So, I’m sitting in a coffee bar, typing away on Enrique* and thinking about a conversation I had with Jennifer Beautiful** two nights ago.
I told her about my Island.
When I was in high school, my friend Eric and I decided that we were going to buy up an island someplace, move there, name it “that Goddamned Island” and secede from the Union. Thus we would get to hear Tom Brokaw say:
“And tonight, we have a report on the situation on That Goddamned Island.”
Eric has probably long forgotten this, but I still think about that Island. You see, when I was telling my friends about this initially, they all wanted to move to my island. So I started inviting people, telling them they could pick their jobs. The joke expanded. My large number of professor friends meant that TGI got an institution of higher learning: “Goddamn U.”
Religion flourishes on TGI. Among my friends, we have religious leaders to run “That Goddamned Presbyeterian Church,” “That Goddamned Baptist Church” “That Goddamned Unitarian Church” and “that Goddamned Synagogue.” Somehow, I don’t see us getting a Mormon temple, but that’s a good start.
I could go on about this for quite a long time, but the point is, for over a decade I have been carrying around in my head the idea of an island where all my friends live and work.
In real life, my friends live literally from one end of the country to the other (Mary-who-Dances in New York to Melani-of-Honor in LA.) But on that Goddamned Island, Mary’s Presbyterian Church could be just down the street from Melani’s candle shop and used bookstore.
As I think about it, that TGI is still in my head, and people have been invited as recently as two days ago may be my attempt to reconcile the non-Geographic community that I have (with regular beliefnet readers knowing me better than members of my own church) with the ideal of a Geographic community.
A woman gave a talk in church today about Geographic and interest-based communities and it really set me thinking. I’ve moved back to my hometown and don’t feel any more a member of the community than I ever did. This may be my fault. I am sitting in a coffee bar, my nose in the computer, working on a blog for a readership from all over, by nature of the activity ignoring the people around me.
I look around and I’m not the only hermit. Some people are here with friends. But a good half dozen people are just typing away, islands in geographic community, but perhaps right then taking advantage of membership in a vast society.
There are big advantages for having friends all over. I have a place to sleep in all of America’s top five cities except Houston. But at the same time, it would be cool to walk down the street and see people I knew.
I would love to live on an Island with all my scattered friends, though I can't swear that they would all love to pull up roots and go live there with me.
But that's probably never going to happen.
Oh well. Maybe I will join my high school class’ reunion committee after all.
*Enrique is the laptop I write most of my posts on. I used to tease the CSO that I’d run off with someone named Enrique, so the laptop gets that name in recognition of the fact that it is the real drain on my attention.
**I responded to the person who asked, but I’ll go ahead and write that Jennifer Beautiful gets her name because the first time I saw her I noticed she was beautiful, then as I got to know her, I got used to her looks and forgot. I was out with Accomplished Abby (who graduated from school and went directly to the top of her field, thus her clever nickname) and we ran into Jennifer Beautiful and chatted for a minute. Later on, Accomplished Abby said “Boy, Jennifer is beautiful.” So I named her Jennifer Beautiful so I wouldn’t forget again.