I’m starting to miss Buffalo. It started this past week, really—the week before, I was doing something (or several things) every single day after work, and it was insane; but this past week there was nothing going on, so I had more time to think. I like having time to think, but thinking also gets me to missing. It’s okay, really—it’s natural, and it’s not so overwhelming that it’s detracting from enjoying myself in San Francisco. I’m not exactly talking about the people, either: I miss my friends and family no matter what when they’re not around. What’s new is missing Buffalo, and Canisius, and the whole life I had there. Not only am I missing my specific friends, but I’m missing the level of friendship we had. My housemates are great but we’ve only known each other for a month; it takes me longer than a month to establish that level of closeness with someone. I have yet to figure out how to meet people in the city, outside of JVC and work, so the circle of people I know has diminished considerably…
I came across an interesting passage in the book I’m reading, You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. Will and Hand are swimming at night in Senegal when they meet a French woman who is trying to explain to them her concept of the fourth world:
“The main point is,” she said, trying to contain her frustration, “that we have to cut from hope of continuity. Momentum. We must to see each setting and moment as whole. Different, independent. A staging ground.” […] “My mother urges me to have a chance for the fourth world at all time. You have to forget about momentum and start again, and again, and again, and again.” (141)
I don’t think that what she’s talking about is exactly what I’m talking about, but there’s a connection there somewhere. In a way, what she’s describing is what I’m trying to do: cut from all hope of continuity, to live each moment fully for itself. I’ve noticed that sometimes, when I’m enjoying myself, when things are going exactly how I would want them to, and it should be absolutely perfect, the one thing that keeps it from being perfect is my own knowledge that it has to end, because this world is inherently imperfect and whatever perfection there is can’t be complete, can’t last, and my dread of that moment coming to an end, my overwhelming and futile desire to prolong it, takes away from my enjoyment of the thing itself.
My other thought along those lines is momentum. In the story, she’s urging them to forget about momentum, but Will, at least in the ¾ of the book I’ve read so far, is doing all he can to keep moving, dodging obstacles, dreading sleep, trying to outrun his thoughts. Is this momentum or velocity? My lack of ever having taken physics is catching up with me. Anyway…that’s basically how I work, too. (Maybe it’s how everyone works? It’s possible, but not having polled everyone, I’m not going to be so presumptuous.) Over the summers my life would stagnate; I was working crappy part-time jobs and trying to find ways to entertain myself in the meantime, doing the same things I’d always done with nothing new in my life and nothing to distract me from wallowing in thoughts and memories and the wistful awareness of absence. During school, though, I usually had enough to distract me. I have no desire to completely outrun my thoughts, but I don’t want to dwell in memory to the point of toxicity, either. I think all I need is a decent balance. The thing about balances, though, is that they don’t exist in a perfect form either—most of the time the best I can do is swing back and forth between one extreme and the other.