It’s been a while since I put thumb to phone to tap out a metronomic message to put in my bottle. Life has taken me and carried me down a dizzyingly bizarre route. However far I have travelled I’m still here. My backwater life has had a few up and downs but the journey has been an internal one.
The twists and turns, at times almost Machiavellian, havr surprised me but they have failed to knife me and I have walked away, unscathed and unscarred. I have a new and, for me, more interesting job. I got called professor the other day and when I checked irony was not lurking in the corner. I am falling in love with my teaching. Adults and small groups seem deliciously simple after the dramas and joys of teaching my large grade 1 classes. However easy the management might be however, the content is challenging and my skills are being sharpened. My mind is tingling in ways I thought were long lost. It’s a privilege to be teaching teachers and seeing colleagues introduced to new concepts and ideas.
So, backwater Battambang will be home for a while longer. There’s a contentment in lingering yet still knowing that, a year from now, I’ll be elsewhere. The Asperger Path is moving slowly and the restless motion of my thumb taps a reminder to live each moment and let each moment pass.
My life is lived in a virtual world of distant communication with friends and strangers. This sentence will be read by a few people I know and most likely quite a few more that I do not. My presence on the internet is great in terms of time. However I am aware that I am a minnow in a vast ocean. My words might as well be stuffed into bottles and cast on the open sea. I blog and write poetry and pretend that views and likes and comments don’t matter. This is art and I don’t need an audience but when a bottle washes up on my beach I open it with genuine interest.
As well as writing I have my Facebook world. A happy legion of friends who would have been long abandoned by my itinerant lifestyle but are netted and subjected to my poetry, pictures and prose. This audience, captive and silent, may follow or me not. The different levels of Facebook friendship form a hierarchy that I am not savvy enough to comprehend or intrigued enough to engage with. The social niceties of these subtly nuanced distinctions are lost on me. On the Asperger Path you are either a friend or not a friend.
Then there’s gay life. A dazzling array of apps that promise beefy masculine men that will change your life and bring you, dazed but beautiful out into the neon lit world over the rainbow. This Friend of Dorothy surrendered long ago and knows how dessicated those encounters can be. I am too fat, too out there or too gay for half of the gay community. I am also not enough of something else for a sizeable minority. Worst of all I am blanked, blocked or ignored in ways that make the harsh memories of early gay life seem like a rosy pink kindergarten.
So here is my message in a bottle. I am virtually lost. I’m on the line and I’m on line. I’m out there, somewhere. Will you come and find me?
I have a hundred thousand words in my head. They jostle noisily each keen to escape the obscurity of my mind and land in the spotlight. Fame and glamour will follow once they escape into the world. What an anticlimax they must feel. The leap made faithfully to discover a regimented place in the ether. There were thoughts of vellum, iridescent inks and golden nibs forging an italic masterpiece. Instead they have become row after technological row of evenly spaced semantic units like some dull but well planned suburban housing project. All hopes dashed, aspiration extinguished, as the dreadful realisation hardens like a concrete pavement. They have jumped headfirst into a blog. The last hopeful thought, a successful blog, is crushed.
These words will never know Caxton’s machine or the loving labours of a brotherly illumination. The beautifully artisanal imperfection of times past is not their destiny. Modernity has taken the life of the word and made it quite proletarian. They were not even mused over by a consumptive with a candle in a draughty vicarage. My words, more touched than pressed, are entered silently into a phone and then set adrift. Lost in an enormous blogosphere, they will sit awkwardly awaiting hits that will be single digit in volume before disappearing wordlessly into the void of the archive. My apologies words, for you are on the straight and narrow asperger path and, despite the absence of forks, there can be no doubt that is the road less travelled.