“This is not how I drew it up. This is not what the blueprints said. I really don’t know what it is. If it’s my life, I really don’t want it, but I have kids to think about, so that’s why I’m still here. I’m going to go on being here, too. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to myself. I hardly can remember what used to be but I can’t forget it either.”
“I feel like I got lost and wandered in to someone else’s life. If they want it back, they sure can have it. I feel like an immigrant. I haven’t learned the language and I don’t really want to learn it.”
“I don’t know how I got here. I suppose one thing led to another, but I never had any idea of the destination. I was kind of just along for the ride. I’ve turned in to someone I hardly recognize. The particulars of my life shock me when I stop to consider them, which is why I try not to, which is why I don’t understand what I’m doing here talking with you.”
“I don’t like Kafka, but the reason I don’t like him is that he knows too much. He’s too close to truth that is beyond inconvenient. You really can wake up in the morning to discover you have been turned into a huge bug. Some mischief in the night. An accident. Nobody meant you any harm. But how do you learn to live like a bug? And even Kafka is still being polite, because you can be turned into something even stranger than a bug while you go on looking just like yourself.”
“The palm reader told me that I was going to live to 101. I wanted to smack her. She thought it was a good fortune, but I didn’t. I was sorry I ever went to see her. 101 is just too long, especially alone. Not that I ever meant to be alone like this.”
“It’s like you’re on a train and the train is going down the track and then, without any warning, the train hits a switch that someone has thrown and now you’re on another track that’s going to take you somewhere new. It’s spooky. You don’t know where you’re going and you didn’t buy a ticket, but there’s no way to get off the train.”
I sit and I listen to people. This is what I do for a living. I consider it remarkable that life has been so kind to me as to allow me to do something for a living that I enjoy. I am comfortable with the life I am lucky enough to lead now. It suits me as I currently know myself. I can recall times in my life when my circumstances seemed strange, alien, imposing, so when I listen to people in their forties and fifties, most of whom have suffered a devastating loss , expressing their discomfort in their lives, I resonate. The uncanny is a real and painful part of life. How do we settle in a strange place? How do we settle when we have become strangers to ourselves?