The only Goodbye I’m down with. Still… it’s the first track.

I feel like I should admit this: I don’t really do goodbyes.

Well, honestly, I don’t FEEL like I should admit it, because I’m obviously objectively bad at them, but I feel like YOU might want me to feel that way, so there’s that.
I do. I hate goodbyes. They are pointless. If we were randomly charged particles, we wouldn’t say goodbye, would we? Of course not. We might see each other again. We might never. We’d never know. If we were randomly charged particles, we could never notice, or care.
But we’re not. We’ve got purpose, direction (even if they change… even if they’re random), and, most importantly, the internet.

Thank the gods for the internet!

One of the most influential people in my life thus far, EHS drama director Mr. D (may he live long and prosper), made all of his students memorize the definition of perception:
Perception is the way we filter and interpret what our senses tell us to create a meaningful picture of the world.

To me, this is the essence of reality: it’s a reality that no one else can impinge upon because there is literally no one that can truly understand us. It can seem hopelessly cold and alone – akin to being alone on an asteroid and watching the whirl of the cosmos (other people) above your head as your entire world tumbles and falls endlessly through the void. Our crude attempts to bridge the gap with language and actions are just that: the duct taped, jury-rigged solution for how undeniably alone we are, and always will be, inside our own heads.

It can also be thrillingly special and complex. No matter the level of isolation, we each also have sub-light telephone lines running to other humans… and potentially every human. That’s a lot of psychic energy at our disposal. The trick is to tap into it… embrace the duct tape, and build a grand concourse upon it.

But, at the same time, you should know that this is why I don’t like goodbyes, or even think they’re all that necessary. At the heart of the matter lies the undeniable fact that, no matter the level of comfort we found in the presence of one another, we’re still alone on our tumbling mind-asteroids… but we still have access to each other’s heartstrings, which we can pluck at any time. We’ve become “entwined,” linked forever across the unimaginable molecular nothingness that separates our physical bodies and minds.

Goodbyes are not necessary because they assume that there IS a definite point at which we pull away from each other, a single point that says “now we are not companions anymore,” when, in reality, you’ve been moving away from each other the moment you met.

Nothing could be further than the truth: Once a companion, always a companion… if you choose to pursue it… or listen for it.

For instance: I enjoy sending postcards. I think they’re a great shorthand for emotions.

In some ways it’s like interstellar travel. Just as the light of the Sun is 8 minutes old by the time we behold it, so to is the physical piece of love that a capsule from the past to the present, and on into the future, represents – by the time you get it, I’ll be gone from that particular spot in space, that psychic point at which I set pen to paper and sent a beacon piercing the void between us: “Hello! How are you? I’m Ben and I miss you.” Your receipt is vital, your acknowledgement is optional. Like a radio, I’ll be issuing these beacons into the world indefinitely – you just have to set your receiver to the same wavelength… and respond if you can.

And even as you get this tiny capsule, or I get yours, the Earth still spins and orbits our star, and our system continues to move away from the galactic core – we’re time travelers, tunneling through the third and fourth dimensions and holding our vast psychic rolodex, in all its infinite complexity, in our wonderful, magnificent brains.

Through the systematic cycle of back and forth, we make a paper chain of connections. A daisy chain of love-loci, threaded through space and time and tied to our individual human perception; a pip on your heart that stays with you, no matter where you go and what you do… and on mine.

This is why I don’t like goodbyes. They make me uncomfortable because I NEVER say goodbye – I don’t think that anyone who cares about someone ever really does. I’m just trans-substantiating you into a mental totem I can carry around with me and love.

I know that, socially, goodbyes are an essential part of normal behavior. I can understand the impetus. Honestly, I can. But having said more goodbyes than usual in the past year (as well as countless “Hello”s!), I think this post is as close as I’ll come to explaining (for now) just why I find them an impractical milestone. If we’re going to be friends, I’ve discovered physical distance doesn’t have an awful lot to do with it. Regardless of if we’ve said goodbye or not, we’re in this together for the long haul.

I think my preferred response is: Until we meet again…