April 12, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on April 11, 2018

Offspring’s birthday today. Of course I miss him, and we won’t be celebrating, really, because he’s not here anyway and we already went out for dinner last night after W. got home from his extended afternoon interview with [company B]. This morning, at 6:20a.m., he had an email – they decided for him by deciding that he’s not the right person for the job. Turns out it wasn’t really a DevOps job anyway, and the actual work at [company A] is much more interesting, especially longer term. So I guess it’s a win.

Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve been through the wars, somehow. Yesterday’s temperature hit the low 80s. I took a midday walk, before the typical afternoon heat peak which usually settles in around 3p.m. or so. It was a longish walk, to [B. Beach]. The whole day and the day before – perhaps because W. was playing the LP over the weekend – I’ve had the Comedian Harmonists playing in my head, but only their most lugubrious and forlorn hit, Lebe wohl, gute Reise / Und denk’ an mich zurück…

I feel like I’m dying, disappearing behind a veil of isolation and loneliness. I don’t know what it means, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this feeling. It’s not even especially acute – except when I specifically focus on it, like now, and notice tears springing to my eyes. It’s just a kind of background tone, the way a painter might prime her canvas, or a musician choose her key. An anchoring that says, “You are here,” yet somehow you know it’s the wrong primer, unfashionably dark, say, or the wrong musical key. It feels like dying, like goodbye, like, “You Blew It.”

Lebe wohl. Gute Reise. Und denk’ an mich zurück. It’s not like I enjoy being sad like this. I don’t. But sometimes the pile up feels like a pile-on. I am reminded that I have no one I really care about nearby, except W., and that we don’t have a plan. We just drift, and even our drifting is too slow, too stuck. This is not a happy space to be in.

How did I ever end up back in this [town]? This …personal ghetto? Oh, I know full well why. Because W. can get work in Boston, even if we can’t afford actually to live in Boston, close to his work. So we live out here. But what’s out here for me, who doesn’t have a job, who won’t be traveling daily into “the Hub”?

Lebe wohl, gute Reise. Und denk’ an mich zurück. I should be the one who’s traveling, who’s going to the interesting things, who’s being asked to “think back” on the one I leave behind. Instead, I’m left behind. By my spouse, by my children. What am I left with, in this “behind,” in this town? It would almost be better if I were really alone, for then I wouldn’t be left behind by anyone. It’s the scarcity of my strong ties (spouse, son, daughter) that reminds me how I’ve shaped no web of weak ties to bind me anywhere. I may as well continue to drift – nothing matters.

My strong ties are few, too few; and my weak ties, underdeveloped, seem irrelevant. I could die here today, and three people would notice. It’s not so much the fact of my death – contemplating it – which distresses me at this moment, this very moment. It’s its comparison with my life which is throwing me for a loop. My life here is a fucking disaster – a fucking ordinary disaster, of the kind experienced by countless “lucky” people all across the developed countries. Banality. Everyday banality. It’s so conventional it makes me puke. And I see no way out, which is horrifying.

I now totally get Montenegró, which uses Marianne Faithfull’s haunting Ballad of Lucy Jordan in its opening. In Montenegró, the heroine kills all her strong ties in the end.

I think I get that now, the why of it, really get it in a way I didn’t understand when I saw the film back in 1981.

Not what I would or could ever do, but I get it.



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