That Awkward Moment When You Realize That The Common Connection Among All Your Uncomfortable Silences Is Yourself

So, first, a bit of context would be helpful to understand what I am about to say.  About a couple months ago, my (former) roommate in Vancouver let me know that because of rising rents in Vancouver [1] he would be buying a new home construction unit and moving there around the end of October and that I would need to find a new place to live.  Despite some awkwardness, I was able to find a room to rent from one of the brethren in the local congregation and I knew that given the timing that there would be one day where I would be able to move my stuff, and that day happened to be today.  I had informed the roommate that I would be moving out today, but he seemed not to understand it and he gave me the rent documents for next month, and I fussed and fretted about how I was going to let him know that I would not be here, afraid I would be disappointing him terribly.  As it happened, I need not have worried at all.  When a couple of friends showed up to help me move, turning what would have been a horrible ordeal into something that went remarkably quickly, he was quite happy and even celebratory that I was able to move so quickly and so completely, signed a form printed out by the shocked lady at the apartment complex headquarters releasing me of any future liability, and even telling me that he wanted to get in touch with me when the next volume of his children’s book series was published so that I would write a review on it [2].  I had thought that I would need to write some sort of awkward letter explaining my departure and its timing and in reality, there was no awkwardness at all except in my own mind.  To be fair, that is a place where a fair amount of awkwardness resides.

I feel it necessary to say that I really hate moving [3].  This is the second time I have moved this year, and each time there is something that is the same about the process.  I have far too many books, and acquire new ones at an alarming pace.  I have far too few other possessions so that my living is rather monk-like and ascetic at times.  Moving is tiring and frustrating and then one has to find one’s stuff, and it is often disorienting to change one’s habits and one’s haunts, to get used to new places and new routes and new timetables and so on and so forth.  Moving is a very disruptive sort of thing, and it is rather striking that I know people who have not moved for decades, or even generations, and it is hard not to feel a bit envious about that, seeing as since my departure from Thailand in September 2012 I have had six addresses in the Portland area in four separate counties.  That is too many for my tastes, but how is someone like me to settle down in the first place?  There would have to be some sort of stability to look forward to, and my life these past few years has been far too unstable, with far too little continuity.  Thankfully, I have friends to help provide some sense of stability among the chaos.

As I was in a fairly reflective and melancholy place when my boxes were moved, I had a quiet dinner to myself, at least until my mum called me to let me know that she was back from the feast and so we could talk about the awkwardness of dealing with families that don’t communicate well or her thoughts on the kind of wife I’d need, and I pondered on the fact that in my life there are the alternatives only of awkward speech and awkward silence.  I am a person who has an extreme aversion to personal conflict and the tendency to engage in any sort of uncomfortable communication through indirect means, letters, online blogs, and the like.  It is quite embarrassing and even shameful just how long problems and misunderstandings have lingered because I have been unable to resolve such matters through communication.  Even my attempts to resolve such matters have not always gone well, as I am one of the few people who has had an apology letter misconstrued as a love letter.

I was a bit frustrated with myself when I realized that at least part of the stress I had been feeling for the past few weeks was entirely pointless because I was the only one who thought that there was a problem that needed to be resolved that I did not know how to communicate without causing mortal offense.  While I was fretting over how to communicate my own plans and justify my own behavior, no one else minded what I was about at all.  All of my mental whirring and spinning of wheels was entirely unnecessary.  All I had to do was go about my business and get done what I had to in the time available to me.  How often is this the case in the other situations I deal with that have been lingering and festering for so long?  Perhaps I don’t want to know.  Life is awkward enough as it is, and it is unlikely that knowing reality would make matters less awkward to deal with.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

[3] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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