I travel for work and I travel to live other places and experience as much of the world as I can drink in. And the consequences – the consequences are making a friend or two in every place – Skopje, Brussels, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Boston. It is so rich this network of friends, and I am really lucky because I can Skype and email and send them photos through Facebook and keep up all sorts of contact, and I can even travel and see them. And the consequences are … that I am in actuality very alone – my friends are out there or in my screens, but rarely in my life. Is virtual friendship real? I experience the loss of friends and family at hand. I am left with getting through my day without the happy interruption of people bringing me a bit of joy, a cup of coffee, a bit of gossip, a minor crisis.
The second part of this consequence is that I live in a city where thousands of tourists visit, and my neighborhood full of neighbors is also full of a passing stream of bodies – the un-humanified, objectified Tourist. My local pub, where I adore the bartender, he’s like a son, and the staff knows me, and we laugh and share a moment, is filled with a stream of people. When diving, if you place yourself in one spot for an hour, the reef fish stay close by circulating around you traveling away and returning, but the pelagics and the schools of fish arrive, eat and leave.
What fish am I? I am a long-distant pelagic, coming in briefly, looking for friends and then departing. But I want to become an eel or a trigger fish, with a specific hole to call my own where I can stick my head out and see the reef, and retreat. Or build a nest and defend it, part of the reef and not passing by.
So if the loss is of friends who live here, can the loss be recovered? Or is the loss because I am unmoored, without roots in a single locale?