adjusting the mirrors -
I walked into the party like I was walking onto a yacht. I don't know whether or not the obvious reference of that line applies, I may wear my ego on my sleeve to match the brass buttons, but Nancy's house, with it's architecture and it's proximity to the ocean, carries a nautical feel. You enter through a gate and pass on the left along a gangway that delivers you to a deck off the galley. Outside there is a ladder to the bridge, and inside is an air of being below decks.
It was an odd sensation walking along that side pathway toward the laughter and voices. In a way it was like being at a Hollywood party in that there were familiar faces I'd seen before, but only on a screen. Faces known worldwide. What kind of fame is that? I like it. Accessible celebrity.
Parsifal and Viv were the first along the gauntlet as they stood chatting with Shelley. Thanks to jpegs, I knew them in an instant and said hello, calling them by their web names. I was headed for the kitchen believing my anonymity was intact when Viv said my name. Oh blast, fingered. Probably the brass buttons. I spent the next few hours chatting offline with a few of my favorite journalers. The worst part was that I didn't get around to all of them.
Anna and Rob, the international elopers for whom the party was thrown, are a delightful couple, the kind of people I like right away. It's a pity they live in the near future on the other side of the planet. Their whirlwind tour is leaving both wistfulness and winsomeness in its wake. Sowwy, but it's twue.
I had a feeling of slightly toxic nostalgia yesterday on my way to the party. A long long time ago I had friends who lived in Venice and I used to hang around there a lot. I took a route to Nancy's that put me in front of some of the old haunts, and a day later an aftertaste still lingers. While I haven't forgotten the main events from that time 15-20 years ago, those places again, the buildings, the streets, all snap the memory into focus. I see the old faces more clearly too, bringing little mental gasps as recollections come back into clarity.
All but a couple of those old relationships are gone now, for various reasons - time of life, circumstance, the usual stuff of being in one's 20's -- but I recall a rare intensity to those days. The passion belonged.
I suppose it was the anticipation of going back there that sparked yesterday's introspection. Throughout much of the afternoon I'd been in a quiet, almost sad frame of mind, situated at the axis of school, family, and health concerns and therefore ripe for a good self-examination. I found myself asking what the lesson of my life was, trying to put a finger on what crystal of truth I could extract from what's gone on these forty-some years. I didn't find any shattering conclusions, but there was something, one piece of understanding did emerge, and it's this. I am an only child, my daughter is an only child, and the preparations and evaluations we've been involved in lately with her have made me look closely at her friendships and, as might be expected, my own. I have a suspicion that children who have no siblings form attachments to other people that are felt more intensely than usual. And while everyone experiences relationships wherein affection and need are not evenly balanced, only children place much greater value and weight on close relationships, and this investment frequently goes unrecognized, understandably, by others, and is often unmatched or unreciprocated.
I also believe it is a mistake to suggest that on some objective level there is both a quantitative and a qualitative difference in the relationships of only children, or some incapacity among people with siblings. What I'm saying is the function of attachment, the mechanism itself, carries a powerful leverage and influence within the only child, and this active need can present an imbalance to a relationship that confuses and mystifies both sides.
While I would not trade my experience as an only child or the relationships I've had in my life, I wish I had been able to recognize at a younger age that this innate difference carries risks, and that what may feel like a normal expectation of reciprocated love may be a hazardous condition.
I'm willing to be wrong on this.
In the party conversation last night there was talk about the race movie "Gumball Rally" where, in one scene, a driver rips the rearview mirror from its mount and tosses it out of the car muttering something like "What's behind does not matter."
Is this true? Should we change our approach, our plans, our selves because of information gained by looking back? Do we do ourselves a favor by looking only ahead? Does wisdom really come with age?
The trouble is, the older I get the more past I wind up with. In ten years I'll be so introspective that my entries will be virtually impenetrable.
"I Don't Know Enough About You" -- Diana Krall -- LOVE SCENES
"I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity."
- Albert Einstein
photo by tim andrew