I Fear the First Person

For a person who writes as much as I do I do not write much about myself. I do not maintain a tradition blog in the sense that it is not really some existential, stream-of-consciousness extension of my personal life so much as it is a virtual filing cabinet of ideas and poems etc.

This probably has to do with my fear of being alone with myself. Writing about myself is an exercise in me getting a little too close for comfort.

Of course the old adage from Polonius via Shakespeare via the Oracle at Delphi etc. “to thine own self be true” which is really a fleshed out “know thyself” becomes difficult when one tends to run from oneself.


So here I am writing in the first person. I hate and fear the first person perspective when I am writing it but I am addicted to reading it when it is others. I love knowing others or “the other” as it were. People are the most interesting people on the planet really. So very interesting with each person’s story as unique as a fingerprint

One of the values in knowing other people is that the more one knows someone the harder it is to condemn them or judge them. I don’t mean know in the sense of basic acts but REALLY know them…to know something of their heart and childhood, their culture and their beliefs. This kind of knowledge can lead a person to better understand their decisions and choices.

This all sounds like a good argument for getting to know oneself doesn’t it. Perhaps later.

I miss things sometimes. I miss the empty days of summer wanderings on bike or foot…my mind is still the same as the one that was carried along by the boy but the boy is no longer the same one that carries along this mind. It is odd.

I would like to be able to get in the car and drive and drive and drive but economics prevents it. I would drive to Ontario for a visit perhaps or to San Francisco maybe or back to New York or New Orleans. The desert would be good too. Economics determines a level of freedom whether we like it or not.

There are places I would like to re-visit with new eyes…London, Tokyo, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany…all places that left a mark among others. Peru and Brazil do not hold the same sway…perhaps another time.

Lately I have been dreaming more often. By dreaming I mean thinking pleasantly about the future. I am not a future-dweller by nature. I am a here-and-now person, staunchly, resolutely and by choice and experience. I find value in the past solely by it’s ability to teach – i would never live there. The future is something life has made me suspicious of. It does not exist. It is an illusion and to live there or dwell to long on it is dangerous. One can lose oneself in hope. That sounds pretty awful when you say it out loud. Still I feel that way. The present is concrete in my mind and it is where I strive to live.

Still…I find myself lapsing uncharacteristically into dreams about the future. Silly. What does it mean really?

Once I dream’t of reconciling with my father. That never happened…he died before I could get around to it. I am not very sad about this…it is simply fact…he never made an effort either really. Economics played a factor with that too.

I find sometimes that people do not understand the economics factor in decision making. “Come for a visit”. Easier said than done really. Am I supposed to mortgage my house for these things? Am I expected to go into debt for such things? I think perhaps I am.

It can be difficult.

See, this is why I do not write in first person often – whiny. I despise self-pity and whining…particularly in myself. Each of us has a lot in life…each person’s lot is different. Somewhere in the world is the most miserable and unfortunate human being and it is not me…it will likely never be me. It is not you either despite how you might feel.

My flowers are anemic this year. They are always amazing but this year they suck. Their stems are a pale, sickly green and their flowers are few and far between. There is too much space between them and they have simply refused to fill in. I think this is because I used second-hand soil. Dirt gathered together at the city compost site.

Normally I use potting soil and fertilizer. This year I just went to the scraped up pile of dirt outside of town and now look…my flowers are barely hanging on. They do their job with as much enthusiasm as workers on an assembly line toward the end of a 12 hour shift…all they want to do is punch out and go where flowers go when they stop being flowers.

I attended an Eid party the other night. What a blast that was. FOODFOODFOOD…all sorts of amazing Pakistani and Indian food at a great gathering of the local Pakistani/Indian community. Brilliant and fun.Beautiful saris and jewelry and people. We were the only people outside of their community to have been invited…it was a nerve-wracking honour.

Questions piled into my mind before hand? What to wear? When to arrive? How long to stay? Do we bring anything? What should I talk about? Where should I sit?

Like a swarm of flies the questions buzzed in my mind.

Time of arrival. I wondered out loud before hand if this was an early culture, late culture or on-time culture. I wonder then if it was racist to wonder such things. I decided to arrive five minutes late. I came to realize that 5 minutes late was actually about 45 minutes early. Question answered. I still felt guilty for asking it.

Once people arrived it became clear nothing needed to be worried about. We were welcome as if part of the community. Conversation was had, greetings were exchanged and the evening could not have been more fun.

I was decidedly not subtle about hoping to be invited to the next big event…I think it might be Diwali…the Hindu Festival of Lights. Here’s hoping (shameless).

So now here I am at the local coffee shop, tapping away at the keyboard and doing my best to avoid being alone with myself lest I slip into introspection and other valuable exercises of solitude. Based on what I have written so far I may have failed…ah well such is life.

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