I was browsing at the library when I heard a distinctive voice I hadn’t heard in 35 years. It sounded exactly like someone I had known at college. I followed the sound and sure enough it was Pat. Then I ducked my head. I didn’t have a thing against her. I had liked her well enough. I just didn’t feel like talking to anyone, let alone someone I hadn’t seen since college, with all the attendant expectations of appearing interested in what she’d been doing.
I got to thinking about other times I have skulked down a side aisle to avoid having to talk to someone: I was in a hurry. I felt grungy. My hair needed washing. I was wearing clothes I had told myself I could not wear in public.
I have avoided whole sections of the city out of fear of running into people I didn’t want to see. Once I moved in with a friend and moved out three months later, estranged. I was uncomfortable being on Queen Anne Hill until other acquaintances made it a friendly place again.
I had a voice teacher who I didn’t realize was harassing me until the Thomas-Hill hearings educated us all. After I quit my lessons I didn’t drive by Cornish Institute for 25 years because I was uncomfortable at the thought of even seeing him on the street. I found out recently that he died in 1990. All this time I could have taken that back road up Capitol Hill.
Does anyone else behave this way? Shall we just pretend otherwise so I can finish my blog?
I am not always so retiring. There are the people for whom I would strut naked in front of their house if I thought it would annoy them.
And there are people I run into habitually who I enjoy seeing. We smile, catch up briefly and say “Til next time!” It’s like a quickie lunch date without the calories or the tip.
Do you get animal visitations? Every so often I’ll see raccoons for five days running and then not again for six months. My Native American spiritualist friends would get out the medicine cards and read up on the meaning and message of raccoon. It rarely has anything to do with my having left loose the yard waste lid.
On the other hand, there could be a whole story behind why the yard waste lid was loose. That story could contain the secret of life. Something about compost. Death and transformation. See this is what psycho-analysis does to one.
I do think there are missed connections everywhere because I think there are connections everywhere. I can get into a twit sometimes imagining that I’ve missed a once in a lifetime chance for something. It’s the tug and regret of the “if onlys.”
If only I had said it differently.
If only I hadn’t said it at all.
If only I had felt like talking.
If only I had queued at the other cash register.
Tommie Eckert, one of earth’s treasures and the only music teacher in my life I haven’t been afraid of, said this to me when I was bemoaning a missed opportunity:
“There are hundreds of missed opportunities every day.”
So there are. Missed is not the same as wasted. I don’t believe anything is wasted. (I am back to the compost.) There is so much out there and the inter-connections are beyond our control. Every moment holds more than we could possibly take in.
T.S. Eliot who says so many things well, says in “Burnt Norton:”
“What might have been and what has been
Point to one end which is always present.”
I like that.