i should be packing, going out to purchase cat food and kitty litter and deodorant that doesn't suck like the secret i just bought...
but my tongue is numb from the walgreens ora relief throat spray and i found an excuse to suck on luden's throat drops (read: candy!) and i had some thoughts on community. or church. or rather, the intersection of the two.
or, you know, not.
i went home recently. i think there are a few physical places that i would refer to as home... currenty they are 1. my home in condo 14 2. mansfield 3. my grandparents' place in the country 4. my mom's house, kind of. but i don't think she really feels at home there, so it's hard. this is more like home3.5 (home three point five)
(if you want to talk about home as people, bran and a couple of others would definitely get thrown in that mix. but i have some kind of story to tell i think, so i'll leave this be for now.)
i'm referring to home #2.
i got a wild hair up my ass (a branism, i think. he put it in a song once) a couple of months ago and went for a drive. i ended up at the new church building of the church i attended for several years, until mid 8th grade.
and on some whim i went in, through some back side door and asked to see the pastor. let's call him billy.
well, the admin staff was very silly about the whole thing. "pastor billy is a very busy man; let me see..." blah blah. they bustled about and felt important to be protecting the pastor's time.
i just gave my name, said i wanted to see him just for a few minutes. something changed the assistant's demeanor, and he invited me to enter pastor billy's office.
a wide expanse of expensive oak laminate-top desk separated us. he offered me a mint from his candy dish and didn't remember me too well, just the last name.
"aren't you the smart one?"
"no, that was my sister."
and he sort of leaned back in his chair, like you do when you're sitting in an expensive high-backed dead cow office chair -- he rocked back a bit and looked at me sideways, trying to remember.
i guess i have to give him some credit, cause he hasn't seen me in about a decade, though i did ruin the christmas play one year by continually mouthing "wassup!" at the youth section during the performance.
he had some gray hair, and too much clunky gold jewelry.
what he didn't have? anything for me, except for need.
i went in looking for, well, i'm not sure what -- not answers really, but a insta-mentor. some kind of authority figure from the past. someone less jaded than my college professors, someone more accessible than caputo or my dead derrida.
and i got an insecure man who somehow wanted something from me
it's a long story. i mean, a really long one. but i called him out for kicking me out of the church when i was a 13 for deciding to side with mom during the divorce. and he sort of crumbled, an old ball of guilt and apology but in some sideways selfish way.
so i told him not to worry about it.
i gave him a lot of advice (seriously now!) and told him to read caputo and mclaren.
but back to community now. what struck me, what was insane, is that not ONE SINGLE MOTHERFUCKING PERSON I KNEW WHEN I ATTENDED THAT CHURCH IS STILL A MEMBER.
and when i asked about different people who influenced me, people i loved in my childhood and adolescence, i could see hints of memory flicker across his worn face as he shook his head....
he hasn't heard from any of them in years. his family left him.
he's my dad in an over air-conditioned church behind a fancy desk in gold jewelry holding on to a god he doesn't understand.
he's lost everything. and he has to cling to the new because he knows he can't get it back.
uh, yes. so, community.
i don't think it lasts for any good deal of time. people end up privileging other things, or succumb to flights of fanciful resentment. or they betray each other. or they move away. or they off themselves, break up the band, cycle rumor or blame and it just doesn't click in a sustainable way.
i think this is a choice. i mean, it's definitely a choice on the part of each individual: how will i act? what's important to me? who is? how? etc. etc. etc.
the only long-standing communities i've seen first-hand are the incredibly shitty ones of my mom and dad's families. god, they backstab, they gossip, they love each other with such passion and they're each little villages.
but people seldom leave the coy congregation.
why is blood so thick?
how do i learn to act in ways other than the way i was trained, taught by example?
i'm trying folks; i'm trying.
i'd like to end with something more conclusive. but like the films i'm drawn to lately, this is just some rambling narrative, one blip in the life of shnn.
i've got to go get ready for new york, for the book business and brandon and life and love.
i've got to buy cat food.