Wednesday, July 15, 2009

rules of your game

As I shift between work spaces and I learn the new rules that are my framework at the new place, I think how tricky it is to float from one set of regs to another and make it appear that this and only this is your real way of being.

Many (young) people think that as you get older you gain freedom of being. In the simple refrain of the book, when I am an old woman, I shall wear purple. But I think the opposite is true: as you add new orbits (and you must, because more years almost inevitably puts you into more spaces) you must learn to navigate them differently and attentively or you’ll be seen as one of those loopy people about whom one says – oh, she must have just given up!

So I am one way at my moonlighting job and I am a different way at my primary job. And I am one way with this friend and a different way with another. And I was one way with my now ex-spouse and I am another way with an occasional traveling companion.

Okay. Nothing exceptional about that.

But then it struck me that once you are one way, a revolution must happen for you to become another way. Otherwise there’s no going back. Only a complete contextual flip will cause you to flip as well and even then, it’s not guaranteed.

At midday, Ed and I walk down to the Hilldale market. I am a stranger there and the vendors may as well be from another state – I recognize hardly any. We buy veggies – similar, of course, to the ones I see now at the Saturday Westside Community Farmers Market, but the context is so different that I resist purchasing. Only the thought of a veggie-less dinner makes me break down. Okay. Garlic. Tomatoes. A few potatoes. Okay. That’ll do.


We admire the potted perennials...


… Ed looks over at a table with baked goods. As he reaches for a bag of oatmeal raisin cookies, I’m thinking how he and I very quickly formulated rules of being toward the other. Little has changed since we first met nearly four years ago. From day one, we behaved in a certain way. And it is how we are today.

As we walk up the hill, away from the Hilldale market, feeling like strangers there but certainly not toward each other, I wonder if we will always be operating in the same way, or whether at some point, the context will change, a revolution will happen and one of us or both of us will be different.