth. Yet it's what I think sometimes. So when I heard her assessment of my life, I laughed out loud.

I've been talking to an old friend I lost contact with for awhile. He reminded me that ten or so years ago I sent him a tape of some sort and wanted to know if I remembered. I didn't. The tape isn't currently in his possession, though he's getting it back, and for some reason, I'm disturbed by this. Whatever bad music choices I made when I was 27 are hurtling back towards Canada, and thus, inadvertently, me. Possibly, I fear being judged. I did, afterall, own a John Secada CD at one point. And I totally got sucked into the Evanesence thing before I knew they were going to be on the radio every fifteen minutes three years ago and that my students would, inexplicably, write papers about them. I'm easily persuaded to listen to schlock if the commercial for it is catchy enough.

My best guess is that the tapes contain one of three things. My number one guess is that it is Nanci Griffith's _Flyer_. I'd just discovered her in grad school. If its _Flyer_, I'm not embarrassed. Guess Number Two is that it is the Irish-American punk band, Black 47, also discovered around the same time. This seems like a long shot, though I do remember going through a month-long period of trying to convince other people that they were fabulous. The final, and most disturbing possibility, is that it is not music at all but an audio tape of Marianne Willimson talking about the Course in Miracles. We'll see.

In an attempt to figure out what I was listening to in 1994, I dug out an old journal from that time. It was painful to read. I'm considering installing self-destruct mechanisms in all future journals, so six months after I've finished them they disintegrate like those "Mission: Impossible" tapes. I've never understood how people destroy their own journals because it's an archive, but now I get it. You turn almost 40 and you realize what hooey you believed when you were younger. You also realize that no matter how many times a day you wish you could go back to your twenties, you don't really mean it. The twenties were awful. Nothing on your body was sagging yet, but your brain is riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing. I don't know if it's satisfying to be me, but it is much more satisfying to be me now than it was then.

So I leave for Ireland in the morning. My cousin Mary has said it's supposed to snow on Saturday when I get there. I fly into Shannon, part from my traveling companion-co-worker for a couple days as I go to Galway, in the West. Land of my forebears and sheep-shaped rocks and rock-shaped sheep. On Monday I'll take a six hour bus trip South to Waterford where I'll spend the rest of the week, skulking, drinking Guinness, and chatting up Irish men.

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