It started with driving directions. I was headed to Christmas dinner. Long story short, my family, just like yours, is complicated. The lesson wasn’t in the players, so much as it was in how I dealt with my own thoughts about the incident.
Though I spent many years in Boston and its neighborhoods, I am now officially paralyzed by traffic and the crowding. I’m sure people see my dirty Subaru and my license plate from NH spells lost redneck. But the density of humans and the lack of privacy overwhelms me; homes are “cheek to jowl” and windows face other windows, everyone’s life is on display.
In contrast, earlier today I dragged Alice out back to look at the logging project. We haven’t been up there weeks. The Christmas thaw has sent a deep warmth into the earth and torrents of water are rushing down from the ledges. Our usual route was detoured though I could see clearly where we wanted to go.
The first directions I carefully printed out (because the last time I tried to use my phone’s GPS and drive it didn’t go well) were to my destination, when it was confirmed that I was picking up someone else first, I printed a second set as well.
As it turned out, the driving directions weren’t necessary. I remembered where I had gone wrong the last time I was lost in the city. The instructions, however, for living my life of writing are nowhere to be found.
When I arrived, she chastised me for a post someone had shown her, and demanded a promise that I would never write about her again. She said she felt I had violated her privacy. To think that I may have offended someone so dear to me was devastating. When I write this blog, I never set out to inflame, insult or in any way negatively impact a life. Writing is something I do. I try to be interesting and fair to those I write about. I strive to not include enough information to cause them any cyber harm, using pseudo names in most cases.
I am giving a lot of thought to seeing life through the thoughts that flow into this work, and how others might view it. If there is no understanding of or a genuine fear that the Internet will somehow intrude on their privacy, then I must accept that as their truth and agree I can not 100% guarantee they will never see an impact on their lives from my words. I would like to think my obscurity would some day filter away to recognition, but I have no illusions nor am I convinced I’d be any happier with notoriety .
When she asked if I had written any other posts about her, I honestly said I had not. But I was bothered by the image she mentioned, an old photo. A quick search of posting history brought up a post from six months earlier. Though both pieces were loving and meant to honor her influence on my life, I felt sad and guilty. I need to sit with them awhile and not react from emotion. I set my music to “LET IT BE” by the Beatles and sat with the words washing over me.
There’s a time for directions; and a time to fly by the seat of your pants, as my dear dad would say…