Sunday, October 24, 2010

here, there

Maybe I brought too much of USA Michelle to Taiwan. I guess the strange splitting effect of having two homes had faded some back home--getting to Taiwan again caused another round of slowly sliding apart at the seams.

There are the obvious physical signs: soft USA Michelle itches when mozzies sting, sweats more than she remembers, starts wheezing almost instantly. But more unsettling is sitting at a round table with old friends, drinking tall sweaty beers, and floating up around my own head, wondering if we had talked about this stuff before, what I might have thought about it, would I have agreed or said it was all shit. Is this guy still the genius I thought he was? Is this other an asshole? Am I the same? Am I a better person out here, or just deluded and isolated?

Some this is a scary American arrogance that I didn't know I had. I'm coming back from the land of hard work, of practicality and if-you-can't-beat-'em, join-'em, and I'm back on the island of (mostly) self-professed misfits, idealists, feral, system-hating drug-addled intellectuals--and I'm wondering if I can still take them seriously. This is true, this is how I really feel; it's so embarassing. I wonder if my immersion in America, with all my friends with posh jobs and good salaries, is going to reveal my old friends to be deluded tyros. You can take the girl out of the country, I suppose, but you can't take the whole "We're number one" thing out of the girl all that easily. Even this one.

The good news, I suppose, is that my friends are the same. Equally bright, equally dim, equally cautious or foolhardy, equally fucking loving and welcoming and appreciative and I can't believe I flew in to see them with a scale and an appraising red white and blue eye. And I, in my self-absorbtion and overthinking and vanity, don't seem to have changed a bit either. And there's the bad news. Funny.

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