I saw two different sets of friends today: the first over brunch; the second over coffee. Both meet-ups exceeded their appointed hours in that charming (if somewhat discombobulating) way that good friendships have of demolishing one’s sense of time.
I’m still disoriented, to be honest. Like most post-moderns of my generation, almost all of my relationships are linked to particular settings and particular eras. So when I see old friends, the meetings conjure memories of specific behaviors, specific geographies and specific periods of my life, and the end result, more often than not, is a sensation of massive disorientation—of being in two places and two times simultaneously, or, even more bewilderingly, of being two people at the same time.
And when I see different groups of friends in sequence: then, yes, the existential vertigo intensifies exponentially. In the past, I thought meditation would help ease the psychic dizziness, but if anything, the heightened self-awareness has just made the sense if disequilibrium more acute.
So now, I’m writing, because writing has always been my way of anchoring (and yes, also my way of retreating, because perspective requires distance in the same degree that it restores equanimity). Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m returning to the confines of my present reality (these claustrophobic yet oh-so-comforting confines).
It’s funny how I have to exert so much effort just to be here right now.