Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The dead tailgate


Living in Springfield most of my life, sometimes I feel like every person's face I see is familiar to me, that I know everyone.  That's probably why it took a trip to Boston yesterday to re-trigger that strange realization that everyone is at the center of their own consciousness: homeless people at the Boston Common, people in suits, the dozens who passed me while chatting on their cellphones-- everyone is more real to themselves than any other person.  Realizing this is a strange, disquieting and liberating sensation.

Usually, if I mention this phenomenon to other people, I get a blank look or a response that indicates they think I might be crazy.  (Same with the other odd things that happen sometimes: like when a word or object loses its meaning and it becomes clear that the meaning is only what we give it.)  But I did have a satisfying exchange with my granddaughter's fiance Jeff a few weeks ago.  We had some time to kill in a bus station together and when I described my experience, he gave me a startled look.

"I think about this all the time!" he said.  No wonder we get along so well.  (In our other rare moments together, we talk about quantum physics-- something else that most of my family and friends have little tolerance to listen to.  Coincidence?  I think not!)

Anyway, driving home on the Turnpike, a poem I wrote some years ago popped into my mind so I share it here:

The dead tailgate.
They get on your ass
or pull right in front of you
so you can't pass.
Like they own the road,
like the road is their name.
Some pull over and watch you
from the breakdown lane.

1 comment:

Melody's Brazil Experience said...

I always say to Jeff: Most women would say they married their father. Well, I guess I married my grandmother!