I've been spanked by a couple of friends for my lack of communication. Peek-a-boo. If I don't look at you, you can't see me. (That's a developmental ideosyncracy, for those of you who aren't parents or have forgotten those baby-days.)

I met a man yesterday who remembers everything about me. I couldn't recall his name, barely his face. He's recently divorced. I didn't know. I said something about his better half. He didn't acknowledge it. I learned later he cheated on his wife and was a general asshole. He told me he's writing a novel. Of course he is.

Christmas comes in November this year, but everyone forgot to buy gifts. McCain signs litter my street. Do we live in the same nation? Watch the same CNN? And then I remember that eras of knowledge accrual tend to bring the mighty to their knees.

We're having one of the most beautiful Septembers on record. I stare at my sweaters with longing, as if a change in temperature might change everything.

I've had a few episodes with friends lately which make me wonder, all things being equal, are we actually friends? Or are we a convenience? Friends shouldn't sting, right? But that may be how it is for everyone. I don't know. I'm not them.

I have a lot of stories out on submission. I gave up my art once because of disapproval and inconvenience. I wonder in my weaker moments if it might happen again. Am I destined for middling success, a sort-of-almost-but-no-cigar life? Dreams are safer.

But I know, at its heart, this is not artistic angst. This is a milieu of defensive indifference. Humanity is a tide, and we swim at our own risk.

Get involved, people say. Rock the vote. Promote good books and good works. Volunteer with the hungry. Raise a sign.

But involvment diminishes me. I am finite. Someday I might wear away into nothing.

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