As an Exile

Driving for hours through San Jose. Street lights, stop lights, and shop lights. Shopping centers, houses, stores. What am I looking for? So much of the same. Maybe I’m trying to find something; maybe I’m avoiding something. I feel that I don’t belong; I notice that I wouldn’t work there; I wouldn’t eat there or go to that theater. Those people live the kinds of lives in which it doesn’t matter how they entertain themselves. I wouldn’t care for it, but then one seldom cares for what one isn’t good at. Maybe I’m avoiding this; maybe I’m trying to admit this. Maybe I have to drive a few more hours, walk another city block, stop at another coffee shop, shopping mall, gas station, act as an exile in another parking lot, pretend I’m normal before another shopper, secretary, pedestrian, salesclerk. The man acts polite. The woman doesn’t say anything. What does this mean? It’s a hard life when one has to figure everything out for oneself. I’m sure I make mistakes. I get lonely; that’s a mistake. But I can handle it. I don’t know the way I want to be, but I can find a mirror big enough to reflect the way I am. 18 August 1984 San Jose