Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goldilocks: Brief Encounters of the Third Kind

Part I
One needn't be blond to suffer from Goldilocks Syndrome:

The indefatigable quest to find your niche (notch) in the world: to find a place where you fit in, where you are comfortable.

And I need that now more than ever — to feel that at least one fleeting aspect of my life is "just right."

And yet:

I am too liberal for conservatives; too conservative for liberals.

Too tall for petites; too short for regulars.

Too hippie for squares; too square for hippies.

Rich enough for expensive tastes; too poor to accommodate them.

Base enough for certain instincts; too moral (or uptight, depending on your interpretation) to act on them.

Full of words without the means to organize them.

Obsessed with photography without genuine ability.

Exhausted in the mornings; unable to sleep at night.

Too rural for the city, too urban for the country.

Part II
And I feel as though — no matter where I am, and no matter the crowd — I fail, and desperately so, to belong.

Like last night, sitting next to the only empty seat in the house: my presence noted by conspicuous absence, and so diminished when the show was over and I attempted to work my way through a crowd of people that never saw me coming.

"Excuse me," I would say. "Excuse me."

But I was invisible again — a blurred face among many — a reality which transformed my solitude into an ineffable queasiness in the pit of my stomach.

Once again, though, the train ride offered the mostly unlikely sort of contrast: my seat was "just right" until the car started to fill and a newcomer sat down beside me.

I shifted my bag and my book to give him ample room, but felt his eyes wandering to my pages as we shuffled on towards our many stops.

"What do you think of that book?" he asked, the alcohol on his breath and the redness of his eyes unmistakable signs of the evening.

From there we conversed, talking about literature and film — an oddly decent single-serve conversation — before he nudged my leg with the back of his hand and said, "Well, this is my stop."

In that instant I offered a hurried goodbye, marveling at how the only people who have seen me in the past two weeks would most assuredly not remember our encounter by morning.

And that, I suppose, is where I fit in.

Somewhere between the stops — the spaces. Somewhere between two chords in a piece of music, or the background to a painting noted for its foreground.

It is there, nestled between the gin and the tonic, that I reflect again on those words spoken to me by the man who sideswiped my vehicle earlier this month:

"I'm sorry," he said to me then. "I just didn't see you there."


Eli said...

Good read! I relate and sympathize.

ds said...

you sound like you belong more under my sign than yours, if you buy into that sort of thing. I don't, but it means a lot to me. over the years, I've come to find that I am under the twins. not in the middle, but under both individually at the same time. we is what we is, darlin. just think where you would be without it...

Anonymous said...

What do you do to make yourself seen? I know that is an odd question but I know that I can make myself "invisible" in a crowd if I put my mind to it. I broadcast "Don't talk to me" and people don't. This doesn't explain why people in traffic don't see you except they don't see anyone. (I had a friend with a Highway Orange van that people NEVER saw.)

As for the "Neither fish nor fowl" portion, if people don't accept you for who you are, then they have a problem. If you don't accept you for who you are, then you have a problem. (Yes, I know, cliche, but they are cliches for a reason.)

How was the event last night?

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Eli - How the heck are ya, anyway?

DS - Yeah, though my sign is also known for contrasting aspirations. Hence the two fishes, facing opposite directions. We don't know where to go, or where we belong. Upstream? Downstream? We want to be everywhere at once.

BPP - You mean Wednesday night? Cause last night I worked out and went to bed at 9:30. Pathetic, huh? But, yeah, the show was good. Oddly enough I was most impressed by Glen Hansard's take on a Van Morrison song, the only cover of the night. But, man, it was amazing. I really think you'd like the Swell Season — see "Once" and/or check them out when they're out your way next week.

Pamela said...

that whole first section could have been written by me (well I couldn't have written it - because I don't think I could create that flow) but I felt a kinship with all the "buts" that are invisible behind the semi-colons

M@ said...

Your car got hit AGAIN!?

I am obsessed with pornography with no real talent... but I beg to differ about your photos.

M@ said...

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm awesome in the sack.