At some point you stop meeting new people. At some point, upon meeting a new person your thoughts go, “oh, she has Siobhan’s nose! Her quaint views on feminism are just like my Aunt Francis! She has that same dull yet lovely creative soul as Emma!”
It’s the boxes our brains are wired to create closing in, maybe without conscious consent. Structure, classification & judgement are crucial skills. It wouldn’t be possible to live in such a deep and broad world without them. We have to be able to distinguish friend from foe within a conversation or two. We must know animals with shadow-shapes like this are dangerous.
I’m a novelty addict. I’m flighty, not wanting to waste too much time at any one job or in any specific city. Life feels longer when it’s more chaos than grid. Pero, entonces, the grid falls on me in my sleep. I have to work to shake it off now. Sometimes it feels like a fishing net wanting to trap & squeeze the life from my gills. Sometimes I don’t even realize it. Sometimes it’s what I want, what I need. I do see the value in routine & security. After all, it’s the one thing all parenting experts agree on: children can’t thrive unless they can on some level predict their days & we’re all still children. We all, on some level, would really benefit from consistent nap times.
This is the last time I plan to live abroad or on the road for quite a while. I need to get a job with good health insurance and a pension plan. I need to get my shit together soon if I ever want to provide a sturdy childhood for my own hypothetical lap-sitter. & for me, shaking off the routine & the cold I had acquired in Seattle—as well as a partner who had started to feel too much like a grid—was bittersweet. Bitter in part because I know I’ll be stationary at least long enough to get a Master’s, but surprisingly bitter too because I miss the routine. I miss the love I left behind in that city, I miss knowing where everything is. Halfway through my time in Mexico and I’m genuinely looking forward to my return.
I think more than anything else, the grid is coming to represent community. A network of hugs rather than one of barbs and spines. My views are changing perhaps because I’d never had the kind of community I needed before the past couple of years. Most of my years I’ve spent in Ohio, consumed by my own neurosis, sitting in the bottom of a pit all alone. Truly it was a life apart from the one I most recently left.
Is it better to dig one thousand one-foot holes or one one thousand-foot hole?
I guess both. It depends on what you find in them.