My friends often accuse me of being a bit on the detached side. While I’m open to criticism, I have to say that after spending so much quality time hanging out and cooing supportively into their ears, I find it a little hurtful that they continue to see through me so easily. I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that they don’t use the phrase my family does, which begins with ‘cold-blooded’ and ends with ‘reptile’.
Detachment is one of those double-edged traits that people have trouble with because it involves a baseline failure to care overly much beyond a certain point. I should say upfront that I’m no Buddhist monk, and my detachment is not as much about spiritual evolution as it is about not giving a rat’s ass, so it’s quite likely that it is the sharper of my two edges that is better worn.
However, contrary to what you might expect, I don’t just go ahead and blame my parents—that’s not a very adult thing to do. I prefer to find a slice of peaceful time conducive to introspection, when I can examine the historical evidence of my life with a tranquil mind, and then I go ahead and blame my parents. It’s totally their fault for hauling me from country to country and school to school when I was young, setting in place both a lifelong tendency to form attachments quickly as well as a lifelong aversion to making them either too deep or too long. Or at least that’s my psychobabble, and I’m sticking to it.
The consequence is that I keep my life above-averagely light, mobile and free of investment. This is, however, a fraught enterprise, because it pokes at all the clefts in my dull little soul: I’m as inclined to nest in domestic comfort as I am to wander the Himalayas besmeared with ash; as tempted to never leave the city limits as to never get off the open road; and as desirous of love as I am averse to commitment.
I know, I know: take a token and get in line, lady. But while most people find their way around these gaps, usually by choosing one side over the other and then sucking it up like well-adjusted human beings, I seem to lack the ability. It’s my parents’ fault.
So I structure my life as sustainably as possible in the circumstances, which is to say precariously, with one foot on either side of the chasm. I shun responsibility such as owning property and taking loans (which turns out to be outrageously easy to do when you have my kind of credit rating), steer clear of fulltime work, don’t make too many plans too much in advance, and spend as much time as possible travelling, to see what it’s like to live in one place. (I never said it was clever.)
There are upsides to being messed up, though, and one of them is that you make a good traveller and passer-through-life because you’re less likely to care enough about where you come from to try to hang on to it or impose it on other people; and at the same time, you’re not likely to care enough about where they come from to want to appropriate it or hang around for too long. And while you like your pals, you won’t necessarily help them move bodies.
So there you are, coated in a slightly toxic but undeniably convenient kind of Teflon, skating along with only inertia and bankruptcy to slow you down as you wheel through the great carnival of life. Not that I care, but what’s not to love?