Now, somewhere in the middle section of my life, around the midpoint of a bad joke without a punch line, I can wonder if I am lost. If I don’t know where to go any more. Of course, the question could be asked: do we ever have even the slightest clue where we are going? Or less cynically: do we ever manage to believe the little stories we keep telling ourselves about life being a journey? ….rather than a truly haywire Odyssey. And how can I be lost if I never had a definite goal to begin with. To be honest, the most I could state with certainty is that I had some such a thing as a moving target I was aiming at.
During primary school I wanted to be either a cab driver or a trolley bus, uhm, manager. I imagined that getting to know every corner of the city while sitting at the helm of a self-locomoting vehicle was surely the highest height one could wish to claim as a human being. Perhaps now that seems laughable, this childish goal of having power over a vehicle and passengers and all that but a certain aspect of it has retained it’s drawing power. Namely that, you got it, of constantly moving from A to B, without stop, getting to know places along the way. As a child one is curious enough as to even take a genuine interest in one’s own city. During one’s teenage and tweenage [what an altogether horrid word, I just had to use it] this then comes to be seen as parochial, uncool and reflecting very negatively on the self-image one wants to project in the direction of one’s peer group.
Each member of which is also so very flipping busy projecting such a carefully crafted image that they are hardly aware enough to take note of yours, is the sad truth. Only later, as one imagines to become more rounded, or anthropological, or novelistic, does one realize that it is precisely through knowing one place very well, that one is able to derive so much more from all the other places. That is: one place is not randomly substitutable for another, that is, it is a place not a space, that is: one has a place to call home. Even if it’s only a bed.
Then came secondary school and I fancied I might be a good architect. I can’t remember how I came up with this idea, really. I had never been good at drawing or designing stuff, so me thinking I was going to be an inventor of buildings was really the sort of dream constructed from thin, hot air. There was some kind of shiny prestige I was grabbing for here, but it got soiled to the point of irrecognizability one’s I picked up the ink pencil to do some “technical drawing”, during the second year of secondary school. I wasn’t inconsolable or anything, I just got to know my limitations very acutely. Moreover, a building is such a monumentally static affair that it has little to nothing to do with my shark-like urge for motion.