Do you remember your summer of 18? 18 years, I mean, not 2018. That hasn’t happened yet.
That was the most jacked up summer.
In what sense?
Emotionally. Revved up like a Camaro spinning whirlies on a slick street under a full moon. Flying on an airplane to a beach town when I craved being someplace else, a photographic mountain town with a boy I knew well but had never gone all the way with so he pegged me a virgin. All that latent longing and dizzying depression and unspent ambition and thwarted intimacy and fraught connection pummeling my heart with a whack ack ack!
Yeah, and the feeling that whatever was mine to grab would be gone by the next time round the sun, And the dread of knowing that I was too chickenshit to go for it, that I’d have no one to blame but myself for my pathetic spiraling out.
Have you experienced such self-loathing since?
Fortunately, no, but I suppose it’s there, if I dig for it.
I was nervous going into the holidays because, well, because lately I crave communion with others, and this can be tricky when one lives alone.
I remedied this by various means. I accepted all invitations and if possible I added a physical component such as riding my bicycle eight miles to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner. I planned a trip to the small town where my parents live. I sent a text to a friend performing in a holiday broadcast, who then got me a comp for the show and took me along to the cast party afterwards. I agreed to meet families with young children in the park even though it was freezing. I called my son. I arranged for some home repairs to be done and I stayed around to take part. I purchased tickets for the upcoming Patti Smith concert. I drank cider with a mom and her baby. I savored red goat curry. I accepted a ride from a stranger. I called a theatre school and spoke with the admissions director about the classes. I walked many blocks to a bar which was closed, musing about how I like to throw myself across the world’s path. I followed red-nosed arrows on a scavenger hunt which led to a wagonload of princesses in a five year old’s bedroom. I borrowed a car and went ice skating. I drank coffee with a co-worker and dusted off my mental model of the solar system. I agreed to complete a foursome at tennis at the last minute on a bitterly cold night knowing it would feed my mind and body. When a friend texted me on my birthday concerned that I was staying in, I agreed to go out. And when my two friends (one heavily pregnant) wanted to end the night early I followed them home and accommodated their requests for songs to be played on the piano. I drank wine and watched the HBO series GIRLS and decided that it is not altogether foolhardy to throw oneself into casual encounters, that it is human to desire desire. I let myself be touched. I took out my journal and wrote lists for each day, who I had connected with, and what had transpired. And only after seeing the hard evidence, did I stop feeling so insatiable for that elusive thing – human contact – and revel for one moment in my unbelievable bounty.