03 March 2009

All You Need to Know

LUND--Of my trip to the US there is little to say. Its time had come and so I flew back, not to the Southwest of my childhood but, perhaps, to the place where I became a man, where my parents still live and to where most of those who had become my closest friends live as well.

So I flew to fly-over country and it began to snow. I had thought I missed being known by people but in truth it was only that I missed the people I know well. While in Wooster I only went out on the town one time. Though Seattle's, my favorite coffee shop, had closed there were new places and the usual suspects were perched a their rails engaged in the ritual whirl of practice mating, liver damage and feigned conviviality.

Some asked me how Sweden had been treating me though most confused my country of residence with Switzerland. To them I wove alluring tales of a love affair with a beautiful yodeling champion and my new job in a watch factory. A few figured I had been in Central America (usually confused with South America and occasionally Africa) and some hadn't noticed I'd been gone at all. Not that I blame them, I had changed worlds too often before and was normally only part of theirs' briefly and in passing. To those who are not of your intimate circle you are only a cipher anyway, a collection of half-truths and assumptions based on hearsay, rumor, faulty information and clumsy spying.

So I am what I am and they are what they are and I'm sure all the people I thought I missed are known and loved by someone but that person isn't me. For I am no longer there, no longer part of the local milieu, and the goings on in my life are of no more interest to them than theirs are to me.

I needed to return to see this, to see what I missed in fact and what is more personal myth than reality. I was able to spend time with most of those who are close to me though not all. A month after nearly a year and a half is simply too little time. And now I am back and at first it was a day and then a week and now it has been a month and soon enough another year. I am back into the whirl of my life here, utterly insignificant and of little interest to the denizens of Wooster, Ohio.

The strangest thing, perhaps, is that life overseas is often more or less just like life in the US. Things, as Vincent Vega said so wisely, are just a little bit different. I am looking for work, making time for Lena and my friends, going to school, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner. The world back there is carrying on doing much the same. People I have known will date, break up, marry, move, breed and maybe die and quite possibly I will never know. Someday I may be back there and say to someone,

"Whatever happened to old ---------?"

And there will be an uncomfortable silence before someone says,

"You didn't hear?"


And there will be some sad story of cancer or a car wreck or maybe something weird involving shaving a goat while whisky drunk by an Interstate Highway but with the same sad end and shaking of heads. Or maybe they'll see my friend Jake and think of me and ask, "Whatever happened to old Tonn?" and he'll look at them, take a moment, and say something like,

"Well, I don't really know. The last I saw him he was riding a camel out of Marakesh with two redheads and a bottle of whisky. Some say he's dead, others that he's King of Waziristan..."

Because that, my friends, is all they need to know.


Anonymous lena said...

All very fine and dandy - but you better ride that camel with a light brunette. Hmpf.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Just throwing them off track, of course. It was really a light brunette, initials LP and a bottle of Flor de CaƱa!

10:25 AM  
Anonymous lena said...

Ah. Of course.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous lena said...

Ah. Of course.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...you leave Marakesh for Kingship in Waziristan and i return to Wooster...um..gonna go with no thanks..it's Dijibouti or bust for me...


8:17 AM  

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