Wonderings


noun

kän(t)-stər-ˈnā-shən

a feeling of surprise, confusion or disappointment

Say what?

Say what?

I am perfectly accustomed to the notion that things will not always go as I plan. If nothing in life is certain but death and taxes, I will make the claim that disappointment is the death of expectation; the taxation of hope.

I find myself generally able to take this phenomenon in stride. I am familiar with it, as are most folk, and lamenting the fact has never once alleviated its effects. For how we make God laugh when we plan…

Yet at certain times I am especially confused by the way things unfold counter to my expectation. Instances where all indications point to a particular course that simply never manifests.

And I am full-well aware there is no ready answer nor effective tonic. To strive is to risk, to hope is to hazard. These are the toll of possibility, and though the price may seem high at times, still better it is to yield the cost than lay stake instead to complacence.

So, I’ll sip my tea and feel puzzled. When it is gone, I will put my aimless wondering away.

with the surly people behind the counter at my local convenience stores? i’m accustomed to uppity waitstaff, i mean, i am from here. but this phenomenon is new. i am used to my clerk at the plaid being:

  1. drunk, intoxicated, or suffering the long-term effects of previous drunkenness/intoxication
  2. mentally challenged
  3. toothless
  4. persistently curious about my personal life/plans for the evening
  5. some combination of the above

what i am NOT used to is the not-so-subtly snide mien the handful of cashiers i have encountered lately have adopted.

few weeks back friends lyza, emma, & i wandered over to plaid to obtain milk duds for our popcorn. we were enjoying the fine pre-summer evening with a few cocktails, and we had all confirmed via emma’s snazzy personal breathalyzer unit that none of us should attempt to captain a vehicle of any kind, but we were merely enjoying our time together and the prospect of salty carmely chocolatey popcorny goodness. as we approached the counter, the fellow behind it got this look on his face like he thought our behavior could be favorably compared to dental work sans anesthesia. then, when i attempted to engage him in a little friendly banter to reassure him we were harmless, well…

“can i have one of those scratch its? (aside to e&l) these are really fun. (back to cashier) a friend of mine showed me how to do them. we all take turns. (smile)”

“that’s a riveting story”

WTF?

like, i wasn’t really looking for approval from this guy, but why the snark? we weren’t being unduly rowdy, we were making a sizable purchase, and, if i do say so myself, we are a group of lookers. what the hell?

then today, i go into the 7-11 so i can grab something for lunch. i decide on a clif bar, some trail mix, and a rockstar. my digestions have been a little off kilter of late so i wanted something relatively low key, but cheap and fast. i bring my whatnot to the counter and this guy gives me this look and says

“you know, there’s no FOOD in your food.”

i’m a little taken aback here so i don’t reply immediately. Then:

“well it suits me.”

“why don’t you go get yourself some crackers, or an orange. a sandwich for chrissakes.”

(pause to think of retort, think of one, begin to walk away)

“i will if you promise to shove them up your ass.”

no one saw fit to critique my purchases at freddy’s.

turns out, i’ll be well fixed for shampoo.

i think this is weird.

i’m not especially fussy about my hair. i kinda hate it actually. by which i mean to say, we have a very adversarial relationship. it wants to curl, though i wish it was straight. it grows where i do not want it to and will not grow where i do want it to. it’s not really the color i’d like it to be… blah blah blah.

that being said, i seem vaguely obsessed with the acquisition of products to pamper, train, or otherwise interact with said adversary. i cleaned out under my sink recently and came up with no less than 18 different kinds of shampoo. not just additional bottles, no. because whenever i am in the store, and i see shampoo, i think to myself “huh, i could use some of that…”


so, i figure, everybody has something they hoard. and i’m not talking about a collection. or something, like, useful or worthwhile in its own right. instead i mean some grooming product, cleaning supply, household item that no matter how much you already have, how many varieties already have tried, you cannot resist the chance to try again, to have a little more.

maybe between the lot of us we can avoid the drugstore for the next decade or so….

i’ve been wondering lately if the notion of a “best friend” endures into adulthood. if you’d asked me this question a year ago, i would have answered with a resounding,
“uh-huh!”
however, the person who filled that role in my life since i was about 17 and i haven’t even spoken
in almost a year, and so now i am no longer sure.

the common wisdom tells us it becomes more difficult to make substantial social connections as we age. that intimacy becomes harder to establish, new friendships less likely to endure.

the way we forge connections changes radically as life goes on. our life circumstances, personalities, ethics, preferences, and degree of emotional competency take on distinct texture and permanence as we age. proximity is, then, no longer the defining characteristic of friendship. the accessibility of a playmate, once the cardinal trait of friendship, becomes largely irrelevant. our sensibilities evolve with our interests and we learn to make alliances based on hobbies, political leanings, fondness for drink, and countless other considerations.

and though these might seem to be a more sound and enduring basis upon which to form a lasting social connection, there are constraints presented by our maturity which can hamper the evolution of the emotional connection of the intensity and scope inherent to the “best friend” role. no longer can we hope to be as unaffected or vulnerable as when we were children. our actions are moderated and mitigated by our experience and politesse. the fear of revealing too much, or pressing upon the tolerance of another. we no longer possess the glorious insensitivity to the effect of our unbridled self upon others.

to my mind at least, it is in many ways the drama of our adolescence that makes the profound and enduring emotional and cognitive impressions upon us that allow us to feel as though we really, really know someone, deep down at their core. it is unusual to encounter a relationship, not romantic in nature, that can (or should) generate this same type of intensity once we are out of those tumultuous formative years. and perhaps if we don’t emerge from this time with a person who has run this gauntlet beside us, they cannot really know us; cannot appreciate our evolution and our constancy.

not to forget the logistical and practical constraints of adulthood. we don’t have time on our hands to devote to just being around to discover or communicate every damn thing.

and all of this being said, i have to admit, the conclusion i come to is that while it may be possible to have a best friend as an adult, it might not be possible to acquire one if you wrecked or lost the one you already had. and this makes me sad and lonesome and wistful. because that’s what seems to have happened. and there doesn’t seem to be anything i can do about it.

i’ve been wondering lately if the notion of a “best friend” endures into adulthood. if you’d asked me this question a year ago, i would have answered with a resounding,
“uh-huh!”
however, the person who filled that role in my life since i was about 17 and i haven’t even spoken in almost a year, and so now i am no longer sure.

the common wisdom tells us it becomes more difficult to make substantial social connections as we age. that intimacy becomes harder to establish, new friendships less likely to endure.

the way we forge connections changes radically as life goes on. our life circumstances, personalities, ethics, preferences, and degree of emotional competency take on distinct texture and permanence as we age. proximity is, then, no longer the defining characteristic of friendship. the accessibility of a playmate, once the cardinal trait of friendship, becomes largely irrelevant. our sensibilities evolve with our interests and we learn to make alliances based on hobbies, political leanings, fondness for drink, and countless other considerations.

and though these might seem to be a more sound and enduring basis upon which to form a lasting social connection, there are constraints presented by our maturity which can hamper the evolution of the emotional connection of the intensity and scope inherent to the “best friend” role. no longer can we hope to be as unaffected or vulnerable as when we were children. our actions are moderated and mitigated by our experience and politesse. the fear of revealing too much, or pressing upon the tolerance of another. we no longer possess the glorious insensitivity to the effect of our unbridled self upon others.

to my mind at least, it is in many ways the drama of our adolescence that makes the profound and enduring emotional and cognitive impressions upon us that allow us to feel as though we really, really know someone, deep down at their core. it is unusual to encounter a relationship, not romantic in nature, that can (or should) generate this same type of intensity once we are out of those tumultuous formative years. and perhaps if we don’t emerge from this time with a person who has run this gauntlet beside us, they cannot really know us; cannot appreciate our evolution and our constancy.

not to forget the logistical and practical constraints of adulthood. we don’t have time on our hands to devote to just being around to discover or communicate every damn thing.

and all of this being said, i have to admit, the conclusion i come to is that while it may be possible to have a best friend as an adult, it might not be possible to acquire one if you wrecked or lost the one you already had. and this makes me sad and lonesome and wistful. because that’s what seems to have happened. and there doesn’t seem to be anything i can do about it.

something that hundreds of thousands of other fine people know: what it is like to relocate to portland.

being one of an increasingly uncommon passel of folks who were actually spawned and reared in this place, means i am surrounded by a whole mad herd of people who came here on purpose. and i feel lucky. because i want to spend the rest of my life here. it’s like being in an arranged marriage where you actually happen to be madly in love with the partner someone else chose for you.

but i know i have missed out on some quintessential “uprooting an entire life” type experiences. and the bravery and faith required for such a leap is almost unfathomable to me. there have been no tarps secured over a pickup full of belongings. no dark nights of driving to a new town without a clear sense of how living there will feel. i have never had to get to know a new town. i have never had to discover the best route to anywhere, because i have always known it. i have never been presented with such a remarkable chance to create a tale about my life in surroundings unfamiliar to me.

and this seems like something i want to experience. but i cannot imagine bringing myself to go elsewhere just to feel it.

and it is always one of the first questions i ask: what made you choose this place? of all the places? what was it like to come here from wherever it was you came? what drew you here and what do you miss about where you’re from. and what was the most fundamental change you underwent to become a portlander at last?

i imagine it is a journey that changes a person. hilarity and loneliness must ensue. the magic of this place is not lost on me for a moment, but i will never know the magic of this place as a stranger must.