Actually, I do appreciate the messages some of you have sent me over the last couple of weeks clamoring for your dose of The Misadventures... you junkies.
You make a girl feel loved!
Here you go:
It's a natural thing, as a human being, to want to be remembered, to be something more than dust and bones after we complete this part of the cycle.
It drives civilization.
Wars have been fought, great monuments erected, entire peoples enslaved, religions created, all in the name of "legacy". Even reproduction to some extent--- the desire to have children, sons, to carry on the family name--- is on some level driven by it.
I don't mean to imply it is the sole drive behind any of these things, but it certainly comes into play.
About a month ago I was speaking to a new acquaintance who is somewhat obsessed with the idea of leaving something behind by which to be remembered. "Legacy" has become his life's purpose---some great work, a film, a book, with which to make and leave his mark upon the world. The conversation kept coming back to the idea that it had to be something grand.
I can understand it. I can understand wanting to have an impact, to "matter".
I, myself, have adopted one of the most self-indulgent mediums. The blogging phenomenon is fueled by the very notion that somebody, anybody will care enough about my experiences, my opinions, to take time out of their day to read about them; the idea that I somehow "matter" to perfect strangers.
Where he and I differed, however, was the notion that it had to be something on a grand scale, and something tangible. Even stronger than the desire to leave something behind, was his desire to know that he has affected the life of one, or preferably, many.
I argued that it is often the smallest gestures which have the greatest impact. A passing comment or off-handed gesture can change the course of somebody's life. The best part is, one may never even be aware of having done so.
I don't think he was convinced.
After that discussion, we had exactly one date.
He's the tall broody one, with the tragic past. Yeah, that guy...you know the one. He's intriguing and quiet and deep and truh-ble. Therefore...irresistible.
It was a new moon and a funny thing happens to me on the new moon.
The new moon is a time of magic and sorcery, if you believe in those things.
Believe what you will, the new moon makes me uncannily receptive, perceptive--- more so than usual.
Throw Tall, Dark and Broody in the mix, and I felt like I needed a mute button to shut out his thoughts. On more than one occasion I replied to a comment or question he had not actually spoken aloud.
I made passing reference to things of he would rather not have spoken, but which I heard as though he had screamed them. It unsettled him, but it also brought on that look. That look of relief, of having somebody understand his pain without him needing to speak it. That look of hope at finding a kindred spirit.
Uh-oh. Too much impact. Time to diffuse the situation..
And I tried.
I took us from intimate conversation to a bar-hop the likes of which I haven't indulged since I was a bouncy 22 year old bar-fly. I took us to places where we'd run into my friends, and rounded up company along the way. I downed gin like water to dull my abilities to pull thoughts out of his head.
A few days later, I received an email the length of a small novella, proclaiming his feelings.
I told my tale of woe to The Wifey.
"Why are you still surprised when guys fall for you after one date? You're Juli" she said by way of explanation, as she rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"I don't know any other way to be..." I pleaded. I meet people and I'm just me. I'm straightforward, I'm not trying to impress anyone. I am always surprised to learn that I have made such a strong impression, especially in such a brief amount of time.
I forget the responsibility that comes with being fabulous.
That acquaintance remains just that and nothing more, but the theme has continued to appear in my life over the last month. I have been reminded many times of the importance of those little gestures, little comments and the impact they can have.
It seems particularly relevant during a season when many of us buy into the thought that the impact of the gesture is directly proportional to the size of the price tag attached to it.
Me? I'm just trying to learn to bear the burden of my responsibilities.