Monday, February 18, 2013

Take the Long Way Home: Lost on Long Island




I am ashamed and embarrassed, yet I am strangely in control.

And such are my insecurities-- for whatever it's worth, and that may be quite a bit, this was the original message I wrote, but I sent it to myself and sent you an abbreviated version.

I think the uncensored version was better. 

I try to articulate.

I try to be interesting.

I try to be normal.

I need someone to hear what I'm not saying-- sometimes-- I don't like talking in riddles all the time.  I don't like talking in riddles all the time. I don't like obsessions and ruminations.

I don't like explaining the obvious.  I don't understand why it must be so complicated. 

I have one task. I have no idea how to complete my task, but I must keep searching.  

I developed new skills last night.  My car is still having problems and then my phone locked up.  I was completely lost on Sunrise Highway and could not find my way home (though I wasn't quite sure where my final destination would be.)  

I finally realized that I needed to pull over every twenty minutes to gather my bearings and plan a short term traffic route.  Forcing myself to stop for about forty minutes each time I got lost allowed me to process the emotions of the whole thing.

I pulled over at a diner in Long Beach and they were able to reconnect my phone so I could call for directions or support, or whatever!  

As I sat on the phone with tech support for over an hour, I started noticing that there were people sleeping in parked cars a few spaces away.  I couldn't tell if the couple that just emerged from a car just two spots away were committing an underage indiscretion or a felony in the back seat.  

As I noticed others around me, I wasn't so frightened anymore and I settled into my home for the night.  I did not feel so uncomfortable shuffling around in my somewhat respectable Honda Civic.  I almost forgot for a while that I was lost so I took a baby step to the next place and what an experience.  I was still lost but closer to my destination.  

This time I settled into a "execustay" type of hotel/motel.  This was working, so why rush. 

Why so frantic? 

Even with the phone now working, the car situation had not improved and I simply could not think of anyone to call.  Even if someone could come and get me, where would I go? Where would I put my things?

So finally, I made it over to Starbucks on the perimeter of the Hofstra Campus.  I was the only car in the lot, and I boldly parked facing forward and watched the police race by me without notice.  

I became very sad for this world just around then.  They were racing all around me and it took about 30-35 minutes before a cop car pulled into the parking lot.

Saddened by the reality that my suspicious activity did not invite further inquiry, I had already decided to tell them the truth before they pulled up to me in the lot.  

I did not even bother to park in a space.  I boldly parked horizontally taking up two or three spaces placing myself in a precarious situation.

Do you think they knew it wasn't the first time? 

Do you think they saw through my decidedly in in-your-face tactics and saw this as a thinly disguised effort to feign temporary homelessness? 

Would they be back tomorrow night? Would I?

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.  © 2002

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