Fred A Levy Haskell (fredcritter) wrote,
Fred A Levy Haskell
fredcritter

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Essay I'll probably never get around to finishing...

The difficult thing — the reason humankind has always and no doubt will continue to invent and practice various rites of passage — is that we never really feel different, or, at least, not in any really discernible way. I think back and remember, for example, riding on the ferry to Port Townsend with Jerry & Suzle in 1979, sitting on the beach at Monkey Mia with Susan & Gavi in 1999, standing in my apartment in the Bozo Bus Building and turning the crank of my Gestetner 230 to print RUNE 39 in 1974 … I remember those moments, and as I remember, the guy doing those things — the “me” in those memories — is, well, you know, me.

There are ways in which this is if not wonderful then at least a very good thing. This ongoing sense of self — the fact that for most of us there are no gaps, no disconnects — enables us to realize and integrate our whole lives. Who we are “now” — at any given moment — is informed by the whole of our experience. Of course, this information gives lie to that feeling of not-differentness; at 53 years old, I have had the opportunity for many experiences which have in great part formed me — which, in combination with some basic “me-ness,” have made me who I am. Intellectually it is obvious that I am not the same person I was when I was, say, 40 years ago … or even last week! Emotionally, however, it is a completely different story. Emotionally, it is the same me all along.

The problem of this, of course, is that life and society and human interaction require and expect and allow different things, different behaviors — whole different modes of behavior — based more or less on our age. Some of these things are simple facts of biology and habit: hey, me knows how to ride a bicycle, me does it all the time, me regularly rides from St. Louis Park to Shakopee … how come me is so unstable and uncomfortable and easily winded on a bicycle? Oh yeah, it has been about 32 years since I was riding a bike regularly. Others things are less obvious — people simply respond differently to the same set of behaviors exhibited by a person with sandy-brown hair than by one with grey and brown hair.

Um … thought gap … fragments …

I know from this that the woman who looks out of my mother’s eyes now — now that she’s in her mid-80’s — is the same girl who looks out at us from that high school photograph, from that one standing by a swimming pool with me and my dad in the 1950’s…. I know that some day I might be in my mid-80’s, and that I will look out at the world puzzled because my legs don’t seem to work so well and because people are treating me funny.

I dunno. I guess I have to chew more on these thoughts….

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