You can’t go home again.

Boredom is a rarity for me.  There are too many books and blogs to read, too much television to watch, too much Amazon browsing to be done to ever allow it.  This afternoon though…I just finished a book (Hillbilly Elegy), and before I can really get into another one, I need some silence and a steady lack of company.  Neither are happening.  Step-son is having technology issues that I must periodically attend to, step-daughter is trying not to throw her phone in frustration with one of her friends (who seems to think that sending a screenshot of her phone will show evidence of her broken screen).  Husband is trying to sleep for a little while before he returns to work tonight for another 12 hours.  The cat is high from the catnip spray we bought last night, and the neighbors are mowing their grass in the 95 degree heat of the day.  The trains roll through repeatedly, too many to count and way too loud.

So I’m not bored, not really.  But the book was good and a little thought-provoking and my mind is certainly wandering.

Today, I’ve been thinking about people I originally encountered on the internet, met face-to-face, and now haven’t seen or heard from in more than a decade.  Thinking of them led me to a sort of homesickness for OpenDiary, a community I joined in 1999 and stayed with off and on for the five or six years following, even though I was also self-hosted during most of that time.  (OD, of course, closed permanently in 2014, but even looking at the Wayback screenshots of its standard crappy page design makes me more than a little sad for those days long gone.)  It’s funny the things that stick with us and that become synonymous with “home” in our heads.  Place–I guess even virtual place–becomes something so much more once feeling is attached to it.  On OpenDiary, I met Leah, whose last name I no longer remember, whose emails were lost to the ether when my old standby email address was shut down due to inaction.  She made me soap, sent me a book on powerful historical women, and hugged me in the Charlotte townhouse of a friend of hers.  She was a first-year teacher with a lot of frustration…not at all a new thing for that school district, even then.  Then there was Essdee (Shawn Dana), whose last name I never knew, whose face I never saw, but whose comments on the every day minutiae of my life made everything so much easier.  And, of course, Dominica, who accompanied me and my then-partner to a Star Trek Voyager convention in Cleveland (where we all patently refused to sit in on Jennifer Lien’s section, even though she hadn’t yet become a psycho with a record), who was so very kind, who loved us both, who was a brilliant web designer, and who herself had more psychiatric problems than any of our circle of friends could have possibly imagined.

Where do these people go?  How do we all drift so quickly in and out of one another’s lives, especially if what we have seems to be good for all involved?  I like to think that I am a person interested in people, that the people I love and have around me are more important than any thing I might accomplish or any money I might make in my time on this planet.  I would rather excel in friendship than in the accumulation of possessions, and I hope that the people who are (or have been) in my life know without a doubt that this is where I stand.

I am Jewish for a reason:  I believe that this life is all we get, that our only company for the journey is one another.  That we have to take care of our fellow humans even in their weakness and sadness and madness and baddity.  (I don’t care if “baddity” isn’t a word, I’ve still been using it for more than a decade and it works.)  I was young once, so of course I didn’t always feel this way.  As young people, we rarely value the right things, and I’m sure I threw away many people I should’ve kept, and vice versa.  It’s just so hard sometimes to remember (even now) that it’s not just me in the world.  People don’t do the things they do because of how those things will affect me; rather, like me, they mostly only consider how they themselves will be affected.  I have to remind myself on a daily basis that I am not the end all and be all, that the teenager neglecting to pick up her mess cannot be taken as a personal affront anymore than the weather can.  It’s a freakin’ struggle, but I’m guessing it’s one with which we’re all fairly familiar.

I’ve digressed a little.  My point is that I’m missing all those long-gone folks today, and I’m taking their gone-ness (and OD’s gone-ness) more personally than I should.  Conventional wisdom tells me that I can’t go home again, but today….today that’s just making me really, really sad.

Read me, Seymour. Read me all night long.

I have five books going at the moment.  The majority of them are decent enough, and yet whenever I park my ass on the couch, I don’t end up reading a single one of them.  My excuses are varied and only occasionally acceptable even to me:

  1. I have a cat on my lap who won’t stop nosing the Kindle.
  2. I have this pretty new Chromebook and I need to download ALL THE APPS and create ALL THE BOOKMARKS because I’ve never had one of these machines before and OHMYGOD I love it so much.
  3. I’m writing on the internet again and sweetbabyjesus, I have to write on the internet again right now.
  4. I have rolls and rolls and ROLLS of yarn pressed against my left leg and a 10-ton half-finished scrap afghan draped across my lap that I must work on RIGHT NOW because otherwise it’s just going to sit there forever and eventually suffocate me (and the cat).
  5. Truly, I have to watch the next episode of The West Wing, otherwise I’ll never finish, and I’d like to start over again with the pilot (for the twelfth time) by next week at the latest.
  6. The teenager(s) won’t stop talking to me long enough for me to read two sentences in a row.  (Actually, I wouldn’t mind so much if he was talking.  He’s laughing neurotically and making me watch stupid YouTube videos…what is it with these kids and their ridiculous videos?)
  7. I have to start supper/laundry/cleaning the bathroom. (Doesn’t that one sound responsible?  I like that one.)
  8. If I read, I’ll just want to drink tea and eat way too many Sixlets, and I’m really trying to stop being a fat ass by Christmas.
  9. I can’t figure out what I’m in the mood for.  What the hell do I want?  Should I reread Harry Potter or The World According to Garp for the tenth time, or should I finish Hillbilly Elegy or the third Diana Gabaldon (which you can go ahead and shame me for because I’m already ashamed anyway)?

There are too many damned options and too many damned distractions and I’m overwhelmed by my way-too-lofty Goodreads reading goal for the year.

I think I’m just going to go to bed.