Monday, November 19, 2007

Moving (Part 6 of X): People Who Will Miss you, And Those Who Merely Say They Do

It's one thing to leave somewhere and figure out whom of the people you know you'll actually end up 'missing'; that is, you will feel an existential void, of grater or lesser dimension, at their non-presence in your life. With a bit of introspection you'll probably figure it out. I've decided that there's a handful, but that just about covers it.

Much more interesting and difficult is the figuring out of who actually cares and to whom it'll make a difference that you have gone. Or who is actually glad to see the back of you.

The latter is possibly the easiest. Personally, with my propensity not to leave people in a state of 'indifference' about me, there are a number who will heave a sigh of relief, though they probably wouldn't admit it, because that would be admitting that my presence troubled them. I suspect that this includes some people who are not obviously in that category. I have my suspicions about who's who and what's what, but will wisely refrain from giving any hint that such suspicions exist in this particular case or that one. Oftentimes surprising degrees of resentment lurk and fester under very carefully constructed facades of benevolence. This may well come more to the surface now that we're leaving because we're leaving; for while it is regarded by a lot of folk as a little crazy to pack up and ship out as we're doing, it will also be a source of envy for some; occasioned either by the fact that they simply can't do the same though they might like to—as we couldn't have until recently, really—or that they would think that they'd like to but haven't got the...whatever...guts, go, gumption, recklessness, sense of adventure. Whatever you want to call it. The critical drop of gypsy blood, I guess. Jack Vance once wrote, in one of his short stories, of the superiority the settled man feels over the wanderer. Well, I think there's envy, too.

Most of the people I know, however, fall into the category of 'hard to tell'. This is a nebulous set of judgment criteria anyway, as is usually the case in human affairs, and maybe to speak of 'categories' makes little sense. As someone who is 'professionally' interested, as one might say, in matters of human behavior and relationships, I'm observing these folks with interest, and occasionally spend time picturing and extrapolating to their future and what difference my/our absence is going to make to them. More often than not the difference is so close to zero, after an initial period possibly of "hmm, I wonder why they left" or "hmm, that's a bit inconvenient, because... A, B, C, D..."

Then there is the lot of "oh, we really must see you/get together before you go", but who will make scant effort to adjust the course of their own lives for the space of a few hours to take account of the fact that our own is rather madcap right now, with little time to play around with. Not that I expect them to adjust their lives; it's just that it places their relationship to us into perspective. It is, if I may say so, a sobering experience. Not a surprising one though.

The ones who stand out are those to evince signs that they do care; that they do want to help and actually offer it; and who, when asked, don't find reasons why they can't do it then or there; or give off signs, subtle or more overt, that it is inconvenient; or who do it not least because they're getting something out of it. These nice people occasionally come from quarters I hadn't anticipated, and I would probably have added them to the vast middle ground of the basically-indifferent. And so this is a pleasant surprise, and a heartening one, and it tells me something about people and life and stuff I have to learn about them and it.

As for other matters, we just had a weekend where people invaded our house to give it anything from a cursory inspection to the kind that borders on the invasive; though in some instances I believe it was done for the perfectly valid reason of wanting to know just exactly what kind of house it was they were looking at, and if they really might want to consider forking out a heap of money to buy it. Which is perfectly OK, as I probably would do the same. Yet I am under no illusion that there probably were also those for whom the label 'nosy' would be the mildest way to describe their disposition and motive to come to these 'open homes'.

It reminds me how precious our privacy is, and how it goes far further than that whose loss we bemoan when we fret over the invasive nature of modern technology and governmental and other agencies.

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